The scene was pure John Carpenter, Escape From New York or something; a response, I guessed, to a rumored post G-8 demonstration, chatter that had rendered the civil buildings in downtown Raleigh shuttered and barricaded on this rainy Saturday morning.
Must be trouble if they rolled that bird out at $500 an hour, I reckoned. I got on with my day, not feeling spry enough to risk being chased by large, 'tuded-out chaps swaddled in ballistic nylon.
A yard sale, it turned out to have been. No, not even a sale; a barter, called the "Really, Really Free Market." A costly aerial drama and boots over some 200 people wanting to make a point about consumerism at the Children's Garden.
The flags of the new Federal Security State began to luff last weekend ahead of the approaching storm, when The G-8--"a self-constituted forum of the major free-market democracies... situated at the center of global governance," according to Foreign Policy in Focus--got a big ole Georgia pecan pie courtesy of Gov. Sonny Perdue: a state of emergency in six coastal counties, financed by $25 million-plus in federal money transferred to the state for "security expenses."
And then, in sleepy little Raleigh, someone heard "G8, Raleigh," a mailed fist punched a red button and a helicopter launched to harry and intimidate some goofy kids who want to give some raggedy stuff away. Free stuff? They must be crushed. This is feeling like Chile circa 1972.
Welcome to the New World Order where, according to Paul Starobin, in "Rise of the Daddy State" in the "liberal" Atlantic Monthly, "the necessary response to terrorism is not to limit the power of the state but, rather, to bolster it, so as to preserve the basic order without which the defenseless citizen has no prospect of enjoying the splendors of liberty."
That is what the "good" guys are saying. I say if a flea market conjures that kind of response, what do you reckon a real mess is going to look like? And considering the rhinoceros-like grace of authoritative bureaucracies, this New World Order, "a single Leviathan, or World Sovereign, to which all of us would be made to submit, for our own security," writes Starobin, may be less Escape from New York and more Blues Brothers. Everything has a beginning, from an authoritarian state to baking a cake. I say the box has been opened.