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:

From the April 2015 issue

Company Men

Torture, treachery, and the CIA

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

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

April 2015

Abolish High School

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Beat Reporter

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Going It Alone

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Rotten Ice

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Life After Guantánamo

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Joke

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

[Browsings]
Photograph by the author
Article
Rotten Ice·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“When I asked if we were going to die, he smiled and said, ‘Imaqa.’ Maybe.”
Photograph © Kari Medig
Article
Life After Guantánamo·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I’ve seen the hell and I’m still in the beginning of my life.”
Illustration by Caroline Gamon
Article
Going It Alone·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The call to solitude is universal. It requires no cloister walls and no administrative bureaucracy, only the commitment to sit down and still ourselves to our particular aloneness.”
Photograph by Richard Misrach
Article
No Slant to the Sun·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“She didn’t speak the language, beyond “¿cuánto?” and “demasiado,” but that didn’t stop her. She wanted things. She wanted life, new experiences, a change in the routine.”
Photograph © Stuart Franklin/Magnum Photos

Acreage of a Christian nudist colony under development in Florida:

240

Florida’s wildlife officials decided to remove the manatee, which has a mild taste that readily adapts to recipes for beef, from the state’s endangered-species list.

A 64-year-old mother and her 44-year-old son were arrested for running a gang that stole more than $100,000 worth of toothbrushes from Publix, Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS stores in Florida.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Driving Mr. Albert

By

He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.

Subscribe Today