By Robert Folsom | Excerpted from the May 2014 Socionomist
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Many people know that since 2001 the US government has expanded the reach of its domestic spying. What few people realize is that the government’s recent increase in the surveillance of its citizens is built upon at least a century of precedents.
In fact, four major trends toward negative social mood fueled the development of the American national security state. Each of these episodes followed a similar script, and each built upon institutions created during previous trends.
And each time, leaders moved toward authoritarianism as collective fear and pessimism became the levers to increase the power of the security state.
While the greatest threat to constitutional liberty may appear to come from a politician, a policymaker or technology, in fact the real source of the danger is…
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