In an article today, Lew Rockwell answers yes. See what he has to say.

I’m organizing a session on this at the Association for Private Enterprise Education (APEE) meetings in Las Vegas in April and I’ve asked people who I expect are on each side of the issue to present. So far, no takers.

A police state, as I understand it, is not necessarily the same thing as a totalitarian state. A totalitarian state is necessarily a police state, but not vice versa. I think of a police state as one in which the government can find a charge to put you in prison even though you did nothing wrong. That’s part of my definition. If I need to be one of the people who presents in Vegas, I’ll come up with a tighter one.

And in case you reject the idea because Lew Rockwell said it, take a look at a front page story in today’s Wall Street Journal titled, “As Federal Crime List Grows, Threshold of Guilt Declines.” It’s by Gary Fields and John R. Emshwiller.

One excerpt:

One controversial new law can hold animal-rights activists criminally responsible for protests that cause the target of their attention to be fearful, regardless of the protesters’ intentions. Congress passed the law in 2006 with only about a half-dozen of the 535 members voting on it.

How about this:

In 1998, Dane A. Yirkovsky, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa, man with an extensive criminal record, was back in school pursuing a high-school diploma and working as a drywall installer. While doing some remodeling work, Mr. Yirkovsky found a .22 caliber bullet underneath a carpet, according to court documents. He put it in a box in his room, the records show.

A few months later, local police found the bullet during a search of his apartment. State officials didn’t charge him with wrongdoing, but federal officials contended that possessing even one bullet violated a federal law prohibiting felons from having firearms.

Mr. Yirkovsky pleaded guilty to having the bullet. He received a congressionally mandated 15-year prison sentence, which a federal appeals court upheld but called “an extreme penalty under the facts as presented to this court.” Mr. Yirkovsky is due to be released in May 2013.

And this:

An incident from 2002 illustrates the sometimes messy process of drafting legislation. That year, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which set new punishments for white-collar crime following the scandals at Enron, WorldCom and other companies. Several legal experts were about to testify on key provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley before a Senate subcommittee when the chairman called a break in the meeting. The reason: The senators needed to vote on the very provisions the panelists were there to discuss.

The hearing resumed two hours later, after the provisions were approved 97-0. The witnesses went on to testify about the dangers of weakening criminal-intent standards, as Sarbanes-Oxley did.

Or how about the behavior of some New York city policemen last weekend? Take a look at this Lawrence O’Donnell segment on MSNBC.