Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Law And Its “Enforcers”

     Over at Ace’s place, Oregon Muse reminds us of this incisive article about police and policing from Angelo Codevilla. The entire article is worth reading, as is always the case with Codevilla, but here’s the Sunday punch:

     What then shall we do with and about the police? Reality imposes certain principles.

     First, trust them only insofar as you pay them, can hire and fire, or frighten them. Otherwise, realize that they will serve whomever pays them....

     Second, take a lesson from those videos of the police standing aside. They didn’t protect the mobs simply because they were so ordered. They did it also because they were physically frightened by the mob’s use of a variety of weapons against them, as well as by the prospect of lawsuits and attacks on them and their families....

     Third, police yourselves. Call it self-defense groups, neighborhood protection, vigilantes, friends, anything but “militias.” But the essence is the same: rely on yourself and on people who have known each other for a long time—no infiltrators, please—united and armed to take care of themselves as they think best.

     We might call the first of the above prescriptions “Littlefinger’s Law:”

     The overriding importance of that effect is well established. In combination with the second prescription, it constitutes the heart of Public Choice theory: the supremacy of personal and familial interests over notions of public duty.

     The third prescription merely follows from the previous two...if, that is, communities want policing of any sort, given the complexities and consequences that attend it.

     Oregon Muse adds this:

     [W]hat this means is that, ultimately, the police are not your friend. When you most need them, odds are they won't be there. Also, you'd better be real careful how you talk to them. And I'm talking about just the local constabulary, don't get me started on the FBI....

     I'll go back to the point I keep hammering on, and it is this: the reason we are in this situation is that for the most part, we have lost the most important government there is: self-government. If each on of us can't govern ourselves, can't control ourselves, no amount of external government is going to work.

     True – as far as it goes. But it omits the recognition that even in the most virtuous societies there will be lawbreakers, predators, and the shiftless. Someone must deal with such miscreants. In today’s America, they tend to be sheltered – protected from the appropriate penalties for their actions – by their families and identity-group fellows. If there is no public nor quasi-public institution to take them in hand, what then?

     Some people call this a refutation of the libertarian ideal. I don’t see it that way. Even the freest possible society must have a way to deal with predators. Even if there’s a “best method,” and if we can work out what it is, no social arrangement is indefinitely stable – and that includes arrangements for law enforcement.

     The problem is stiff, and it won’t go away.


John Henry Eden said...

I found Codevilla's reference to enemy [Tribe] very interesting.

Francis W. Porretto said...

It can take me a while to work past my own inhibitions and accept that what is being said in a comment really is as vile as it seems. But I always get there eventually.

Gentle Readers, this "John Henry Eden" guy -- apparently he's borrowed the name of a character from the "Fallout" video games, rather than travel under his real name -- is an anti-Semite. That's something I won't have here. Accordingly, the comment above is the last you'll see from him at Liberty's Torch.

excitedVulcan said...

Thanks for keeping a clean house, Francis! Good article.