In the month of June, 2020, the cry has grown louder and louder, spreading especially across the Fifty States, but into other nations as well. It is especially strong in Minnesota, Washington, and California, but can be found virtually everywhere.
Abolish the police. Defund the police. Replace the police.
Publisher’s note: There has been an extended hiatus in posting commentary, and may continue to be some days without posts. Thank you for bearing with us and supporting The Price of Liberty.
Many libertarians, especially anarchists (as in free-market anarchists, not the bomb-throwing types), have long called for abolition of police, replacing them with free-market, private alternatives. This is not what seems to be called for today by the protesters, rioters, “progressive” politicians, and the media. The general gist is one of emotion: anger, bitterness, name-calling, and indeed, at least symbolic bomb-throwing.
Clearly there has been no real thought given to what could come after police. Which makes you wonder just what they think WILL replace the current system.
Of course, the current faddish anti-police types may have deeper, darker motives: creating a situation, a “society” in which the police, rather than being abolished, are given MORE power and MORE immunity. This could come quite easily as a popular backlash from fearful people seeing the riots, looting, and burning.
At the same time, we see a few thoughtful people presenting ideas. And not all are libertarian. Indeed, some of the news and commentary showing up in recent weeks is quite surprising. Someone is doing some serious thinking about what might develop – but most are not.
Consider a recent story or report on YouTube (thanks to Steve for sending me this): Police resigning en masse. Why? They are angry at being attacked for doing what they are told. And at the refusal of their political “civilian” rulers to support them (the cops). Instead, the politicians are blaming the cops, voting to cut funding, de-establish police forces, and pass laws restricting them more and more. Illogical, I know: they are wrong if they do and wrong if they don’t. Is this getting out of policing a good sign? Or are they just preparing to be begged to come back, with more prestige, more power, more money, and a thirst for payback?
Newsweek, about as “progressive” (regressivist) as you can get these days and still be “mainstream” published several opinions pieces on abolishing the police. In one they claim that “defunding police is NOT extreme because better solutions exist.” But the solutions that they propose are all “tired and true” – already truly determined to fail to prevent aggression – real crime. Or to respond to the aggression and violence that the police supposedly exist to act against.
A second Newsweek opinion piece on treating police like soldiers actually makes some very interesting, even valid, points. Written by Monu Bedi, a law professor and former Naval JAG officer, he points out some of the problems which have been addressed by minarchists in past decades, and some “governmental solutions” which do NOT involve abolishing the police.
But honestly? The better the idea, the less likely that any political authority will pass it.
And even the good ideas, the ones that have not been tried before and failed, are going to fail. Why? Because they all involve government action, and refuse to even consider personal responsibility. This is the case both for those demanding “Abolish the Police” and for those who defend and demand the presence of cops. Even cops who beat up and otherwise abuse people. And kill them: not just the criminals, the gangbangers, and the evildoers. Beat up, abuse, and kill innocents. Which in turn fuels the demand to abolish the police. But NOT so that they can take responsibility for their own protection, their own defense. Or that of their family and neighbors and community.
We don’t need the police – we don’t want the police. Lovers of liberty have always called for the abolition of police forces, understanding that to even try to be effective, police must become MORE tyrannical. They must become MORE thuggish, must crack down on more and more things.
And far too often, any effort to defend yourself, to protect your property – even to prevent crime – is illegal. And unlike the shoplifting, the public defecation, the aggressive panhandling, even the attempted rapes and constant vandalism and stealing, those “crimes” are prosecuted.
Because although it IS a cop problem, it is first and foremost a problem with politicians and bureaucrats, who use the cops to sustain and grow their power and wealth. And they benefit from allowing – and supporting – the chaos. It is a vicious circle and it has destroyed the cities, is rapidly destroying the counties and States, and will destroy ALL the States.
Abolishing or defunding the cops and replacing them with some other enforcement mechanism and bureaucracy that is based on the immorality of mandatory government will fail. Replacing government solutions with liberty and personal responsibility is our only hope.