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(Chronicles) – In the last few years, the indispensable achievement of American self-government has been all but destroyed. How this came to pass, and what it portends, is the subject of Dinesh D’Souza’s latest documentary, Police State. Miranda Devine called D’Souza’s work “chilling,” and one could hardly improve on that assessment. D’Souza meticulously chronicles the history of our descent into Orwellian madness—from Ruby Ridge and Waco to the PATRIOT Act and the weaponization of federal law enforcement—being scrupulously careful to fairly indict both political parties for their involvement.
But to understand better what D’Souza’s work laments, it is necessary to appreciate what this police state is replacing.
The older, traditional understanding of republican government held that in order to prevent the rise of conflict between opposing groups, a republic should be small. From Plato to Montesquieu to the opponents of the Constitution in 1787-88, the consensus had been that republics required a homogeneous population and that dissent was inherently dangerous.
Yet in, in Federalist 10, James Madison demonstrates…