"The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do." ~ Eric Hoffer
The State is a master illusionist. It is not through military or monetary might that the masses are controlled; in America it is through the power of illusion. Understanding that our thoughts, opinions, and actions are based upon how we perceive the world around us, the State has sought to influence and alter these perceptions, and has created through trickery and deceit an 'alternate reality' of sorts for us to dwell in. Indeed, the proverbial 'American Dream' has been replaced with an American dream world.
Suppose I told you that a society should measure its freedom based upon the number of people it imprisoned ' the more people in jail, the more free the society. If you're a citizen of the real world, you probably find such a notion ludicrous. Most Americans, however, do not live in the real world; they live in an illusory, conceptual America that exists only in their own minds. Citizens of Illusory America frequently berate me for failing to appreciate the 'fact' that 'we live in the freest country in the world!' In the real world, however, the United States has a higher percentage of its population in jails and prisons than any other country on the planet, technically making it the most imprisoned country in the world.
One of the more popular fantasies indulged by Illusory America is the idea that the State's law enforcement apparatus exists primarily 'to serve and protect' the public. Indeed, the State often refers to the police as 'Public Safety Officers.' In the real world, however, the police exist primarily to generate (i.e. extort) revenue for the State, and to intimidate the public into subservience. Law enforcement is nothing more than a protection racket; any pretense of protecting the public is mere window dressing.
A good example of this occurred in Florida recently when police conducted 'Operation Vagrant,' an undercover sting operation of sorts whereby officers posed as local homeless residents, complete with shopping carts and fake teeth, for the purpose of spotting motorists running red lights at various busy intersections. Descriptions of offending vehicles were radioed to cruisers hiding further up the street, which would pull over the motorists and issue citations.
Although some may argue that stopping people from running red lights is a good thing, the police involved in this operation had no interest in stopping anyone from doing anything. Had the intent been, as is the claim, to deter people from running the lights at these dangerous intersections, it would have made much more sense (and required less publicly-funded manpower) to park a cruiser at the intersections, within site of approaching motorists. Just as people on the highway reduce their speed when they see a cop, people at intersections stop for the light when they see one.
Imagine if one of the ticketed light-runners had caused a fatal accident while the goon squad looked on in their hobo outfits, cruisers hidden around the corner. Being a good American that believes in the concept of 'police protection,' how outraged would you be if you learned that one of your loved ones was killed by a light-runner while the police looked on in disguise, hoping to write a ticket? Clearly, the police were not interested in 'protecting the public safety,' that isn't their job. Their job is to generate revenue.
Because generalities tend to hold more weight than specifics with citizens of Illusory America, focusing on such notions as warrants, privacy, probable cause, or the oxymoron of police ethics tends to be a waste of time with most of these folks. Their carefully crafted fantasyland is impervious to compromise by logic or reason, any facts or ideas contrary to their notion of reality being instantly deflected by the grandest of bulwarks against sanity: the abstract notion of an abstract war against an abstract enemy.
Unlike a real war, which has clearly defined objectives, enemies, and terms of victory (whereby the war ends), America's illusory 'war against terror' exists in the minds of the populace more than on any physical battlefields whereby some sense of progress (or lack thereof) could be measured. The war 'that will not end in our lifetimes' has had a solidifying effect on Illusory America. No loss of liberty, no curtailment of civil rights is cause for alarm, you see, because 'we are at war' to protect our freedoms! In Illusory America, restricting freedom for freedom's sake makes perfect sense, and the very restrictions imposed on us are somehow evidence of how 'free' we are.
Here in the real world, however, we seem to be losing the theoretical war for freedom. Here in the real world, we are not as free as we were a few short years ago, and those freedoms were taken from us not by some invisible, foreign enemy, they were taken from us by the State. Maybe folks in Illusory America are under attack from some vague, unseen enemy. Here in the real world, however, it's pretty obvious who the enemy really is.