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.