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Privatizing Police

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24 replies to this topic

#1
Oakes

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I am fine with the concept of private security forces to do the initial retaliation when a contract is broken - for example, bouncers in bars or highway patrol - but I am completely mind-boggled as to how one could advocate privatizing police and not be an anarchist. The man I am referring to is Michael Badnarik:

Criminals are further discouraged when our tax-supported police forces are converted to private ones. For-profit police forces have great incentive to prevent crime, since apprehending criminals is costly and cuts into profits. Consequently, when Oro Valley, Arizona, brought in private police from Rural/Metro, their burglary rate dropped 95%!

Private security will do things that public police just won't do, such as checking homes when residents are out of town. Because of their focus on prevention, fewer officers are needed, and costs are less.


http://www.badnarik....plans_crime.php

Am I missing something?

#2
Selfish_Viking

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I am fine with the concept of private security forces to do the initial retaliation when a contract is broken - for example, bouncers in bars or highway patrol - but I am completely mind-boggled as to how one could advocate privatizing police and not be an anarchist. The man I am referring to is Michael Badnarik:
http://www.badnarik....plans_crime.php

Am I missing something?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


You're not missing something, but for some odd reason you dont recognise that the libertarians are mostly anarchists, in some form or matter.
If you reject the gouvernments legitimate assignments, like making sure nobody kills you, or rob you're appartment or invade you're country - you are so far from objectivism and reason that even the lable "human being" starts to fade.. :(

Libertarians and objectivists should not cooperate, aswell as no American Objectivists should vote Libertarian Party.
They worship Arafat as a freedomfighter, denounce Ayn Rand as a "collectivistic socialist" and claim that the government sholdunt do anything, and even though the whole world goes to hell with the removal of police and military - there not gonna care.

Why dont the Objectivist movement in the States form a party of there own?
We've got one in Norway, and its great for recrutational purposes!

P.S. Pardon my spelling, im a result of a welfare state school system ;)

#3
DavidOdden

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Why dont the Objectivist movement in the States form a party of there own?
We've got one in Norway, and its great for recrutational purposes!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Ka? Hvilken?

Dave Odden


#4
Oakes

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You're not missing something, but for some odd reason you dont recognise that the libertarians are mostly anarchists, in some form or matter.

Oh I certainly recognize that many of them are anarchists, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't misinterpreting it. Does anyone know anything about the Oro Valley situation he was talking about?

Why dont the Objectivist movement in the States form a party of there own?
We've got one in Norway, and its great for recrutational purposes!

There is little if any chance that the two-party system will change any time soon, so creating another fringe party won't do us much good. We can find our own little niche in the Republican Party, and do what we can to make our views more mainstream.

#5
DavidOdden

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I am fine with the concept of private security forces to do the initial retaliation when a contract is broken - for example, bouncers in bars or highway patrol - but I am completely mind-boggled as to how one could advocate privatizing police and not be an anarchist. The man I am referring to is Michael Badnarik:
http://www.badnarik....plans_crime.php

Am I missing something?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

What you're forgetting is that "police" in the context of modern socialist government extends way past its proper function. There is a quite legitimate role for private security, but in the current "government provides all" context, many people believe that preventing violations is the responsibility of the state. You surely don't hold the state responsible if you fail to lock your door (? do you?). Nor can you seriously hold that a person whose right are being violated must wait until the state police arrive to defend those rights (? do you?), and that it is wrong to hire private security guards that will assist you in your righteous defense of your life, in case you are attacked (? do you?).

The fundamental point is that there are certain uses of force which must be under a system of objective control, but that does not mean that all self-defensive actions must be relinquished to the whims of the state police (especially when their purpose is not the protection of rights). As long as the state police are willing to completely disregard their duty to protect your rights, you have the right to do what is needed to protect your rights on your own. You are not obliged to sacrifice your life for the sake of an irrational altruistic system of "laws" that puts the well-being of the mythical collective above your own right to exist (cf. for example, multiple millions of dollars of stolen taxpayer money to persecute Microsoft and myriad "inside traders", at the expense of bothering to investigate and prosecute thieves). Even in a more rational society, there is a limit on what degree of protection the state can provide: if you want to pay for protection to goes beyond the capacity of the state to provide free protection, you have the right to pay for that extra service (as long as it is within the proper limits of subcontracting one's own self defense).

Dave Odden


#6
Oakes

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What you're forgetting is that "police" in the context of modern socialist government extends way past its proper function. <snip>

I think the first paragraph in my initial post should answer all of your questions. I do recognize that private security forces are a good thing, but is that really what Badnarik is proposing? Do you intepret him as simply suggesting that we bring the police back to its proper limits? I read it literally: that our tax-supported police forces should be "converted to private ones."

As long as the state police are willing to completely disregard their duty to protect your rights, you have the right to do what is needed to protect your rights on your own.

Are you suggesting that as long as state police don't completely protect our rights, private security forces should go beyond the job of initial retaliation and become a de facto government?

#7
ex_banana-eater

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If I remember the information correctly, the police in Oro are contracted by the government. The city police force was inefficient and not preventing crime, so they openned up policing to the best contract bidder. Supposably the company police force asked for half the money of the original police, and they promised a quicker response time. For regular "baby-sitting" trips to residences they sent lower payed, paper working staff (innovation).
We are called the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had stopped with the first thing we ever invented, which was human liberty.
-Mark Twain, Foreign Critics speech, 1890

#8
JMeganSnow

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The odd thing in any Libertarian literature I've ever read is that something that performs all the functions of the government necessarily arises, and, in order to perform those functions, it must be able to use force against the citizenry . . .

Now, I'm asking, exactly how does this vary from a government? What essential difference am I missing?

I've seen one, maybe two ideas for a "system" without this pseudo-government, and they were so positively laughable that I couldn't even read them. This is largely what made me pitch Libertarianism . . . it played the, "well, in a perfect world, where everyone did this our idea would work!" card and I headed for the hills.
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#9
DavidOdden

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I do recognize that private security forces are a good thing, but is that really what Badnarik is proposing? Do you intepret him as simply suggesting that we bring the police back to its proper limits? I read it literally: that our tax-supported police forces should be "converted to private ones."

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Okay, to be more blunt, your initial statement -- "I am fine with the concept of private security forces to do the initial retaliation when a contract is broken - for example, bouncers in bars or highway patrol - but I am completely mind-boggled as to how one could advocate privatizing police and not be an anarchist" isn't carefully thought out. As I said, much of what the police do should be done by private business, so to question privatizing those particular functions is to deny fundamental principles of Objectivism. Your initial statement seems to ignore that basic overstepping of proper function, in suggesting that the police should not be privatized. You could righfully raise questions about whether the proper function of the police can be privatized, but that isn't the question you raised. Perhaps that's the question you'd rather raise.

I'm puzzled as to whether you're claiming that coercive taxation is moral just in case it is used to support state police (perhaps not since you're just quoting Badnarik, but then why focus on that particular aspect of his claim?). I think his statement about "conversion" is bizarre or misses the point -- there should not be a restriction on the security-providing function to government providers only, and the government should not compete with free enterprise in providing security services. One of two things is true: either he's actually advocating the position that enforement of law be privatized, or he hasn't thought seriously about what he said. If the latter (which I suspect), then that's just another example of sloppy LP thinking which we're totally used to by now. If the former, then he should have made the argument explicit (which he didn't do). Enforcement via private business is, in fact, consistent with Objectivism, but under carefully delineated circumstances and he didn't care to make those circumstances clear.

Are you suggesting that as long as state police don't completely protect our rights, private security forces should go beyond the job of initial retaliation and become a de facto government?

No, I think if you re-read what I said, you would see that this is not what I advocated.

Dave Odden


#10
Oakes

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If I remember the information correctly, the police in Oro are contracted by the government. The city police force was inefficient and not preventing crime, so they openned up policing to the best contract bidder. Supposably the company police force asked for half the money of the original police, and they promised a quicker response time. For regular "baby-sitting" trips to residences they sent lower payed, paper working staff (innovation).

This is interesting... I haven't considered the idea of contracting a police force. (To anyone:) Used on a wide scale, would this uphold the government's monopoly on the use of force?

Okay, to be more blunt, your initial statement <snip> isn't carefully thought out.  As I said, much of what the police do should be done by private business, so to question privatizing those particular functions is to deny fundamental principles of Objectivism.

That was my mistake - by "police," I was referring to its proper functions.

One of two things is true: either he's actually advocating the position that enforement of law be privatized, or he hasn't thought seriously about what he said. If the latter (which I suspect), then that's just another example of sloppy LP thinking which we're totally used to by now. If the former, then he should have made the argument explicit (which he didn't do). Enforcement via private business is, in fact, consistent with Objectivism, but under carefully delineated circumstances and he didn't care to make those circumstances clear.

Good, I agree with this entirely.

#11
DavidOdden

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This is interesting... I haven't considered the idea of contracting a police force. (To anyone:) Used on a wide scale, would this uphold the government's monopoly on the use of force?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes, as long as all decision to use retaliatory force are controlled by the government (specifically, the courts, for domestic matters). A private agency can implement a government decision, acting under the authority of the government. A problem would only arise if different companies took it upon themselves to use force against whoever they felt had done some wrong, without an objective determination that force is required.

Dave Odden


#12
Oakes

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Yes, as long as all decision to use retaliatory force are controlled by the government (specifically, the courts, for domestic matters). A private agency can implement a government decision, acting under the authority of the government. A problem would only arise if different companies took it upon themselves to use force against whoever they felt had done some wrong, without an objective determination that force is required.

I assume this also applies to private military forces. I remember a documentary that said the US government has used private forces to do operations that its forces were restricted from under international law.

#13
BurgessLau

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Oakes, here is a distinction that has helped my thinking about both libertarian and conservative proposals:

1. Contracting-out is (in a political context) the act of taking a present government function (proper or improper) "outside" the government in terms who administers the function direction and in terms of employees. The government, however, still sets the goals and standards; and it pays for everything through tax money.

Example: A government owns roads but contracts-out the initial construction and sometimes the later repair of them.

2. Privatizing is taking a government function and making it independent, that is, making it a private organization as proven by two essential characteristics: First, it sets its own goals and operating rules; and, second, it obtains all of its income through trade, that is, through voluntary means.

Example: A government would be privatizing if it sold a "publicly-owned" utility (such as a hydro-electric dam) to a group of investors -- without any strings attached tying the new owners to the government's goals ("power for everyone"), and without subsidizing the new enterprise with tax money or monopolistic protection.

Caveat: Actual cases of contracting-out or privatizing are often mixed cases. An example is perhaps the U. S. Post Office, which now has great freedom to set its own goals, but not complete freedom to do so, according to news reports I have seen. Plus it apparently still receives aid in the form of a ban on competition with it, in first-class mail. It is thus semi-privatized. Likewise, a government might contract-out particular functions, such as janitorial service, even in a courthouse.
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#14
Rex Little

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They worship Arafat as a freedomfighter, denounce Ayn Rand as a "collectivistic socialist"

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

("They" in the above refers to the Libertarian Party.)

Absurd. Would you care to provide an example? Possibly someone, somewhere, labeled himself a "libertarian" and said such things, but not with the sanction of the LP. A great many libertarians derived their opinions from Rand, and hold her in very high regard, despite the fact that this was (to say the least!) not reciprocated.

#15
EC

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("They" in the above refers to the Libertarian Party.)

Absurd.  Would you care to provide an example?  Possibly someone, somewhere, labeled himself a "libertarian" and said such things, but not with the sanction of the LP.  A great many libertarians derived their opinions from Rand, and hold her in very high regard, despite the fact that this was (to say the least!) not reciprocated.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Go to FreeStateProject.com a group I used to be associated with that is stocked full of Libertarians. Read their forum section. I say I used to be associated with them because I they did say many things like what were asserted above. I learned first hand that most Libertarians are nihilists and think that it is immoral for this nation to defend herself against the islamofascists. I found this view to be absurd and disgusting coming from a group of people who proport to *love* Liberty.
[The proud man] does not demand of himself the impossible, but he does demand every ounce of the possible. He refuses to rest content with a defective soul, shrugging in self-deprecation 'That's me.' He knows that that 'me' was created, and is alterable, by him.--Leonard Peikoff

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.--Thomas Jefferson

#16
Rex Little

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OK, I went to the freestateproject.com forum and browsed around awhile (I'm not about to read every post in every thread; life's too short) and didn't see anything which called Rand a socialist or Arafat a freedom fighter. Can you point to a specific post which does so?

Even if there is such a post, so what? Anyone can post anything in a forum. If I wrote here that Ayn Rand was a Zoroastrian, would that indicate anything about Objectivism? Also, Selfish Viking's original post specifically attributed those views (Rand a collective socialist, Arafat a freedom fighter) to the Libertarian Party. There's probably a fair amount of overlap between the LP and the Free State Project, but they're not the same.

#17
DavidOdden

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I assume this also applies to private military forces.

I think a better word would be "units". Private military units are also okay, as long as the units are strictly integrated into the single chain of command (so that they don't get to decide "Heck, let's invade Syria while were here", tempting as that may be). However, a private armed force of 500,000 soldiers inside the US would be a real threat, so let's take such a privatization off the table.

I remember a documentary that said the US government has used private forces to do operations that its forces were restricted from under international law.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Now first, the question of using private units when US forces are restricted under international law is somewhat of a red herring: international law has no legitimacy since at least presently we do not have a World Government. However, if the US has passed a law which prohibits a particular use of the military (and such a restriction might have been constructed at some international conference and then enacted as law by many nations, analogous to the Berne Convention on copyright), then the US government should not violate its own law. You may well argue that the US should not have passed such a law (whatever the law is, whatever the particular case is), but that doesn't excuse violating the law. However, we'd have to look at the specific law and the particular case before going any deeper into the question of whether a law was actually broken.

Dave Odden


#18
Selfish_Viking

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and didn't see anything which called Rand a socialist or Arafat a freedom fighter.  Can you point to a specific post which does so?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


-I was refering to my experience with libertarians in general.
I have little knowledge on Libertarian Party, as im not an American citizent and couldnt care less.
But the opposition in Scandinavia is massive, in Norway we have a league of libertarians under the name of "Fridemokratene", Free democrats roughly translated.
On the day Arafat died they saluted him as a freedom fighter and a great individual.

Let me take a quote; " Yassir Arafat døde fra drømmen om en palestinsk stat. Kan drømmen han delte med sitt folk likevel virkeliggjøres?"
(Translation; Yassir Arafat died from his dream of a Palestinian State. Could the dream he shared with his people still become reality?"
(www.liberaleren.no)

Conclusion to the article; "Det er på tide palestinerne blir herrer i eget hus." (Translation; Its by time the Palestinians become masters of their own house".

The libertarians of scandinavia fight for a "free" Palestinian state, and regar dthe revolt against the Israelis as legitimate.
When it comes to denouncing Ayn Rand, i'll quote from the first comment on their article regarding her hundered birthday.

"Man kan vel også legge til at det er de - inkludert meg - som i utgangspunktet har respekt for Rand's frihetsidealer, men som misliker henne fordi hun bygget opp en kult-bevegelse rundt en dogmatisk form for liberalisme."

Translation; One could also add that there are those - myself included - whom from the beginning has had a deep respect for the freedomideals of Ayn Rand, but dislikes her because she bulidt up a cult-movement around som sort of dogmatic liberalism
(Liberalism in the old sence, as an advocator of economic an personal freedom).

Thats the Libertarians i know, id would suprise me if they were any different in the States, seeing there basing there statements on the same philosphical grounds.

#19
GWDS

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Hi, I read the intros to Ayn Rand on the ARI site aswell as the Wiki articles, neither mention law enforcement. I'm guessing that the objectivist support for a public police system stems from the state's monopoly on force, but that is really very vague.

What are the proper domains of the police force? On a related note, what of the possibility of a privatised justice system?
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#20
DavidOdden

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What are the proper domains of the police force? On a related note, what of the possibility of a privatised justice system?

The use of force in a rational society is under objective control (as opposed to "used if you feel like it"). The most important requirement is that decisions as to whether force will be used needs to be under the control of an (objective) law. Thus subpoenas may only be made by the courts, similarly the decision to use force to imprison a person for a crime, or to force them to tell what they know must be under the control of the law. By is nature, the law presents the choice "Do this, or face specific consequences", so in a rational sociaty it is imperative that you know what the "do this" and the "or else" are. This means that there cannot be two or three coexisting systems of law.

The existing system of arbitration is a good model for how justice can be "privatized" in an Objectivist government. The law is the law, and arbitrarors apply the law to the case at hand. However, they are employees of private firms, not the government. They do not have the power to order the use of force, if one side disputes the findings -- if that happens, the case goes to the governmental courts (and will be upheld unless there is judicial misconduct at the lower level). The key difference is that at the level where private services are allowed / acceptable, those arbitrators (or private judges, if you prefer) do not have the right of enforcement. Enforcement, carefully and literally understood, is the key concept.

Dave Odden


#21
JMeganSnow

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Hi, I read the intros to Ayn Rand on the ARI site aswell as the Wiki articles, neither mention law enforcement. I'm guessing that the objectivist support for a public police system stems from the state's monopoly on force, but that is really very vague.

What are the proper domains of the police force? On a related note, what of the possibility of a privatised justice system?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


A slight correction: the purpose of a government is to maintain a monopoly on the use of retaliatory force; the use of force only against those that initiate its use against that government's citizens.

The terms "public" and "private" actually don't apply; "privatizing" the police force is a Libertarian position. The police force is properly a government institution, not a public or private one. Terming it a "public" institution makes it a weapon of unlimited majority rule and thus, of collectivism and statistism. Making it a "private" institution means that it may not rightfully exercise force against the citizenry, as this would defeat the government monopoly and lead to, once again, statism.

The proper domain of any police force is, just that, applying retaliatory force in the service of objective laws. In order to avoid violating anyone's rights, they are properly restricted to using the minimum force possible in order to apprehend criminals (people that initiate the use of force) so that they may be tried and sentenced.

Private security forces may exist (and frequently are very profitable) but they represent an abstract application of the right of self-defense. They do not retaliate, they defend. (I'm drawing a line between what constitutes "defensive" force and "retaliatory" force . . . defensive force ends when an immediate threat to one's person or one's property ends, however retaliatory force may include such things as forcefully entering someone's house in order to arrest them.)

Arbiters such as David suggested don't constitute a privatization of the justice system; they are able to exist only because the government provides a justice system that is imbued with the ability to wield retaliatory force. When force is removed from relations among men, peaceful settling of disputes is possible. The justice system itself cannot be privatized for the same reason that the police and the military cannot.
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#22
Jay P

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The claim that libertarians "worship Arafat as a freedom fighter" is no exaggeration at all. Anybody who thinks that it is should buy a copy of
Libertarianism - The Perversion of Liberty by Peter Schwartz and
read it.

That collection of essays is full of example quotes of prominent libertarians
supporting the PLO. And worse. And these quotes are footnoted, so
you can see for yourself who said them and go find the original sources
if you want to.

For example, one libertarian group was claiming that it was "the fighting
men and women of the PLO [who] are placing their lives on the line for
the liberation of their people from the Israeli yoke...", and later claims
that the PLO was "the overwhelming choice of the Palestinian people in
their fight for justice and property rights".[1]

He also documents libertarian assertions that the United States government
was more evil than that of the Soviet Union. (I remember this myself,
having read a long essay to that effect in the Libertarian Party newsletter,
which also contained a demand that the United States dismantle all of its
ICBM's. This was a resolution of the governing body of the Libertarian Party.)

Schwartz's essays are must reading for anybody who wonders about the
Libertarian Party and movement. Particularly anybody who admires Objectivism,
but who wonders if maybe Ayn Rand or other Objectivsts were somehow "unfair"
to the libertarians, should read the essays.

[1] Schwartz quotes this from an article entitled "Draft Program of the LP
Radical Caucus".
Jay

#23
edward j williamson

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Selfish Viking,

Libertarians and objectivists should not cooperate, aswell as no American Objectivists should vote Libertarian Party.
They worship Arafat as a freedomfighter, denounce Ayn Rand as a "collectivistic socialist" and claim that the government sholdunt do anything, and even though the whole world goes to hell with the removal of police and military - there not gonna care.

NO, we don't at all worship Arafat. Most Libertarians denounce that ugly little wart and all he stood for. I am and always have been a strong supporter of Isreal and Isreal's right to defend itself and inhabit their land. In fact, I think Isreal has been too nice to the so-called Palestinians (squatters and murderers)who murder innocent civilians, strap bombs to kids, and kill Isrealis for no other reason than that they are Jews. They should have annilhated the so-called Palestinian nation long ago. Isreal has not done anything wrong, they have made the land productive - which before 1948 was basically a wasteland, they hold free elections which even allow Arab-Isrealis to hold office and to vote, Palestinians and other Arabs living within Isreal proper enjoy a higher standard of life and more liberty than in dictatorial Arab nations - and certainly better than the West Bank or Gaza Strip.

You will not find one plank of support in the LP for a Palestinian state, and real Libertarians do not honor anything at all about Arafat. I'm not sure what you all in Norway know about Libertarianism or the LP, especially seeing as Norwegians were brought up in one of the most socialist societies in the world. I'm sure students there are as indoctrinated by government schools as our children here are - and that is a real shame.
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#24
Iakeo

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I am fine with the concept of private security forces to do the initial retaliation when a contract is broken - for example, bouncers in bars or highway patrol - but I am completely mind-boggled as to how one could advocate privatizing police and not be an anarchist. The man I am referring to is Michael Badnarik:

Criminals are further discouraged when...


http://www.badnarik....plans_crime.php

Am I missing something?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


What do you think the "Objectivist Police" would look like?

They would be specifically NOT associated with any individual or corporation, as
their only power is the policing of violations of the "trader principle", and being
paid by some entity that could be the target of your power would be a bad thing.

But who would actually pay, and therefore control, the police force?


-Iakeo

#25
AMERICONORMAN

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  • Location:Toronto, Canada
  • Real Name:Jose Gainza
I see the public police as a long term political vehicle to decrease the welfare state. In my province, Ontario, I see this as a feasible strategy. The strategy is to convince the populus, who are upset that there are not enough police on the streets, that the government is responsible. They are spending tax payers dollars on handouts and social programs, and neglecting the police, a proper function of government. "1000 homeless people got beds for the years but 20 precocious youths were murdered by gangs!" Comparisons like this should be spotlighted. There are tens of thousands of people in my province that want to be police officers. So what's the problem? The government doesn't have enough money.

Once the populace understands this and advocates increased police funding, then they must be made to realize that the criminal court system must be funded more, since more arrests will be made.

Obviously, the people need to be "taught" fundamentally on the importance of property rights. For example, a security officer can arrest a person for smoking in a prohibited area, and then refusing to leave because the offender believes he has a right to be there because he works there or something. However, the chances that the police will charge him, is not so great becuase they have "bigger fish to fry" and they are aware of our overburdened court system.

People have to made to understand the importance of an owner's wishes in the form of rules on his own property.

Just some thoughts.

Americo.

Edited by AMERICONORMAN, 15 March 2005 - 01:23 PM.

"Roark felt the wrench he had tried so often to fight ... what should have been possible and was closed to him ... Then, without reason, he thought of Dominique Francon. She had no relation to the things in his mind; he was shocked only to know that she could remain present even among these things." (The Fountainhead, pg. 222).

"... But his hands betrayed what he wanted to hide. His hands reached out, ran slowly down the beams and joints. The workers in the house had noticed it. They said: 'that guy's in love with the thing. He can't keep his hands off." (The Fountainhead, pg. 130).


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