No, not that kind of creep. The other kind . I don’t mean the leering jerk sort of creep. I’m talking about the one where incremental changes (often too small to notice when taken one at a time ) eventually add up to a complete reversal of direction . Like how laws to assure speedy trials ( habeas corpus laws ) eventually morphed into ‘policies-stronger-than-law’ which made indefinite secret detention without charges standard operating procedure … first on the muddy shoreline of our legal system and now in the main stream .
The phenomenon is so common that it even has a name . It’s called “Mission Creep”, and is probably best expressed in the joke , ” When you’re up to your ass in alligators it’s hard to remember that the original mission was to drain the swamp .”
That kind of creep is usually caused by stress and the immediate need to act swiftly , without adequate forethought , to keep something even worse from happening.
But there is another kind of mission creep , and it’s far far worse . It’s the kind caused by deliberate PURPOSE . It’s way more common than the first kind because it’s not accidental and therefore doesn’t naturally reverse when the stress comes off . Instead it “ratchets up ” , because it is being driven by specific people with specific interests . Those individuals and the groups they represent will attack any effort to stand back and take stock of consequences or attempt to return conditions to their originally calm state . I’m tempted to call these purpose driven psychopaths “ratcheteers ,” if that’s not too cute . But by any name they are the worst parasites of democracy . They use democracy to end it , by turning law into license and liberty into a private playground for insiders only .
Take the Patriot Act as the perfect example of professional Ratcheteers in action. They are fast , brother , Blitzkrieg fast , a lesson well learned from their Patron Saint , that German guy , whatshisname.
Within days their Patriot Act shifted a traumatized nation from its “Drain The Swamp ” co-operative effort into the exclusive “Alligator Extinction, Incorporated ” club , under whose heel we live today .
The bundle of draconian new powers for cops and spies was , and is , so horribly contrary to traditional American values that it could only have been railroaded into law under the most severely stressful calamity . The Twin Towers fortuitously provided the stress , but don’t blame it all on 9/11 . The Patriot Act ( even the label is a travesty ) had been packaged and ready to go for decades before that tragedy .
So, how did we change from what we were into what we have become ? We were , not so awfully long ago , a peace loving nation dedicated by belief and law to principles expressed in a Declaration of Independence , Constitution & Bill of Rights . We have become a nation locked in perpetual wars across the globe , pouring two thirds of our treasure into the annihilation of vaguely defined so-called “Terrorists ,” no matter at the cost of every single principle enshrined in those three documents.
“Mission Creep” hardly seems adequate to describe such a profound degradation.
So how does it happen?
Some sociopaths with truly criminal intent ( i.e. , psychopaths ) want free rein to do harm for personal gain but can’t presently get away with just walking up in broad daylight and doing it . They are stymied by rules ( called Law ) which expressly prohibit such overtly malicious behavior . So our psychopaths need a re-write , a change in the rules , and set about doing precisely that , but in stages . The carefully planned goal is to have defensibly legal cover to perpetrate whatever profitable mayhem they have in mind . Some forms of mayhem other than certain aspects of hot war , however , are virtually impossible to sanitize . So you can bet that legally sanctioned secrecy will be a big part of the new rules. That and lying . Lying is always highly effective , and BIG lies even more so . Legally sanctioned lying , about secrecy , is just about perfect . Expect to find gobs of that in the new users manual , too.
Of course there will always be leaks . Leaks are the new Press Release . And a few whistle blowers . Whistle blowers are the new Terrorist . But the Patriot Act authorizes all sorts of ways to deal with them . Careful application of its large bag of tools , along with a little extrajudicial kidnapping , drone strike , secret detention or “harsh interrogation techniques ,” makes short work of that kind of nuisance.
And the best part ? ( From a psychopaths point of view ) it’s all perfectly legal.
See anything like that around here recently ?
Yeah , me too , and it gives me the creeps.