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View Diary: History for Kossacks: Europe's First Police State (187 comments)

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  •  While I Agree (2+ / 0-)
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    Unitary Moonbat, dizzydean

    with your general point that there should be caution in trying to draw "moral" lessons from historical events, I also think you are trying to be too technical (like saying there were no such thing as police") for the sake of criticizing this diary.

    Sure, if you strictly define "police" as uniformed forces with powers to enforce security authorized by laws of the state, then yes, you might say that there were no such things as police forces (in Europe) until the 18th century.

    But is it not fair to say that those who enforced the proscription lists of Sulla or who went after the enemies of Sejanus, like the one described here:

    "A certain Latiaris, a companion of Sabinus (one of the most prominent men in Rome), wishing to do Sejanus a favour, ... led Sabinus into conversation; and by throwing out some of his usual remarks he induced the other also to speak out freely all that he had on his mind. For it is the practice of such as desire to play the informer to lead off with some abusive remarks about someone and to disclose some secret, so that their victim, either for listening to them or for saying something similar, may lay himself liable to indictment." (Dio Cassius, Book 58)

    were performing the functions of what we associate with modern day state security apparatus like the KGB? I personally do not feel it would be wrong to include such people as "police", in a more expansive definition of the word.

    •  I still disagree (0+ / 0-)

      because it assumes an ability of the state to extend its reach in ways far greater than it actually was able to do.

      In the example you give, you have a case where an individual was targeted for a reason...hardly an example of a full-fledged police state where monitoring is being done on a wholesale manner.

      Ditto with the Albigensian scenario--medieval Europe simply did not see an organizational structure which could do this sort of oppression/repression.  Among the major issues was the cost of doing so--without a real taxation system and with the majority of people living near what we would call the poverty level, there simply wasn't enough cash for states to afford putting into place the sort of system that we would call a police-state.

      Real police-states only come along after capitalism and state-centralization...

      "You can't look into another man's soul. You know what they say: another man's soul is a riddle." Ivan Turgenev, "The Knocking"

      by dizzydean on Mon May 04, 2009 at 06:04:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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