Talk:Police state

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Refimprove and OR tags[edit]

I have renewed the refimprove and OR tags recently removed from the article, since the problems they refer to are still very much present in the article. The article is a mess of original research and unsourced claims. For example all the images using the Freedom House study is original research, since that study doesn't mention police states, only the level of freedom in nations. The "Enlightened Absolutism" section provides no sources that connects this term with "Police state" and as such is also original research. The "History of usage" section contains one citation (not counting the irrelevant "electronic police state" citations, from which I removed some blatant original research), and while that citation is a good one, the section need a lot more citations for the specific claims made about the usage and history of the term. The "Examples of Police state" section also needs citations for 3/5 of the examples mentioned being police states.

All in all, even considering the relative briefness of the article, it is so problematic that I am tempted to suggest stubbing the article by removing all the unsourced material as well as the OR. That would in my opinion make a much better foundation for improvement than the current mess. --Saddhiyama (talk) 10:56, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

As a first step to improve the article, I suggest that relevant, reliably sourced, NPOV contributions from other editors NOT BE SUMMARILY DELETED. Just a suggestion. I've tried to help, but I give up. The Freedom House material is highly relevant. An "unfree state" is obviously a police state. Ghostofnemo (talk) 02:21, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
No, obviously that's not obvious at all ... obviously, in fact, it's obviously false, since a constitutional state can obviously be unfree ... obviously. -- (talk) 04:19, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Deletion/restoration of maps[edit]

"Authoritarian regimes" shown on maps are clearly synonymous with "police states". Ghostofnemo (talk) 12:29, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

the term "police state" is widely known and free to use. if the researchers had intended their work to reflect "police state" they certainly could have actively used the term. they didnt. for us to assume "synonymous" would then render this page a POV fork of Authoritarianism and be evidence that this should be a redirect and not a stand alone article. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:22, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
and you are going against the overwhelming consensus of just a few months ago [1] . Please stop your nonsense. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 06:49, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Instead of deleting reliably sourced material that is clearly relevant to the article, why not supply reliably sourced alternative rankings that you feel are less biased? The Economist, Freedom House, etc. are clearly reliable sources, but this doesn't mean they don't have a world view. Low freedom ranking equals police state. What other possible definition could there be? Is it logically possible to have an unfree state that is not a police state? This is "Paris is the capital of France" obvious. Ghostofnemo (talk) 14:02, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
Here is a diff of the most recent deletion of reliably sourced, relevant, NPOV material from the article: Ghostofnemo (talk) 14:07, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
it is NOT appropriately sourced as everyone has been indicating. The sources do not discuss "Police state" when they have ample opportunity to do so if they wanted and felt it was appropriate to the context of their material. Taking content out of the specific context of the sources is not allowed. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 14:09, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
Low freedom ranking equals police state. -- regardless of how many times you assert this, it remains your unsourced opinion. (And you haven't even stated how low, which you could if your sources supported you.) -- (talk) 04:23, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

I suggest we try a Request for Comment WP:RFC on the "Politics, government, and law" issue area. Ghostofnemo (talk) 14:14, 26 March 2014 (UTC) Here is a possible description of the issue: The section "Rating systems", which includes the two maps to the far right on this version of the article has been deleted repeatedly, the stated reason being that "police state" and "authoritarian regime" refer to two distinct and different things. Do you feel this section is relevant to the article "Police state", reliably sourced and neutral in point of view, or do you agree that it should be deleted because it doesn't belong in this article? Ghostofnemo (talk) 14:24, 26 March 2014 (UTC) The entire "Rating systems" section of the article Police state has been repeatedly deleted. It includes the text, references, and two maps which appear to the far right in this version of the article Do you feel this section and these maps are relevant to the article, reliably sourced and neutral in point of view, or do you feel all this material should be deleted because it doesn't belong in the article? Ghostofnemo (talk) 09:57, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

  • oppose inclusion of those items - the creators of those lists and studies were very clear in what they were looking and what they were measuring and why they were looking at what they looked at. They were not looking at / measuring indications of "police state". for us to translate their work from their context into a context that is not what their work was about is a violation of WP:SYN. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 18:18, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
    • and commenters may wish to be aware that this was discussed at the No Original Research notice boards a few months ago. [2] -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 19:32, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. That section is not properly referenced. It cites four sources, three of which do not even mention "police state", while one just mentions Eritrea being a police state. Connecting those sources and their claims with the "police state" would be an original research, which is prohibited. To include the "rating systems" section, we need some sources about the rating of police states, which I do not see. Vanjagenije (talk) 11:29, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose Agree with the above editors that including this would constitute original research. AIRcorn (talk) 21:07, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment If multiple human rights organizations and publications are cited which label certain states as "unfree" or "authoritarian", how can it be original research? If this material is deleted, we have no objective basis whatsoever for the concept of "police state" - it becomes just an insult that is thrown around without any precise meaning. I'm not saying there is only one, objective yardstick, but at least this was a start. Ghostofnemo (talk) 15:23, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I think I have made my case against Ghostofnemos repeated and inherent OR tendencies above. Nothing has changed since then. --Saddhiyama (talk) 22:10, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose. They are either fork of authoritarianism or WP:OR with WP:POV. "The Economist, Freedom House, etc. are clearly reliable sources", no they are not in this case. Both represent specific political positions. Sietecolores (talk) 22:50, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Another, sad Wikipedia fail. Ghostofnemo (talk) 01:00, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

No, this was a success ... material that did not refer to police states was correctly rejected as a source for statements about police states. To treat "police state" and "authoritarian regime" or "unfree state" as synonymous (they clearly are not; constitutional states can be authoritarian and unfree) on your say-so would have been a failure. -- (talk) 04:40, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

United States[edit]

Before anyone asks yes I am an American and I think absolutely that the US should be listed on here, it meets all the requirements for a police state and I would say the only reason it's not on here is 1) Fear 2) Americans on here being patriotic — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:23, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

Too bad that all the reliably sourced criteria that would help readers objectively discern what makes a society a police state have been deleted from the article. I guess it's just a matter of opinion, like who is a "freedom fighter" and who is an "insurgent". But seriously, if you can find reliable sources (textbooks, journal articles, articles from respected newspapers or magazines, etc.) that say the U.S. is a police state, go for it and we'll see what happens. Ghostofnemo (talk) 10:46, 10 September 2014 (UTC)
This appears to be a reasonable secondary source which says that the US could be turning into a police state: Smk65536 (talk) 11:40, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
A blog entry is not a reliable source and what something "could be turning into" is not relevant to Wikipedia ( -- (talk) 04:48, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Im German and I also think that the USA is a Police State like Iran and China.-- (talk) 14:46, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

It doesn't matter what you or think and this is not the place for your opinions. (And no, the U.S. does not "meet all the requirements for a police state", since it's a Rechtsstaat ... see the lede.) -- (talk) 04:44, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
The USA has the largest prison system of world this country is an Unrechtsstaat.-- (talk) 18:48, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
and because of the WP:UNDUE policy, any claims that the US is a police state would need to be framed as a minority opinion. Probably want to look for something from a major university press that says something like "While it is a minority position a few noted scholars like X, Y and Z have cited A, B and C to call the US a police state." And there is also the issue that our list of widely-agreed -upon police states is minimal, that including a highly contested claim would be UNDUE - beefing up the actual police state coverage would be a necessary first step.-- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 16:46, 26 November 2015 (UTC)
Edward Snowden showed us that the USA are actually more than only a Police State, in fact the USA are Prevention State.-- (talk) 11:16, 2 December 2015 (UTC)
I just removed the US paragraph as it was specific to shootings of blacks by police. While heavily publicized, there is no strong evidence that racially-motivated unjust killings are common. The statistics suggest a much more muted situation. Risc64 (talk) 01:07, 5 January 2016 (UTC)
That said, I do think that the pervasiveness and expense of the US's federal intelligence and regional police/SWAT programs justify an encyclopedic suggestion that it's a police state. FWIW, I'm an American. Risc64 (talk) 01:11, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

No, under the rules of Wikipedia, we as Wikipedia editors don't add material because we believe that such and such a situation "justifies an encyclopedic suggestion" of something. And, we do not list the United States of America as a "police state" merely because an editor "thinks absolutely" that "the US should be listed on here..." Let's stay serious. Wikipedia articles are not the proper places to push the viewpoints of its editors. Famspear (talk) 15:04, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

@Famspear: Yes we do, as long as we consider our belief rational and supported by citable evidence. Risc64 (talk) 05:21, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
No, we don't. If we actually have reliable, previously published third party sources, and we use those sources properly, then we're not adding material because we believe that such and such a situation "justifies an encyclopedic suggestion" of something. If we have reliable, previously published third party sources, then we are not list the United States of America as a "police state" merely because an editor "thinks absolutely" that "the US should be listed on here..." Famspear (talk) 01:55, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
@Famspear: Do you add and cite things that you believe to be false? Risc64 (talk) 01:08, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Dear Risc64: In Wikipedia, in deciding whether to a particular matter is appropriate for inclusion, the proper test is not whether you consider the material to be true or false, or whether your consider your "belief" in the material to be "rational" -- or even whether your belief is "supported by citable evidence." We're not here to use Wikipedia articles to promote our personal beliefs. We're here to edit the encyclopedia, observing the rules and guidelines of Wikipedia, including most notably Verifiability, Neutral Point of View, and No Original Research (a term of art in Wikipedia).

Wikipedia is indeed full of statements that you might happen to believe are false. But the fact that you might believe that a particular statement is false does not mean that, under the rules, you as an editor could not "use" it in Wikipedia -- as long as you do not try to make it appear as though Wikipedia itself is taking a stand about the truth or falsity of the statement. Neutral Point of View means, in part, presenting opposing sides of an argument about facts without Wikipedia itself taking a stand as to which statement is true -- or false. Famspear (talk) 03:36, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Example: Whether a particular country is a "police state" depends on the definition that you are using. But, let's suppose that we have a definition, and (just to make things simple) that everyone in the universe agrees that it's the one and only definition of "police state." Let's also suppose that you have two Reliable Sources (as that term is used in Wikipedia), and Source #1 says "Yes, Country X is a Police State" while Source #2 says "No, Country X is not a Police State". Let's also assume that neither viewpoint is considered a fringe position. Even if you as an editor happen to agree with Source #1, your belief that Country X is a Police State (your agreement with what Source #1 says) should not be a determining factor in how you edit Wikipedia. Under the concept of Neutral Point of View, you could include the views of BOTH Reliable Sources, even though their statements are opposite and if one of the statements must logically be false. What you cannot do as a Wikipedia editor is to try to have Wikipedia take sides and say (or imply) which statement is correct.

Where you have two opposing viewpoints and one of them is a fringe position, the application of the Neutral Point of View concept remains. For example, if 99.9% of all Reliable Sources maintain that The Moon is made of moon dust and 0.1% of Reliable Sources maintain that The Moon is made of Green Cheese, Wikipedia might be able to report both positions in an article. But Neutral Point of View does not mean that Wikipedia would have to give equal weight to both positions. Wikipedia could reflect the fact that 99.9% of the Reliable Sources do indeed maintain that The Moon is made of moon dust. The fringe Green Cheese position might be reported as well -- without Wikipedia itself taking a stand that the Green Cheese argument is right or wrong. Famspear (talk) 03:55, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

@Famspear: I'm not going to bother reading all that. Regardless, my point is that when a Wikipedia editor says "I believe X", they usually don't mean "X is a personal belief I hold dear". They mean "I believe X is verifiably true". For example, "the amount of its GDP that the US spends on surveillance and the amount of data it collects is unprecedented". Assume good faith. Risc64 (talk) 18:00, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Dear Risc64: I would suggest that because you feel it's too much a "bother" for you to read a four paragraph response, which response you refer to as "all that", then you should reconsider your practice of asking me questions. These are important concepts that all editors need to understand, and the four paragraphs shown above should not be considered an overwhelming amount of information. Learning the rules here in Wikipedia does require effort, even if it means "bothering" to read four paragraphs written in response to your own question.
When a Wikipedia editor says that he or she believes that such and such a situation "justifies an encyclopedic suggestion" of something, I assume that the editor means precisely that -- and not something else. When a Wikipedia editor indicates a desire to list a particular country in Wikipedia as a "police state" because the editor "thinks absolutely" that the country "should be listed on here", I assume that the editor really means precisely that -- and not something else.
Assume good faith. Famspear (talk) 18:38, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

I took a whack at adding info on the U.S., well supported by reliable sources.Ghostofnemo (talk) 07:03, 11 May 2016 (UTC)

It's already been deleted without discussion. Ghostofnemo (talk) 01:46, 12 May 2016 (UTC) I've invited the editor who deleted this to explain why he feels these are a synthesis of "random facts" that warrant deletion, even though many of the cited sources explicitly mention the U.S. as a police state. Ghostofnemo (talk) 02:03, 12 May 2016 (UTC)
We already went through this years ago. Look back in the archives. The fact you still haven't given this up does not hint at an interest in neutrality. Toa Nidhiki05 02:50, 12 May 2016 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but we are discussion your RECENT deletion, not previous edits. Exactly why do you feel the material you deleted is a synthesis of unrelated facts? Ghostofnemo (talk) 03:29, 12 May 2016 (UTC)
In the absence of an explanation why relevant, reliably sourced and NPOV material was deleted, or why you feel this is WP:SYNTH, I've undeleted the paragraph in question. It might be helpful for the purposes of this discussion to leave this paragraph in the article until editors have a chance to discuss it. Ghostofnemo (talk) 04:42, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
It's blatantly a synth violation. You've taken a bunch of random stats about the police and are trying to use it to justify calling the US a police state. That's silly. Toa Nidhiki05 15:55, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
What do the other editors think? How are stats on incarceration rates, citizens killed by police, mass surveillance, militarized police units being used against underaged drinkers and unlicensed barbers, and mass tracking of people's movements considered to be synthesis and not evidence of a police state? Why are these facts considered to be synthesis when applied to the U.S. but not synthesis when used to demonstrate that the other countries are police states? What about the cited references that explicitly call the U.S. a police state? Here is the deleted paragraph:

"The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, at 716 per 100,000 people.[23] Police in the U.S. killed between 975 and 1,186 people in 2015, according to various news organizations and citizens groups.[24] According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. government "is regularly tracking the calls of hundreds of millions of Americans and spying on a vast but unknown number of Americans’ international calls, text messages, and emails."[25] There is increasing concern about the aggressiveness of policing and use of excessive force against suspects.[26][27][28][29] Nearly one out of every three American adults has a record in a criminal database.[30] Heavily armed SWAT teams have been used against illegal gamblers, barbers operating without licenses, underage drinkers, alcohol permit violaters, child pornographers, chicken fight organizers and political protesters.[31] License plate tracking systems are being used to record the movements of "millions of innocent citizens".[32]"


  • Michelle Ye Hee Lee (July 7, 2015). "Yes, U.S. locks people up at a higher rate than any other country". Washington Post.
  • Dylan Petrohilos (December 28, 2015). "Here’s How Many People Police Killed In 2015". ThinkProgress.
  • "NSA Surveillance". ACLU. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  • Oliver Laughland and Jamiles Lartey (June 18, 2015). "All 50 US states fail to meet global police use of force standards, report finds". The Guardian.
  • Matthew Harwood (December 21, 2015). "The Biggest Threat to American Public Safety Is the American Police State". The Nation.
  • John W. Whitehead (January 6, 2014). "Life in the Emerging American Police State: What's in Store for Our Freedoms in 2014?". Huffington Post.
  • Gene Robinson (September 1, 2014). "Is America a Police State? For Many, Yes". The Daily Beast.
  • Gary Fields and John R. Emshwiller (August 18, 2014). "As Arrest Records Rise, Americans Find Consequences Can Last a Lifetime". Wall Street Journal.
  • Radley Balko (July 7, 2013). "“Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book”: The new warrior cop is out of control". Salon.
  • James R. Healey, Greg Toppo and Fred Meier (July 18, 2013). "You can't hide from cops with license-plate scanners". USA Today

Furthermore, in order to be synthesis doesn't there have to be some unsupported conclusion that is being drawn? I am drawing no conclusions here, only supplying facts that are clearly indicators of a police state. Ghostofnemo (talk) 12:51, 14 May 2016 (UTC)

Once again, utterly laughable. Alleged police brutality and a police state aren't the same thing - although you've demonstrated this lack of understanding before, in your previous attempts to inject this sort of material. You've taken a bunch of random sources on vastly different topics to pretend that they say together something they don't. Clear SYNTH violation. Toa Nidhiki05 13:57, 14 May 2016 (UTC)
In light of the many reliable sources which support inclusion, many of which explicitly refer to the United States as a "police state", you seem to lack objectivity on this subject. Are their any conflicts of interest WP:COI? Are you an employee or contractor (added) of the U.S. government, one of its national security or law enforcement agencies, or its military? There have been repeated suggestions and efforts by other editors to include similar information in the article. Ghostofnemo (talk) 22:49, 14 May 2016 (UTC)
I am an agent of Mossad. My reptilian overlords sent me from the planet Nibiru to examine, study, and prepare the reaping of mankind. In order to ensure this it is vital that Wikipedia remain pure of ungood thought. They cannot know that we blew up the World Trade Centers with space lasers in order to allow the Bushes (fellow Mossad agents) to establish a police state. I'm afraid you have become an inconvenience to us. We have taken custody of your family. You will receive further instruction at 3 AM UST tomorrow. Follow these instructions carefully if you want to live. Toa Nidhiki05 22:59, 14 May 2016 (UTC)
"Wikipedia's power lies in its openness, but how can you prevent the powers-that-be from gaming the system? A new series of Twitter bots aims to shed light on government officials tinkering with Wikipedia's articles by tracking and posting any edits made from government IP addresses." Ghostofnemo (talk) 02:57, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
I've already revealed my status as a Mossad agent. Why not go to Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard and report it? Are you afraid? Toa Nidhiki05 03:06, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
It seems odd that countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and other U.S. allies are not included in the article, that information about the U.S. contributed by various editors has been totally blanked out, even when it seems well sourced and neutral, and that the reasons for deletion are so vague or even clearly hostile, such as "Not happening". It is a bit suspicious.Ghostofnemo (talk) 13:33, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
Since you are convinced I'm a government agent, why haven't you filed a complaint at Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard yet? I'll file it for you if you want because it will be very funny to see the reaction. Toa Nidhiki05 20:07, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

you litteraly only need to read the patriot act and nsa to tell America is a police state with Dhs being secret police wake up department of homeland security is secret police deal with it (I'm sure many sites agree which might soon be sited) not to mention the reversion of the edits here (on USA being police state) are very conservative not unbiased which would say that USA is police state in some way — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:10, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

Lack of Examples[edit]


I liked the part that says: "Political control may be exerted by means of a secret police force which operates outside the boundaries normally imposed by a constitutional state." Yet the article doesn't provide any examples in modern times. Is Canada such an example? Is the US? Surely there is some honest intellectual out there who would be able to provide an example of this kind other than the typical common examples everyone is taught in grade 12 social studies classes. Are there any Internet radicals out there that would like to bring to light the truth?

Saludos, (talk) 00:21, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

This is an encyclopedia. Bring sources. -- (talk) 04:45, 23 April 2015 (UTC)
There used to be info about ratings by rights groups, but they were repeatedly deleted from the article. Ghostofnemo (talk) 07:06, 11 May 2016 (UTC)


The cited source describing Chile under Pinochet is of dubious quality, being merely one line lacking any argument, and bizarrely asserting that the free-market requires a police state, again without any argument. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:04, 10 August 2015 (UTC)


The USA is a police state too.--Aktionsfront für Wahrheitsfindung (talk) 09:00, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

I wonder why USA is not listed as a police state? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:57, 10 December 2016 (UTC)