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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/17105/policing-for-profit/

Policing for Profit

May 26, 2011 by

Government is a gang of thieves writ large. Let’s look at the reality. FULL ARTICLE by Robert P. Murphy

{ 28 comments }

William B May 26, 2011 at 10:24 am

What I don’t understand about the privatization of national defense is this:

In order to have the best defense in the world, a military must be bigger and/or stronger than the largest military of any other country. If any given private company were to achieve this size, what would prevent it from using that force for control over the given country for the use of its people (i.e. labor) or resources, essentially replacing any form of government(s) that might have already existed?

Now, I understand that some will say “That’s what we currently have now, so what’s the difference?”, but my point is exactly that. How can you argue for the replacement of a system that the people are aware is supposed to be “of them, for them, and by them”, with one that is under private control and could, potentially, become dictatorial?

Old Mexican May 26, 2011 at 11:41 am

In order to have the best defense in the world, a military must be bigger and/or stronger than the largest military of any other country.

The Swiss would politely disagree with that, the whole armed lot.

Steve Hogan May 26, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Not only are they armed, they mind their own business. No one attacks the Swiss because they have no reason to. I’m sure that simple fact would be lost on the dim-wits running our empire from the Potomac.

Vanmind May 26, 2011 at 10:28 pm

“In order to have the best defense in the world, a military must be bigger and/or stronger than the largest military of any other country.”

Tell that to the Vietnamese, or to Afghans.

Fabian_CH May 27, 2011 at 9:46 am

Oh, I’m sure a Vietnamese or an Afghan would speak very highly of their ability to defend themselves from harm…. Or something.

Don’t mistake prolonged asymetric warfare for safety of the population!

Stefano May 26, 2011 at 10:45 am

I would argue that your first premise is flawed. A military that is purely for defensive purposes (not imperialist) doesn’t have to be the biggest and baddest. It just needs to be of sufficient size that any invading army would, at best, secure a Pyrrhic victory.

I think that’s why the idea of a militia appeals to so many; History has shown that a small force defending their homes is surprisingly effective, and far less prone to abuse of power than a standing army. I think the idea of a private military draws upon similar principles. (beholden to the local population, granted an extremely limited commission, and less likely to abuse power)

J. Murray May 26, 2011 at 11:34 am

Then again (this is one of the sticking points with me for a 100% an-cap society), Empires grow by crushing small fries. The Mongols certainly had little trouble sweeing over the anarchistic settlements and tribes of Russia, for instance. Empires didn’t just exist at the beginning of time, they grew by swallowing up and conquering societies without formal governments before they started waging war amongst each other. This is why government has become the dominant creature on the planet. Without a mechanism to completely stop a violent foreign power from doing the same thing as all their ancient cousins did to past anarchistic societies, then it’s hard to call for a purely private system and uncoordinated self-defense of home and property.

Stefano May 26, 2011 at 11:44 am

If someone seriously wanted to go that route, what could we currently do to stop them?

Stefano May 26, 2011 at 11:50 am

I share that concern.

However, there are notable examples-Afghanistan being the prime one-Of great empires being stymied by small, disorganized militia types.

Then again, a private but professional military is another alternative. In Iraq, for example, the US military routinely hires Blackwater and others to deliver goods and people to places they deem too volatile. Could that model not work on a slightly larger scale?

Daniel May 26, 2011 at 9:04 pm

I propose a business denominated “nuke insurance” that keeps ICBMs on standby if anyone messes with you.

Shay May 26, 2011 at 10:29 pm

What if this nuke insurance company messes with you?

integral May 27, 2011 at 5:56 am

Introducing nuke insurance insurance. They drop one, we drop two.

Inquisitor May 27, 2011 at 8:13 am

You hire a competitor?

Freedom Fighter May 26, 2011 at 11:28 am

There was a time in the 1940′s, 1950′s where state troopers, police, government, military, was a top down pyramidal approach and where it was seldom contested by the population and where social and family structure was orderly. Where there was pride in our institutions and for our institutions.

I feel sadness and mourning that we are witnessing the dismantlement of what was our values and role models in the past. Today’s society seems so chaotic.

In the past, the police would be courteous towards good guys and absolutely brawny towards bad guys. In our world, the police are brawny with everybody.

Times have changed and not for the better.

Marissa May 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm

1940s–the time of FDR who dismantled our Republic even worse than former presidents? Your nostalgia is based on pure economic and historical ignorance of the facts.

Freedom Fighter May 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I am not nostalgic of the mishandlings of FDR and Hoover. For the record, I am very well knowledgeable in economic and historical facts.

Did you know that in the 1920′s, Warren G. Harding brilliantly avoided a recession ?

I’m am nostalgic of a time when people were proud to belong to their country. The boyscout stuff, the yogi bear stuff etc. A time where parents and role models were more present for their kids.

Anyways, we can’t go back.

Andres May 27, 2011 at 1:21 pm

“In the past, the police would be courteous towards good guys and absolutely brawny towards bad guys.” lol… you must be new here.

my arrogant advice: take direct solutions to your perceived problems. Be a role model; evade taxes, make friends with like minded people, barbeque etc.

For some people culture is seemingly crumbling away, for others it is stronger than ever; at the end of the day, the individual acts to forge his personal associations and culture- not “society”.

Historically, when nationalism increases (especially in an empire) community and familial loyalties are weakened so I really have trouble wrapping my head around your stance.

Freedom Fighter May 26, 2011 at 11:31 am

@Stefano,

“It just needs to be of sufficient size that any invading army would, at best, secure a Pyrrhic victory.”

What if the enemy doesn’t want to invade us, what if they want to exterminate us with nuclear weapons ? In that context, you need to be able to shoot down incoming missiles or detect terrorist nuclear infiltration.

Too much is being asked of our government.

matt May 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Why would someone want to exterminate us with nuclear weapons? Who do you want to exterminate? If you don’t have that impulse why project it on others? I don’t want to kill Afghans, Pakistanis or Iraqis. I have never been there to meet or be offended by them and I highly doubt that they want to kill Matt from Waseca Minnesota who has 5 lovely children. George Bush and Barrack Obama felt the need to speak for me, Saddam for the Iraqis, etc and they rally people behind slogans but it is hard to believe that if shown a picture of Tim from Springfield Afghanistan that we would vote for his extermination. Human nature sans govt “leadership” is sufficient to stop most wars, a comptent armed populace can handle the rest. The boogey man is only as real as the storyteller makes you believe.

Freedom Fighter May 26, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I was just pointing out that this is the 21st century and that warfare is way ahead of the age of invading armies and soldier occupation. I am pointing out that the enemy could just send missiles, weapons, bombs like the USA is doing in Libya, Pakistan etc.

I am pointing out the necessity to defend against such technological threats which requires more than a mere militia.

We need to meet technology with technology. Who’s going to provide antiballistic missile defense ? A private company ? If so, who’s going to pay for those services ? You ? Me ?

Donald Rowe May 26, 2011 at 5:51 pm

FF, the “weapon” of the 21st century that is poised to wipe out the USofA is an economic trap, not military, nor any terrorist bomb. The more we spend to build bigger a “defense,” the tighter we are trapped.

Fabian_CH May 27, 2011 at 9:52 am

“Who do you want to exterminate? If you don’t have that impulse why project it on others? I don’t want to kill Afghans, Pakistanis or Iraqis.”

Unfortunately, that works only this way. Peaceful Afghans, Pakistanis, or Iraqis can hardly claim that no one is trying to kill them.

Eric May 26, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I would bet that mostly innocent people would trapped by those highway robbers. The black market, innovating like a free market would likely find ways to hide cash (or possibly gold coins) so those cops couldn’t find them.

It’s funny, this is what we used to think about driving in Mexico; worried about the cops extorting Americans. I wonder if these cops have to show their stinkin’ badges.

Pretty soon we’re going to have to find some Mexicans who can smuggle Americans across the board into freedom in Mexico. Those fences on the boarder will turn out to be used to keep us here, like the Berlin Wall.

Freedom Fighter May 26, 2011 at 5:11 pm

“Pretty soon we’re going to have to find some Mexicans who can smuggle Americans across the board into freedom in Mexico.”

Mexico has killed 40,000 people in a drug war over the span of 3 years and that is intensifying. Drug cartels are threatening to kill foreigners should the USA ever send troops to aid the anti drug war.

Going to Mexico is dangerous for your life. You better stay in the USA, it’s still freer and safer than Mexico anyways and the war on drugs and the butchery is intensifying.

Steve May 26, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Good point. Although, it does make me wonder how many our government and our cartels kill and imprison every year in our drug war.

John James May 28, 2011 at 3:06 am

If this doesn’t make you sick, nothing will.

Arizona Cops Shoot Former Marine In Botched Pot Raid:

The police opened fire, releasing more than 70 rounds in about 7 seconds, at least 60 of which struck Guerena. He was pronounced dead a little over an hour later.[...] Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told Arizona Daily Star columnist Josh Brodesky that he may never release the search warrants and police affidavits.[...]

“Those are the real sensitive parts of why we are having difficulty with trying to put information out publicly–because we don’t want somebody getting killed,” Dupnik said.

Dan May 28, 2011 at 10:14 am

Nice article, Bob. As a side note for folks that are interested in pursuing this topic, Rothbard’s “Ethics of Liberty” is also a great resource.

Keith May 28, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Also check out Robert H Churchill’s
“To shake their guns in the tyrant’s face; a history of libertarian violence in the US

Although he is not writing from an Austrian perspective, and covering a lot of ground from the 18th century up to the present, he does a pretty good job of cataloguing the present paramilitarization of policing and describing the various strands of libertarian and collectivist groups which the MSM lump together as “militia”.

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