In the political arena, there seem to be only two sides to events – the Republicans and Democrats. There is little talk about any other alternatives today. While both sides battle each other to reign American society, I must say that they both already do. Since the Democrats and Republicans are on the same team, the obvious winner in this situation is authoritarianism.

What is authoritarianism? It is the belief that one should compel and coerce others to conform to their desires. Authoritarians fervently agree with the passing of new laws and strongly encourage the placement of uniformed, armed agents on the streets to put you in a cage during the middle of the night if you disagree with what they have now decreed as moral. This might sound like an oversimplified view of politics and society, but their method of explicit threats and violence is their solution to every problem faced today. Authoritarians love to increase the size of the government, mainly by passing hundreds of new laws, upon the millions already on the books. The California Legislature passed 1,277 laws in year 1999, and Gray Davis signed 1,025 of those. Can you even think of 1,000 evil things present in society every year? Luckily, the Legislature has, but all they have to do is to sit around and think about it all day. The only imaginable end to more legislation for authoritarians is to have every possible human interaction regulated by the state – totalitarianism.

In the past it has been legal, and therefore moral by governmental doctrine, to own people (slavery), treat members of different ethnicities as inferior (segregation) and to put certain people in prison camps (Japanese internment camps and Native American “reservations”). One might contest that those days have passed and that today we live in a “progressive” day of government. However, it has been illegal for many years to possess a naturally occurring plant. Is it just me, or is passing laws against something that occurs naturally ludicrous? Why should anyone respect an institution with such an absurd view of life on this earth? The answer is simple: Don’t. But you have no choice but to respect it and to be afraid of it. When you don’t have the choice to say “no,” then you are not free; if you are afraid, you are not free.

The scariest aspect of the metastasizing state is the encroaching police state that must grow faster and stronger by the day to enforce all the new laws. The Daily Nexus runs a regular column titled “Question Authority” which, sadly, does absolutely none of what its title claims to do. It should be called “Legitimizing Authority” because it only adds to the police state propaganda. It is bizarre that none of the questions have names of actual students – no name, no major or year. Does the cop simply just pose questions and answer smugly, “Remember to obey no matter how silly the request!” or “Just a reminder, you do have a government willing to punish you!” or are these actual questions from people just wanting to be told this? While the cop tries to pass as your new best friend, helping you sort out the problems of life, I’m sure he would have no reservations to sending you to prison if you have a certain plant in your yard.

There is no simple solution; there is no promise of a utopia or hope for tomorrow with a less invasive government. I won’t provide any quick solutions and impossible promises because that is how so many people have been tricked by politicians. As they put it, they give you hope for tomorrow, a better, stronger country where everyone and everything is grand. I simply will suggest figuring things out for yourself, providing your own peaceful solution because with a little thinking, imagination and creativity, we can get out of this mess of a system. Taking to the streets has run its course; simply show them that you don’t need to be told what to do, and that you already have an idea that is better than theirs.

Michael Drew is a senior CCS chemistry major.