No Comment, Quotation — March 24, 2008, 12:00 am

Kisch and the National Surveillance State

Ursprüngliche Aufgabe der Polizei war der Schutz der Gesellschaft vor Verkehrsunfällen und vor Verbrechen. Längst aber ist sie darüber hinaus zu einer Waffe geworden, angewendet wider alle, die aufzumucken wagen gegen Willkür des Unternehmers, gegen Dünkel des Bürokraten und gegen Mißbrauch der Gesetze. . .

Es gibt keine ethische Rechtfertigung für die Mittel, deren sie sich bedient.
Auch die willfährigsten Staatsphilosophen könnten keine Entschuldigung dafür finden, daß ein Land seine Ordnung aufrechterhält durch eine Armee von Lockspitzeln.

In the beginning the mission of the police was to protect society from traffic accidents and crimes. But over time it came to be a weapon deployed against all who dare to raise questions about the arbitrary conduct of entrepreneurs, who probe into the conceits of bureaucrats and who question the misuse of the law. . .

There is no ethical justification for the tools which it uses. Even the most compliant political philosopher could offer up no excuse for a state that seeks to maintain order with an army of snoops.

Egon Erwin Kisch, Wagnisse in aller Welt, ch. 27, “Die Polizei und ihre Beute” (1927) in Gesammelte Werke, vol. 5, p. 592 (B. Uhse & G. Kisch eds. 1983)(S.H. transl.)

egon-ervin-kisch-plaque
Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

No Comment, Six Questions June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

From the June 2014 issue

The Guantánamo “Suicides,” Revisited

A missing document suggests a possible CIA cover-up

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

February 2015

The War of the World

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Sharp Edge of Life

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Great Republican Land Heist

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Captive Market

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Day of the Sea

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Great Republican Land Heist·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The wholesale transfer of public lands to state control may never be achieved. But the goal might be more subtle: to attack the value of public lands.”
Photograph by Chad Ress
Article
The Sharp Edge of Life·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The struggle of the novelist has been to establish a measure, a view of human nature, and usually, though not always, as large a view as belief and imagination can wring from observable facts.”
Photo by Eddie Adams/Associated Press
Article
Captive Market·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Fear of random violence lives on, but the reality is that violent-crime rates have dropped to levels not seen since the early Seventies."
Photograph by Richard Ross
Article
The Day of the Sea·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Fifteen judges will then sit together in a wood-paneled room, in a city thousands of miles from the Andes, and decide whether the ocean Bolivia claims as its right will at last be returned to it.”
Photo by Fabio Cuttica/Contrasto/Redux
Post
Introducing the February Issue·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Ruin of the West
Christopher Ketcham investigates Cliven Bundy’s years-long battle with the BLM, Annie Murphy reflects on Bolivia’s lost coast, and more
Painting by Richard Prince, whose work was on view in October at Gagosian Gallery in New York City © The artist. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

Percentage increase in the annual number of polio cases in Pakistan since 2005:

A bowl of 4,000-year-old noodles was found in northwestern China; and a spokesman for the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that “this is the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found.”

A federal judge sentenced the journalist Barrett Brown to 63 months in prison for sharing a link to information stolen from the private-intelligence firm Stratfor by a hacker in 2011. “Good news!” Brown said in a statement. “They’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today