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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.)
More from Scott Horton:
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Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Chances that an American knows the position of his or her senators on health-care reform:
Climate experts proposed creating a fleet of cloud-seeding yachts that will pump water vapor into the atmosphere to thicken global cloud cover, thereby reflecting more sunlight, in order to counteract the effects of global warming.
In San Antonio, a 150-pound pet tortoise knocked over a lamp, igniting a mattress fire that spread to a neighbor’s home.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."