Let’s say you’re fearful of crime. Let’s say there’s a politician who says not enough is being done to thwart it. He speculates that were the requirement for a warrant to search a home removed, many more arrests would follow, and consequently, crime would decrease noticeably. He’d be right, on the margins at least. And a surprising number of American would applaud him.
Let’s say criminal activity becomes increasingly rampant (Some are saying it now). A political leader claims not enough is being done to stop it. He declares that the most effective way of addressing it, is the preventive detention of those with a certain profile thought to predispose them to criminality. He suggests any failure to do so, is weak-kneed political correctness. And in fact, though most of those detained would be entirely harmless, the law of averages dictates some small number would be in fact criminals. Crime would go down, at the margins at least.
Donald Trump proposes closing mosques, and tracking Muslims. Is there historical antecedent for this? Indeed. Closing synagogues, and tracking Jews with the yellow star they were forced to wear in order to identify them. Both ‘legal’ and executed for ‘security’ reasons.
Do these measures strike some Americans as bold, tough, common sense prescriptions? A surprisingly large number no doubt. Are all of our citizens thoughtful, intelligent, even passingly ethical? Obviously not. Is Donald Trump, candidate for president of one of two major political parties in the United States, popular enough to be the leading candidate of his political party? You betcha.
Donald Trump has proposed a ‘Deportation Force’ to locate, round up and deport millions of people living here. Reminiscent of Germans rousted from their homes, packed into crowded boxcars, and taken away? Absolutely. Deplored by all Americans? Plenty would cheer the rousters and the deporters on.
It’s can be alarming, even terrifying what can be done to a national population against its collective will. But what about the harm done with loud, if morally and intellectually compromised support?
Some day, the walls may be built, the borders sealed, religions and their adherents under suspicion, dutifully tracked and thoroughly monitored.
Where will the safety and freedom be? In or out?