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Citizen Action, Civil Rights, and Social Mood
Authoritarianism, and citizens who push back

By Robert Folsom
Fri, 19 Jul 2013 17:15:00 ET
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One way to think about the word trend is: Something you're likely to see more of soon.

The "something" could be certain kinds of TV series or fashions or baby names or...
...Citizens taking action on behalf of their constitutional rights.
Arguably the biggest news story of this year (so far) revolves around Edward Snowden, the young man whose epic revelations blew the whistle on the U.S. government's massive and ongoing surveillance of its own citizens.
Another example comes via recent news about the NYPD's controversial stop and frisk policy, which in fact has been increasingly curtailed by public protests and court rulings. In the first three months of 2012 police made more than 200,000 stops, vs. fewer than 100,000 in the same period this year. (No, crime has not gone up: the city's homicide rate is substantially lower in 2013).
Then there are episodes that are less-heavily covered yet still appear on the public's radar, such as the six-minute video the Libertarian Party posted on YouTube this past July 4th. It shows police at a DUI checkpoint stopping a Tennessee college student, who in turn had his video camera positioned to capture the incident. When the student politely declined to roll his window down any further, police demanded that he pull the car over and get out. A drug dog soon appeared to search the vehicle, without the student's consent. Eventually he was released without being cited. The video went viral and now has more than four million views.
What do these stories (and others like them) have in common?
They serve as examples of anti-authoritarianism, among citizens who are pushing back against overt government authoritarianism.
Is this something you're likely to see more of soon?

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