The government of Securitania deports some supposed enemies of the people and puts others under house arrest; public scrutiny of these measures in the ordinary courts is denied. Disruptive people against whom no crime can be proved are subjected to orders obtained from magistrates on hearsay evidence that make it a crime in future for them to do ordinary things (such as going shopping) that would not be a crime if done by anyone else. A man thought to be acting suspiciously is shot dead by plainclothes police officers; the immediate reaction of the police chief is to obstruct the routine criminal investigation of the killing. Legislation is underway to criminalise the 'glorification' of those using force to resist oppressive policies at home and repressive regimes abroad; objections to the breadth and vagueness of the measure are met with the response that the authorities can be trusted to ensure that those engaging in legitimate debate will not be prosecuted. Do any of these developments make the people of Securitania more secure? Probably not. But in one way they clearly make them a lot less secure: the people of Securitania are progressively being deprived of the rudimentary security of living under the rule of law.
LRB 9 March 2006 | PDF Download