This is actually the continuation of a discussion that began over in Character Development with an innocent question that included the unfortunate phrase, "politically correct". The question was a direct and narrow one, but, as often happens here, the ensuing discussion was not. However, it has now strayed so far from its original purpose that I thought a new thread would be best. I begin with a quote from my friend, Tourist, and some thoughts it has provoked. Actually, it was not their pay. In 1924, an act of congress had awarded them bonus certificates that could not be cashed until 1945. But in 1932, at the depth of the Great Depression and with unemployment at an all-time high, 17,000 veterans and their supporters went to Washington to demand that the bonuses be paid early. President Herbert Hoover refused and ordered the army to clear the protesters. The command to fire on the veterans was given by Douglas MacArthur. A year later, a similar protest was launched after Franklin Roosevelt took office, and Roosevelt defused the controversy with a promise of jobs through one of the New Deal works programs. As I have posted in other discussions with Tourist, allusions to nazism are pejorative and not usually convincing because Germany in the 1930s did not have a 200 year history of experience with the democratic process, nor was its democracy founded upon a solid base of well-reasoned philosophy and rationalization as ours has been. That's not to say that some form of future totalitarian rule is completely impossible in the US, but it goes so much against the grain that its establishment by the kind of means that Tourist hints at would be impossible. But, if there is any danger of it at all, it lies in the increasingly lack of reasoned discussion in our national political discourse and our increasing inability to see the necessity of compromise in the settlement of any political dispute. Now, that's interesting. Is the inference that they were intentionally killed as a pre-planned suppression of the Vietnam protest movement? I remember it well, and as a student I participated in the subsequent Moratorium that took place. I remember the look on the faces of the National Guardsmen on the cover of Time Magazine - confused and scared. They shot out of panic. Much the same as four British soldiers in Boston in 1770. Do you happen to remember who defended those four British soldiers when they were brought to trial for killing the colonists? It was John Adams. Why? Because he believed in the rule of law, and that freedom had its limits. BTW, there is, as far as I know, only one school in the entire world that is named for the students who were killed at Kent State. It's called Martyrs of Kent. It's in Cuba. Let's take a step back. What event led to the calling of the Constitutional convention? Shay's Rebellion, an armed outbreak in 1786 and 1787 brought on by multiple factors, mostly economic (including harsh fiscal policies to reign in mounting government debt). The conundrum then, as now, was how to balance the principles of freedom for which the Revolution had been fought with the need for a stable society and a functioning economy. Think of it as a sliding scale - at one end, there is no government at all, anarchy, a world in which might makes right, where those with the ability to seize power exploit all others; at the other, totalitarian government. As soon as you say "we", you have sacrificed some portion of your freedom - that is true in personal relationships and it's true in organized society. So, we defend freedom of speech, but not to the point of shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater. We defend freedom of the press, but not to the point of allowing child pornography. But, as in all human interactions, it isn't always obvious where the lines should be drawn, and hence there is, and needs to be, a never-ending dialogue. On street cameras? Not a problem for me. I have no expectation of privacy on a public street. Frisks at airports? Since I don't wish to be a passenger on a plane that ends up crashing into a building, I'm cool with that, too. Extend that to surveillance of those aspects of my life where I DO have an expectation of privacy, and you will quickly find why we need an ACLU, no matter how much you may dislike some of the causes they take up. Tourist is correct when he advocates vigilance of such things. It is only by vigilance that we protect our freedoms. But if that vigilance takes the form of a full-volume outburst every time there is a minor inconvenience on one's freedom, it is soon rendered meaningless. Like The Boy Who Cried "Wolf!" it won't be effective when you need it.