Are All Cops “Authoritarian Assholes”?

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A reader took issue with my recent piece criticizing armed government workers (i.e., cops). His letter is worth dissecting because it’s typical of the Kool Aid-drinking worshipful attitude toward armed government workers that afflicts many but in particular, “conservatives” – which is strange when you stop to think about it. “Conservatives” claim to not like or trust government  – yet seem to really like heavily armed government workers.

First, the Reader Letter – with portions italicized and my response to the thing in its entirety below:

While you make some valid points, they only apply 100% in Utopia 🙂

Also, you take 2-3-X examples of bad/stupid cops and you generalize, I don’t know what you call that, but it’s not an argument. The US is a continent with north of 300 million people and tens of thousands of cops.

Not all cops are bad, authoritarians assholes etc. Not all people shot by cops are (black) angels etc.

All I ask from you is to be a little more calm and reserved until you know what happened there. I am not talking in generalities, but about 2 specific cases (see the hysteria about Zimmerman, “hands up don’t shoot” crap, another hoax inciting racial hatred/civil disobedience because it’s an electoral year).

Because, you know, what happened next? Cops being assassinated and big bro having an additional pretext to take over, right?

That’s martial law, governments thrive upon chaos. And if you play their game, just like BLM activists, you’re no better dude. BTW, I am a big fan of your website and I live in Eastern Europe-Romania.

-Chris

Dear Chris,

But cops are “authoritarian assholes” – it’s what they do that defines them. Not whether they perceive themselves as being “nice guys” who “give people breaks.”

And what do they do? They enforce the laws. Many – arguably, most – of these laws being statutory “offenses” of one kind or another that criminalize actions (or non-actions) that involve no harm to others. They are merely “violations” of “the law.”

For example: There is a stop sign at the “T” intersection a mile down the road from my place. Approaching the intersection/stop sign to make a right or left turn (onto the “cross” of the “T”) one can literally see clearly in either direction for an eighth of a mile or more. If there is no traffic, there is no need (insofar as being a safe/considerate driver) to come to a complete stop. So I don’t. But this is “illegal” – and if a cop sees me (as here) he will threaten me with physical violence and proceed to steal money from me on behalf of the state. If am not “buckled up for safety,” he will steal more of my money. If he says he “smells marijuana,” he can and probably will place me in irons (handcuffs) and take (“seize”) my vehicle as piratical booty.

“Asshole authoritarian” enough for you?

In my opinion, anyone who voluntarily (and for money) chooses to coerce or harm people who’ve done nothing to harm other people – who’ve merely “offended” a statute, with the state as “victim” – is, indeed, an “authoritarian asshole,” by definition.

We are now routinely subjected to unreasonable searches, compelled to provide evidence to be used against us, presumed guilty until we prove ourselves innocent. Our property may be taken from us without even the formality of a criminal charge being leveled against us. If we attempt to defend ourselves in any way, it constitutes “resisting” and amounts to legal pretext for beating us up or even killing us. If an “officer” claims he “feared for his safety,” we can expect to be summarily executed (see here, for example).

Just a few examples. There are many, many more.

Who is doing the enforcing of all this? Pointing guns at us? Barking orders at us?

Cops.

It’s a hard thing to come to grips with – like a bad marriage.

But it’s the reality.

I am no “leftist,” not a BLM supporter (all lives matter). And I ardently support peacekeeping. Dealing with the small handful of people in society who breach the peace by hurting other people, either by physically harming them or by harming their property. I mean people who commit physical assaults (beating someone up, rape/sexual assault, murder) and deliberate/malicious harm to property (e.g., arson, etc.)

If cops were legally restricted  to dealing with such things only  – with the small handful of people who harm other people – and left the rest of us alone – I’d be defending them even more ardently than I currently criticize them.

But then they’d be peacekeepers, not law enforcers.

It’s time to shed the fantasy that these law enforcers “serve and protect.” If they do, it is entirely incidental.

There was an excellent piece in (of all places) The Huffington Post the other day (see here) that suggested an alternative to cops – law enforcers – swarming society on the lookout for “violations.” Instead, like firemen, maybe they should wait until they’re needed – until a crime has been committed.

Not “might be.” Not because “the law” has been violated.

An actual crime – defined as an actual harm caused to an actual flesh-and-blood victim. Not “the state of Virginia” or similar nonsense.

Then – and only then – do they make an appearance.

But that would mean living in a free society rather than a police state.

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Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia.

16 COMMENTS

  1. I live in a Indiana town (that is now basically a suburb of Chicago). The town was at its population height during the late 1960’s at about 27,000. But yet the town managed to get by with “only” four or so town marshals (not elected though). The police station was a room in the town hall, which itself was a former school. As far as I know, not even a cell.

    The town recently was happy to report that the crime rate has now returned to the very low rate of crime of the 1960’s. This after spending over 10 million dollars building a new police station (replacing the one built in the 1970’s).

    Now the town has about 23,000 residents and 40 full time police. Along with a group of volunteers doing things like traffic control at parades etc.

    So the question is: why do we need so many cops now?

    I am guessing very few people got traffic tickets in town in the 1960’s.

    • Holy shit! That’s a lot of cops. The Minneapolis suburb I live in has 50K or so and 40 cops. I thought that was a lot!

      We do have a sweet SWAT-mobile, too. You guys have one of those?

      • The county has the swat team.

        And there is another town nearby with about 20,000 residents with 200 cops on the payroll.

      • I live in a small WI town (pop. just under 10,000) and we have 17 orificers. Twenty if we add the chief and 2 detectives. Makes my teeth ache.

        • I gotta wonder what sort of income people have there. West Tx. is not exactly Rodeo Drive pay wise, in fact, the pay is pretty low but living expenses are low too, not nearly as low as before 2008 when the housing market collapsed and now rent, no matter where you are is expensive.

          Most towns I’ve noticed have backed way off that 2000 budget and those droves of Tahoes are cut way back along with occifers. And truly, the crime is nearly non-existent if you don’t count victimless crime. It would probably be next to nothing without the Mexican Mafia and most of theirs is drug related, something legalizing all drugs would fairly much stop. They’d all have to go back to Mexico or for God’s sakes, get a friggin job….and that ain’t happening. Blacks and whites are fairly much crimeless.

          I was driving through Sweetwater Tx. a few months back, right after they got a new top cop. I see a pretty blue colored cop car, brand new, go through the intersection instead of the Tahoe swat mobiles that dominated for so long. The car has “To Serve and Protect” on the sides. I almost missed the light I was so stunned. Don’t remember the last time I saw it. People in these parts can’t afford the high taxes of lots of cops and won’t stand for it.

  2. Peacekeepers can’t balance a city’s budget, though. All these programs and bureaucracies aren’t going to pay for themselves.

      • The guy who wrote the article advocating the “Firefighter model” deserves a six pack of whatever he’s drinking, on me.

        His observation that cops are out looking for trouble (laws to enforce) is dead on.

        They are not – primarily – helping people. They are – primarily – hassling them over various “infractions” and “offenses” (statutory stuff; no harm done to anyone). They are, basically, armed busybodies… and no one likes busybodies.

        • They call that shit ‘proactive policing’. If you don’t do it, you get punished.

          Wait until we get the ‘pre-crime’ units up and running.

        • It’s so true, if anybody else was doing what cops do, going out “patrolling”, they would be called vigilantes. For good reason.

  3. Something to add to:
    Eric writes:
    “There was an excellent piece in (of all places) The Huffington Post the other day (see here) that suggested an alternative to cops – law enforcers – swarming society on the lookout for “violations.” Instead, like firemen, maybe they should wait until they’re needed – until a crime has been committed.

    Not “might be.” Not because “the law” has been violated.

    An actual crime – defined as an actual harm caused to an actual flesh-and-blood victim. Not “the state of Virginia” or similar nonsense.

    Then – and only then – do they make an appearance.

    But that would mean living in a free society rather than a police state.”

    This set of statements essentially confirms that the Police have become a “standing army” as discussed during the 1770-1790 period, at length, by the founders, both Federalists and Anti-Federalists.

    In essence, the police are no different from Press Gangs, who would capture/kidnap people and force them to work onboard a ship. It was a way of “staffing up” for an ocean voyage…

    Now, they take you to a for-profit prison… But the sheep still think they’re free.

    Consider – as HuffPo noted – police have NO OBLIGATION to protect you. To stop crimes against you.
    So when they are roaming – it’s not to protect anyone. It’s to FIND VIOLATORS of a statute. ANY law.
    So – if the Police make something up – “the courts will sort it out.” Except, if you miss days at work because you’re being held? Hell, if I get ARRESTED? I’m terminated.

    • And that was an “oops” post. Meant to go on.

      But Paul the Bruce stated where I was going below: The Police are serving and protecting the Statist Quo: The Powers That Be.
      Keeping us in line.

      Which actually re-confirms that they are, in fact, a standing army…

      Which logic follows:
      – We are living in a police state. Soft or Hard is difference of whether they noticed you.
      – We are therefore living in a “cold” war. And they are the enemy. Including the good ones.

      Makes me a bit conflicted; Dallas was pretty vile, but I can understand why it was done (Both as a distraction, or political theater; AND as an act of revenge.) And since we can establish reason to see ourselves as living in a war zone, the Police become legitimate targets.

      BAD situation…

  4. ‘law enforcers “serve and protect.”’ – but not ‘we the people.’ They are serving and protecting the gunvermin, and the shadows behind the gunvermin – the ones who are offering us the ‘choice’ between the Donald and Hitlery.

  5. And remember, they’re just acting “under orders,” AKA the Nuremberg defense. It’s nothing personal, just enforcing the law.

    • Eric_G,

      the Nuremberg defense — Only works until it doesn’t.

      Best most can hope for is to avoid notice. Unless one has sufficient clout, one can have their life turned upside down for the most minor reasons.

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