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Old November 16th, 2012 #3
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Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 470
Exclamation Pre-Crime and Propaganda...more thoughts from Ellul

pp. 100-102

The police have perfected to an unheard of degree technical methods both of research and of action. Everyone is delighted with this development because it would seem to guarantee an increasingly efficient protection against criminals. Let us put aside for the moment the problem of police corruption and concentrate on the technical apparatus, which, as I have noted, is becoming extremely precise. Will this apparatus be applied only to criminals? We know that this is not the case; and we are tempted to react by saying that it is the state which applies this technical apparatus without discrimination. But there is an error of perspective here. The instrument tends to be applied everywhere it can be applied. It functions without discrimination--because it exists without discrimination. The techniques of the police, which are developing at an extremely rapid tempo, have as their necessary end the transformation of the entire nation into a concentration camp. This is no perverse decision on the part of some party or government. To be sure of apprehending criminals, it is necessary that everyone be supervised. It is necessary to know exactly what every every citizen is up to, to know his relations, his amusements, etc. And the state is increasingly in a position to know these things. . . .

The police must move in the direction of anticipating and forestalling crime. Eventually intervention will be useless. This state of affairs can come about in two ways: first, by constant surveillance, to the end that noxious intentions be known in advance and the police be able to act before the premeditated crime takes place; second, by the climate of social conformity which we have mentioned. This goal presupposes the paternal surveillance of every citizen, and, in addition, the closest possible tie-in with all other techniques--administrative, organizational, and psychological. The technique of police control has value only if the police are in close contact with the trade unions and the schools. In particular, it is allied with propaganda. Wherever the phenomenon is observed, this connection exists. Propaganda itself cannot be efficient unless it brings into play the whole state organization, and particularly the police power. Conversely, police power is a genuine technique only when it is supplemented by propaganda, which plays a leading role in the psychological environment necessary to the completeness of the police power. But propaganda must also teach acceptance of what the police power is and what it can do. It must make the police power palatable, justify its actions, and give it its psychosociological structure among the masses of people. . . .

This type of police organization is not an arbitrary prospect. It is maintained by every authoritarian government, where every citizen is regarded as a suspect ignorant of his own capabilities. It is the tendency in the United States, and we are beginning to see the first elements of it in France. The administration of the French police was oriented, in 1951, toward and organization of the system "in depth." This took place, for example, at the level of the Record Office. Certain elements of this are simple and well known: fingerprint files, records of firearms, application of statistical methods which allow the police to obtain in a minimum of time the most varied kinds of information and to know from day to day the current state of criminality in all its forms.
The mob was heading in, to ransack and loot the apartments of the terrified old men and women. When the troopers arrived, M-16s at the ready, the mob threatened and cursed, but the mob retreated. It had met the one thing that could stop it: force, rooted in justice, backed by courage.-1992 Republican National Convention Speech, Houston, Texas, by Patrick J. Buchanan August 17, 1992