while at the same time giving their customers a bit less
FTFY. Remember the days when AT&T actually gave you unlimited service (back when "unlimited" actually meant "unlimited")? Remember how angry we were when they introduced the data cap?
A problem was seen, laws were passed.
The drug laws were passed to reduce illegal drug trade and use, not voting for the "wrong" political party.
So why were the drugs made illegal in the first place? Maybe you are not aware of the history of the drug war, but before the 20th century recreational drugs were legal -- one could buy cocaine and heroin over the counter.
In other words, the only reason we have to say that the USA is not a police state is that our police are more tame when compared to infamous governments like the Soviet Union. Sure, the police will face penalties if they cross certain lines when interrogating a suspect and sure, civil rights do occasionally matter to the courts, but at the end of the day we are a police state -- a mild one, perhaps, but a police state nonetheless.
What is the nature of this so called "police state"?
Does being the world leader in imprisoning people count? We have more people in prison than China, North Korea, Iran, etc. -- and that is more people in prison period, not merely per capita.
It seems to me that the problem is the brown-skinned people, Arabic-speaking people, or whatever group that hates us. We hate them because they acted on their hate. They hate that too.
Brown-skinned people do not universally hate America. Arab people do not universally hate America. If that is not clear to you, take a look at the enormous number of brown-skinned and Arab people who have immigrated to this country. Many of those people came here to escape the kind of people who attacked us. Many came here to escape persecution and corruption by their government. What do you think happens when they give up their old lives to come here, then face constant suspicion and harassment by the government?
It is no wonder the CIA has trouble finding Arabic and Farsi speakers. We are shooting ourselves in the foot, and we are doing so for no reason other than a popular belief that Muslims, Seikhs, Hindus, and anyone with brown skin must be connected to terrorists. In other words, outright stupidity.
Racial profiling works
That is why this is dumb. If a terrorist wants to blow up a plane, he can kill just as many people (if not more) by blowing up an airport -- maybe while standing on line for security, or at a ticket counter, or at a border checkpoint. If a terrorist wants to hijack a plane, he does not need to carry anything through security, and taking him aside to harass him for an hour will not stop his plot.
Of course, profiling is a great way to appease people who have a problem with brown-skinned people, Arabic-speaking people, or whatever group we decide we hate next. Meanwhile, the same people we are harassing could have been working with us to find the real terrorists -- if they moved here to America, it is probably because they wanted to escape the terrorists in their home country, and could have been allies in fighting those terrorists.
Oh well, there could not be a problem with having only a dozen Arabic speakers working at the CIA, right? It's not like we keep going to war in Arab countries...
The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin