Friday, September 08, 2017

Have the Police Become Nothing But Bureaucrats with Weapons — Cracking Down on Petty Criminals Instead of Preventing Murders, Rapes, and Significant Property Crimes?

Are police necessary?
asks the Underground Reporter (thanks to Bojidar Marinov).
Although this existential question often produces a knee-jerk ‘of course they are, who would protect us?’ a growing call for the abolition of police — and working examples to back it up — deserves more than scornful dismissal, particularly amid epidemic-level violence by agents of the state.

 … David Graeber of the London School of Economics … writes:
“The police spend very little of their time dealing with violent criminals — indeed, police sociologists report that only about 10% of the average police officer’s time is devoted to criminal matters of any kind. Most of the remaining 90% is spent dealing with infractions of various administrative codes and regulations: all those rules about how and where one can eat, drink, smoke, sell, sit, walk, and drive. If two people punch each other, or even draw a knife on each other, police are unlikely to get involved. Drive down the street in a car without license plates, on the other hand, and the authorities will show up instantly, threatening all sorts of dire consequences if you don’t do exactly what they tell you.
“The police, then, are essentially just bureaucrats with weapons. Their main role in society is to bring the threat of physical force — even, death — into situations where it never would have been otherwise invoked, such as the enforcement of civic ordinances about the sale of untaxed cigarettes.”
 … Loosely in line with the law of the instrument, citizens have become opportunities for revenue generation, as police patrol the streets searching for anyone stepping out of line with some misbegotten code. We are little more than adversarial dollar signs to these roving bands of armed enforcers of extraneous laws — targets to be plundered and pillaged, harassed and shaken down, to generate revenue and therefore justify the continuation of Big Government.
In the absence of policing, justice, prison, and criminal code reform, several viable options present themselves for consideration — perhaps most imperatively among them, the complete abolishment of police.
To posit the populace would devolve into chaos and violence without police departments ignores the chaos and violence wrought by police — not to mention the very real historical proof a correctly and fully-functioning society can and will police itself.
First, consider the sizable financial feedback loop perpetuated by an excessively intrusive nanny state and its armed agents of enforcement. Taxpayers shoulder the cost of disproportionately large police forces, which crack down on petty criminals instead of preventing murders, rapes, and significant property crimes. Then taxpayers fund overburdened public defenders and backlogged courts, prisons, probation officers, and legislators in their effort to criminalize yet more ridiculously innocuous behaviors. It’s neverending. It’s unsustainable. And it’s not going to fix itself — not in ways significant enough to warrant further discussion.
 … Abolishing police entirely might reek of radicalism to a nation cowed by constant government fear propaganda … 

 … Police aren’t serving the people who pay their salaries — and are under no obligation to do so — but if they aren’t solving crimes or protecting the citizenry, whose purposes do they serve?

 … Notice none of these arguments for abolishing police criticize officers as individuals — except for an obviously growing number of bad apples, many officers chose policing as an occupation with protecting and serving in mind. But that arguably laudable goal is a vapid remnant of what has become policing for profit at the expense of communities nationwide. …

Sunday, September 03, 2017

"What real democracy involves," according to Reagan: "liberation of the captive people from the thralls of a ruling elite that presumes to know the people's good better than the people"

"We know what real democracy constitutes; we understand its implications. It means the rule of law for the leaders as well as the people. It involves limitations on the power of the state over the people. It means orderly debate and meaningful votes. It means liberation of the captive people from the thralls of a ruling elite that presumes to know the people's good better than the people."
Ronald Reagan,
Remarks on Soviet-United States Relations at the Town

Hall of California Meeting in Los Angeles, August 26, 1987