Edit: I often try to use reason and persuasion to make my point, but I may come across quite sarcastic and frustrated here. I acknowledge that that is not the best way to debate a point. I also beg you to take this post in context with my other posts. I’m not foolishly claiming that all police are bad people, or that we don’t need brave individual’s to protect us. This post is just analyzing a single video that has been making the rounds.

The following is a video put out by the “Freeway Patrol Media Relations Office”. They’re a pro police group in the US. The video is on the topic of police brutality in that country.

They begin by posing several questions that are likely to cross the minds of most citizens.

“Why so much police brutality?”
“What’s with all the police violence?”
“Are the police out of control?”
“Are there any honest cops left?”

Unfortunately, that’s as far as the video goes. Instead of answering any of them, the video seems to point out that, since more non-police are doing bad things, their own use of violence is fine.

Check out what police brutality is:

Police brutality is a civil rights violation that occurs when a police officer acts with excessive force […] Excessive force is not subject to a precise definition, but it is generally beyond the force a reasonable and prudent law enforcement officer would use under the circumstances. – Source: USLegal.com

The legal definition of excessive force is, whatever the law/police consider to be excessive force. Unfortunately, that means that we lowly mortals have no way of knowing when excessive force is actually being used.

A recurring point here is going to be the fact that the source of the data is the police officers themselves. I don’t know about you, but if I was committing police brutality, I’d lie like crazy on any report. There are also independently collected stats that conflict dramatically with those in this video.

Right away they bring up that there are only 2.5 police officers for every 1000 people. I was, and still am curious about the relevance of this statistic. Maybe they’ll address it later? Let’s forget the invalidity of their numbers for now, and try to find how they intend to address the concerns they’ve brought up.

0.12% of the US population are “peace officers”. It’s unclear to me whether this number includes all law enforcement, or just police. The video opens addressing the concerns about police officers, so let’s assume that’s what they mean. They arrest 3.89% of the population annually. Keep in mind, those arrests don’t mean anyone did anything actually wrong. Out of those, over 12 million arrests each year (again, their numbers) how many do you think actually should have been arrested? Those numbers include people like an elderly gentleman who was trying to feed the homeless, or someone voluntarily buying or selling marijuana, or several individuals who were arrested for “resisting arrest” (explain that to me).

Sorry, that’s off topic. We’re trying to prove that cops are doing good. Let’s continue.

Side note: I am very curious about how they measure when an officer “comes into contact” with someone. Do they actually report on who “observed” them? The count “motorists”? What’s a “consensual encounter”? Did they all make a note of encountering this guy?

In any case, they go on to proudly claim that only 26,000 (0.049%) of the citizens actually made official complaints of police brutality specifically. This is actually incredible. Those are 26,000, either unbelievably brave, or unbelievably stupid individuals. Did you know that, in many jurisdictions, you actually cannot file a complaint anonymously? On top of that, many places actually require you to disclose the nature of the complaint to a police officer in person first, so that they can decide whether your complaint is valid or not. If I was accused of police brutality, I’d probably make sure those complaints didn’t make it through. Of course, those 26,000 complaints referred to in the video are pertaining to excessive force, which really makes me wonder how many go, either unsuccessfully reported, or keep silent out of fear.

Here’s a video of some people trying to file a complaint with police:

Sorry, off topic again. We’re trying to figure out how this video proves police are helping people.

Of those complaints only 8% were sustained for a total of 2080 complaints per year. So obviously, 92% of the people who file police brutality complaints are liars. That makes sense right? Of course, it’s law enforcement who decide which complaints to allow, and it’s law enforcement who decides which complaints were actually sustained. At this point, because of the enormous conflict of interest, how could any open minded person not see the enormous bias here?

In the data used for this video, the narrator claims there were 14,827 murders. That, of course, doesn’t include the 400 annual deaths at the hand of police officers. That 400 is the FBI’s numbers, however there are certain deaths the FBI doesn’t count. Private estimates put it closer to 1000, but since we’re trying to make these numbers look better, we’ll use the FBI’s 400. So ~3% of all murders were by police. Weird that they left that out of the video. It’s a good stat. Also, if you’re using his numbers, then only 2080 people are physically abused by police officers each year.

Oh… the video ended.

At least it had the comforting big bold words “RESIST NOT, WORRY NOT”. Of course, the “if you’ve done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to fear” sentiment doesn’t work. You have broken a law. It’s extremely likely that something you have done in the last 24 hours is likely illegal. According to the law, you are a criminal, and the police simply need to figure out which law you broke. It’s not a matter of guilty or not guilty. It’s just a matter of what you’re guilty of.

It’s also slightly terrifying that the same people promoting this video are the ones promoting an online police apparel company with a t-shirt on the front page, showing the following Hemingway quote on it:

“There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.”

My take away from this is that, police only make up 3% of all murders, and there’s a lot more crime going on then just what police are doing, so stop complaining, stop resisting, and let the police do whatever they want to you! If you’d just do everything they tell you, nobody would get hurt!

…Isn’t that what every villain in every movie says to their hostages?

If you know me at all, you likely know that I am absolutely anti-state. There is no case where initiatory force is justified, and the state cannot exist without it. You cannot be against the existent of the state, and be in favour of state funded organizations. The state has nothing but stolen money to pay for whatever they pay for.

…Every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.
– Frédéric Bastiat

I would be an idiot if I thought people didn’t need hospitals or fire departments or protective services. We need all of these things. We don’t need to be robbed to pay for them. In fact, when the money for these essential services we consume are paid for by a third party (the state), the services are not working for us. They are working for the government. Think of how scary that actually is. When you go to the hospital, you want your doctor to have none other than your health needs in mind. What happens when the doctor does not work for you, but instead, works for the government?

As recently as 1972, the US government via the U.S. Public Health Service, used it’s citizens as unknowing guinea pigs in the 40 year Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, to test the effects of syphilis on around 600 black men in Macon County, Alabama. The doctors under the government’s employ, entered the area, claiming to offer free medical care, meals, and burial insurance. They told those participating in the study that they just had “bad blood”, which was a local term used to describe various illnesses that included symptoms like those of syphilis. None of the participants were told they had syphilis, and the doctors never treated any of them for their syphilis, despite the discovery of penicillin as an effective treatment in the 1940’s.

For the most part, doctors and civil servants simply did their jobs. Some merely followed orders, others worked for the glory of science.
– John Heller, Director of the Public Health Service’s Division of Venereal Diseases

At the same time as that experiment, the US government also sent doctors to Guatemala to actually infect people with syphilis and other STDs, resulting in 83 deaths.

The doctors in both cases were “just doing their jobs”.

I frequently discuss the horrendous actions taken by many police officers with friends and family, and on social media. Yes, those who do these incredibly violent acts are, themselves, in the wrong. These acts, as horrible as they are, typically receive a slap on the wrist compared to the consequences of anyone else doing the same thing. I believe that the “bad cops” are a minority, and that many cops are not intentionally trying to do bad things. That being said, if you’re a police officer, your job is one of oppression, not protection.

I know that is an incredibly uncomfortable thing to hear, and, if you have friends or family that are police officers, or if you are one yourself, I’m certain your immediate reaction is that I’m wrong, and that police put their lives at risk for us every day. You may go as far as to argue that they deserve our respect, and that, when they oppress people, that’s only because their job dictates that they do so.

That last point, that they do what they do “because their job dictates that they do so”, is exactly my problem with the police. This makes it incredibly clear that the police are not working for you. They are employees of the state. They are literally “law enforcement”, not “people protectors”. By agreeing to the job, they are saying that, no matter what laws are made, whether they violate the rights of people or not, they will enforce them.

I truly believe that most police officers have never considered the distinction between protecting the people and enforcing the law, but there is one, and it’s huge.

In order to understand how the law, and law enforcement eliminates freedom, we need to understand what freedom really is. Lets say that you want to sell your car. If you have to seek the approval of anyone else before you sell it, then you are not free to sell your car. You don’t have the final say in what it is you do. Even if the person you seek approval from allows you to sell the car, you are not free because it was not your decision.

Using Canada as an example, you cannot buy or sell anything without the government’s approval (taxes, licensing). You can’t keep what you earn (Taxes). You cannot enter or leave the country either (passports). You cannot marry who you want (LGBT, Polygamy, etc). You can’t eat what you want (Drug laws, food regulations and licensing). You can’t defend yourself, your family, or your property. You can’t wear what you want (Indecency laws). You can’t even say what you want. Did you know it’s actually impossible to own property in Canada? It’s actually illegal. If you literally claimed ownership of property, no matter who you bought it from, you would be stealing it from the “crown”. When you buy property, you are paying to essentially have the right to use the land. At any point, the law would allow the monarchy to reclaim the land from you for whatever purposes they deemed appropriate.

And who enforces these ridiculous laws?

I get that it’s an unpleasant realization, but the unpleasantness of a fact does not change the fact’s legitimacy. The government would have no power over it’s people if it wasn’t for the police.

We need police officers. We just all suffer as long as they stay law enforcers.

In the free market, we would rely on people to protect our safety, but in a free market, these people would be there to protect our safety. The motivation that these people had to become police officers could actually be realized. They would be in a place to actually do good.

If you’ve read anything else I’ve written, you’re well aware that I don’t believe anyone is entitled to special treatment. In fact, if I’m getting something I haven’t earned, I often don’t like it. Getting something for nothing diminishes the value of the something. Also, it’s a little insulting. It’s as if the person extending that charity to me is saying that I’m just not capable of doing things for myself.

Now, to be clear, this doesn’t include things like presents to a family member or friend. You can say that, in a way, you’re earning those gifts by the value you provide to the gift giver. The person giving you a gift obviously values the relationship you’re a part of, enough to provide you with that gift. It’s not literally something for nothing. Do you give gifts to people you hate and can gain nothing from?

In Canada and the US, and possibly other places around the world, the native population is treated as children by the government. By supporting them with unearned money and housing, it’s making the statement that the government believes these people would be incapable of doing this on their own. This, in turn, perpetuates negative stereotypes among the general population.

I personally feel a great deal of sadness when I consider the horrific things the invaders of this continent did to it’s native inhabitants upon arrival, but what is even worse, to me, is how this demeaning and destructive behaviour has never stopped. It didn’t end with a single generation. The government has dragged out the torture for centuries.

Imagine that, from the day you were born, to the day you died, you never had a single responsibility. Personally, to have that now is an appealing thought. I wouldn’t stop working, personally, because I love what I do, but having no pressure to work would be nice. That’s not what we’re talking about here though. We’re talking about, from birth, never having any pressure to do anything to provide for yourself. What kind of life would that create?

Let’s say this was you. You never want for anything, so you never have to work. You never have to gain an education, develop a skill, or get a job, or do anything that would be otherwise a natural requirement for survival. You get to live of the efforts of someone else forever. How could you be blamed for acting irresponsibly, if your irresponsible actions have no consequences? Money means nothing to you, because it just comes without any effort, therefore the goods you purchase with this money have no real value to you. You would be living moment to moment, without the natural incentive to pursue long term goals.

When you don’t have to work for what you’re given, corruption becomes natural. It’s commonplace to read about corruption on native reserves among tribal leaders. They receive the money from the government to distribute among the tribe members. The only way they’ve been trained to earn money, is by taking it from the government, so naturally, they’d be inclined to try to maximize their profits by keeping as much as they can, and giving away as little as they can. It’s not easy to condemn someone for their actions, when it’s almost guaranteed that those actions would happen as a response to external stimulus – aka government handouts. The stereotypical behaviour displayed by many natives is, in my opinion, absolutely, 100% understandable, considering how they’ve been treated.

Let’s take this time to clarify that I do not think all natives have succumb to the existing pressure to behave in the ways I’ve pointed out above. I have an extreme respect for the vast numbers of those who somehow, against all odds, managed to see the situation they were in, and get into a better one. I can’t imagine that would be easy to do, but I can imagine not having any regrets once done. Living on the reserves is an easy answer, that the government has told you is perfectly acceptable. I honestly can’t say enough about how much wisdom those individuals are showing.

Remember, I don’t care about what anyone’s contribution to “society” is. These individuals are bound by nobody to get a job or make great scientific breakthroughs, or anything of that nature. Those would all be welcome, and would add value to the free market, but they are just as entitled to do absolutely nothing, provided they do not act as a burden on an unwilling participant.

Society is just a collection of individuals. Your actions are affecting individuals, and by abstracting these people as “society”, it only makes it easier to rationalize acting negatively to those individuals. To say that the native population is society’s problem, is to say that every one of us is being blamed, personally, for the actions of a few, generations ago, and we are somehow responsible for the compensation of the native individuals of the current generation, to which we have also done no wrong.

The government’s cruelty to the native population needs to end. I would love to see citizens and businesses work to educate current and future generations of natives about the value of their life, and the joy the pursuit of happiness itself can bring. There is profit in this action, for all involved.

I am so lucky that I was not born into the same situation as those on a reserve. I don’t know if I’d have had the courage and wisdom to get out.

Anarchist just want to be criminals and steal and use violence.
First big one, no, we don’t like violence. It’s common for people that are acting violently to be labelled as “anarchist” in the news. If they are using force, they are literally not anarchist. The use of force defies the fundamental belief of anarchism – that nobody should be subject to the will of another. By using violence, you become a dictator to your victim, deciding either how they live, or even whether they live. Theft falls into the exact same category. The use of theft and violence is what is wrong with the state. Anarchy and the love of violence are polar opposites.

Anarchists hate the poor
This one I can almost understand people believing. A lot of anachists/libertarians say things like “why should I have to pay for their ___”. Taken at face value, you may agree with the reasoning, but condemn the spirit of the statement. It sounds like they’re just saying “the poor can go die for all I care”. That is actually not even close to the meaning. The challenge is in the word choice. “Why should I…” could be replaced with “why should you…” or “why should anybody else…”. Of course we object to being forced to pay for things we didn’t consent to, but it’s the practice in general we hate. We wouldn’t want you to be robbed to pay for our needs either.

Another key part of that phrase is “have to”. Anarchists are typically quite charitable. They’re careful with their money, because that’s just smart, but they are more than willing to donate to charities that they feel will use the donation wisely. The problem anarchists have is that the choice to be charitable is being forced on them. If you don’t have the choice to not be charitable, then you equally don’t have the choice to be charitable. Anarchists want to be just as charitable as anyone else, but when you steal from an anarchist, you deprive them of that choice.

Anarchists don’t understand economics
I find this one quite ironic really. Many of the wealthiest people in the world are libertarian or at least conservative. Economics are a topic anarchists typically take pride in. Many practice free market concepts as best they can, and profit significantly from it.

This article is a perfect example of several of the flawed statist reasoning used against libertarians/anarchists. They take each point, and apply it to the context of a state, which, of course, would fail, as everything else does.

Take, for example, their first point, “What if you cut all benefits?” Yes, anarchists would love to have all state backed financial benefit programs end. Of course, the idea is that, if they aren’t funding those programs they could lower taxes. As everyone knows, that would never actually happen. They would end funding there, and shift it elsewhere. Probably to their pockets.

The author of that article uses nothing beyond that single point, spins it out of context.
“But if you believe that those programs create dependency, too…. It never stops: Close down the homeless shelters. Shut down the Salvation Army. Make it illegal to throw a starving person a coin or toss a blanket over them as they lay on the sidewalk.”

Again, this is reductio ad absurdum among many other fallacious arguments all packed into one. Charitable organizations would not disappear, but would likely boom in the free market. Businesses aren’t going to make money if everyone is poor, therefore it is logical to assume an organization that helps individuals become profitable, via education for instance, would be something a business owner would want to donate to, and it would be financially beneficial to do so in the long run. Same logic can be applied to health care. Businesses can’t make money of people too sick to buy their stuff. This author takes the anarchist point that the state shouldn’t control charity, to mean that libertarians hate charity.

He goes on to state the the free market is bad because Sears failed to implement it internally. The free market describes relationships between individuals and business. There’s a balance that is maintained by the voluntary interactions of individuals. If your business isn’t meeting the needs of the consumer why should it exist? By definition, it is not contributing anything of value, and it would be right for it to be eliminated. This logic is insane to force internally at a company like Sears, while simultaneously trying to hold onto your market share in all areas. Either you let your stronger departments survive, and cut the losses, or you empower your business to work cooperatively, with actual competitors as your competition. If you get your business to attack your business, naturally, you’re going to take a hit.

“But the Sears experiment showed us that it works best when there is a fabric which knits the competing parts together into something more than the sum of its parts. We call that something a nation.”
We actually call that something theft and violence, and no business would ever succeed implementing that as a strategy. Would you give them your business? Cooperation is always necessary to succeed, but it’s voluntary cooperation that we need. Not teamwork at the end of the a gun.

He brings up several good points about the challenges facing low income areas, but fails monumentally when he points to state action as libertarian in nature. Sampling anarchy in a limited area still under state influence can’t work. This is incredibly simple to explain. The cost of living, due to the need to recover costs resulting from the increase in minimum wage, among other things, is higher than what someone being paid less than minimum wage can afford. A business would not want to sell a good cheaper locally than it does in a neighbouring town. If they did, their local customers would simply shop at the other location. Good business dictates that they need to have consistent pricing across multiple locations.

Trying to drop a Walmart into a low income area, and tell them they can pay their employees whatever they feel like, will not result in wealthier citizens, but a higher profit business.

This gets into issues like the insanity of sales tax. In Nova Scotia, Canada, sales tax is currently 15%. That means that any time you want to buy something, you end up paying 15% more than the sticker price for that item. That doesn’t include fuel. In Canada, the total taxes paid on fuel is approximately 31% of what you’re paying at the pump. Not only does the state actually force the price of a good to increase by creating minimum wage laws, they then increase the price further by taxing it. Trying to throw in some under-minimum wage jobs at that point is definitely going to cause people to starve. Then, of course, there’s property tax, and income tax. You end up being able to spend very little of the money you earn, and that’s thanks to the state.

If all property was private property, everyone with property would be a dictator
I’d like to point out the irony of this concept as well. “To avoid the possibility of millions of minarchies, we must continue with our one enormous oligarchy”.

“If “private ownership” is a barrier against these governmental prerogatives, where does it end? If you can’t outlaw discrimination on private property, what can you outlaw: Fraud? Theft? Murder?”
Ya, it’s that crazy guy again, from that article I linked to in the previous point. Discrimination, so far as it doesn’t violate life, liberty, or property, is not a violation of a fundamental human right. Neither is fraud in some cases. Theft and murder definitely are.

“In Paul Randian libertarianism there is no limit to the deeds a business owner can commit inside the confines of his own business.”
If any anarchist believes this, then, once again, they are not yet anarchists. If you invite someone onto your property (for instance, by opening a business) then you can no longer claim any violation of property, and therefore, have no justified use of force against a trespasser for the act of trespassing. You are free to run your business in absolutely any way you see fit. If it’s bad, the people will let you know by taking their business elsewhere. If it’s good, they’ll support you.

If you invite people on to your property, then start shooting, those would-be victims are absolutely justified in using force to defend themselves against you. Business property is the last place where I’d ever expect any dictatorial attitudes to be present.

Personal private property is an interesting topic though. Remember, the fundamental, inherent rights are to defend yourself against the violation of life, liberty, and property. So what if someone buys up all the property around your home, and does not allow you to travel through their property? You may find a variety of answers, and perhaps in the future of personal air travel, this question will become moot, but as it stands, it’s a logical concern. I’d suggest that the buyer of the property is, in essence, whether intentionally or not, is using the land as a weapon against you. You would be justified in limited trespassing on the property, only to the extent of escaping the imposed confines. You would not be justified in violating the land owner’s own right to property by spending time in his home, or setting up camp, for instance.

Anarchists don’t believe in rules
Anarchists don’t believe in rulers. Huge difference. A ruler is one who imposes their rules on you, whether you consent or not. It’s not the rules that are necessarily objectionable, it’s the lack of consent.

I could elaborate on that, but I think Robert P. Murphy describes it very well in his lecture “The Market for Security”. Here is a part of particular interest on the subject of “free market law”. The entire lecture is excellent, and I recommend watching it from start to finish, but that portion in the link is especially relevant.

Anarchists are stupid and selfish
Wrong. We’re just selfish.

Selfishness is an interesting virtue (yes, I used that word intentionally), and it’s very unlikely that you’ve ever chosen to do a good deed that did not have a selfish benefit. Have you ever donated money to charity? That’s selfish. Perhaps you were motivated by the urge to eliminate guilt, or maybe the urge to experience the satisfaction of helping others. If you had no motive, you wouldn’t do it.

Perhaps you were asked to do something you didn’t want to do, and hated doing it the entire time, and didn’t feel good about it afterwards. How could that possibly be selfish? Maybe you’re uncomfortable with saying no to people, so the inconvenience of performing the task outweighed the unpleasantness associated with rejecting it. Maybe you were asked by a family member, and therefore were satisfying a guilt, or sense of obligation. It could be that you were concerned about the relationship with that individual deteriorating as a result of not helping them, therefore that relationship is worth more to you than the unpleasantness of the task.

Denying this selfishness is unnecessary, as it has no downside. It is evolutionary to be concerned with your own well being. Selfishness has no victim.

What about people who do bad things for “selfish” reasons. If they doing bad things in the name of selfishness, then they are actually not selfish enough. Consider a free market, where all interactions are voluntary. I am a weirdo that steals money from women’s purses (I should have prefaced that with “pretend that I am…”). I’m only going to be able to do that for so long before someone catches me. Then my reputation is immediately garbage. Nobody has to interact with me, therefore few people would interact with me. I would financially and socially suffer as a result of my stupid behaviour. The risk versus the reward or purse change, is really stupid. Therefore, if i was trying to be extremely selfish, I would be doing all I can to improve my reputation whenever possible, by doing things society approves of and appreciates like helping these ladies cross the street (They were all old ladies in my head).

Anarchists are racist/anti-gay/anti-religion/anti-puppies/etc
Nope. In fact, we are literally as tolerant of these groups as you can be. We don’t try to dictate whether your private behaviour is acceptable or not. We stay out of it. It is absolutely nobody else’s business. We even respect the right to think stupidly about these groups. Racism, for example, (that doesn’t result in the violation of anyone’s rights, remember) would technically be allowed, but would be unbelievably stupid. Not just because it’s illogical either. Society doesn’t like racism. That’s not because the government told us it’s bad, that’s just because we’ve decided that it’s insane and based on nothing.

In a free market, nobody has to do business with you. You aren’t entitled to the money someone else has, and nobody is entitled to have you as an employee. Just as a racist is free to not do business with someone of a different race, I’m free to not do business with racists. Further more, I’m free to spread that information around, so that others become aware of the racist practices of an individual. Bigotry of any kind is very likely to result in a loss of income. I don’t even just mean as a business owner, but even as an employee. If people are avoiding your business because your employee is racist, it’s a smart move to replace them with a new employee. Offensive behaviour has natural repercussions.

In fact, only an idiotic business man would turn down a paying customer…

Also, anarchists don’t have a problem with puppies.