‘Defund the Police’: A Libertarian Moment?

by | Jun 15, 2020

The time is now for American libertarians to get together and publicly broadcast “the solution.” It is my belief that almost all long-time libertarians agree on this solution with perhaps slight variations. The internal debate is mostly in the practicality of the solution, not in the principles of the idea. And the idea of course is for voluntary and private police forces to compete freely with other private police forces whose sole job is to provide conflict resolution, peace, and protection1The Law – Frederick Bastiat https://fee.org/media/14951/thelaw.pdf and audio here https://mises.org/library/law-0 instead of filling state and private prisons with people who commit victimless crimes.

Anyone of us who already has a voice in the libertarian community2This person or group thereof could be anyone like Dr. Ron Paul, Dr. Thomas E Woods, Ben Swan, Scott Horton, Dave Smith, Anyone from Cato, “L” LP, Mises, FEE, AIER etc. This person(s) can be just known in libertarian circles and or in mainstream media. Let’s discuss! , and it does not matter who, has to step up to the plate, rally up a few handfuls of other libertarians3Some of the examples that come to mind are, Adam Kokesh (Ex-Marines), Dale Brown (Detroit threat management Center), and many more.  with some police and military veterans to announce a startup or a franchise. We don’t need infrastructure, or money for that matter. A simple video and a landing page for contact information is all one would need. It is likely that upon the success of this idea, more startups will surface in the market. That’s a good thing because competition is the healthiest thing from the consumer perspective.

“How does a private police force work?” a non-libertarian or a newbie libertarian will ask. There is an incredible amount of literature already available from Murray Rothbard4https://mises.org/wire/privatize-policeto current day libertarians 5https://www.learnliberty.org/tag/police/ 6https://mises.org/search-mises?search=police,but I am going to highlight key points7It is my intent to revise this article as more relevant points are discussed amongst libertarians. below and you may do the same. Most importantly, the time is now to invite the “defund the police” movement, the skeptics, and the opposition to this discussion with our bullet proof ideas. Sure, it’s great we spend money on election campaigns, movies, and such but let us all spend $5 to advertise our policing idea to the world so we can get in the middle of the debate and offer frugal and effective solutions. Plus, it never hurts to spread the ideas of liberty.

Here are some of the key point’s below:

  • Private police will not be able to discriminate for the reasons mentioned below, therefore automatically eliminate police related racism problem. Private police will without a doubt have to practice the most civil and peaceful way to handle policing situations or they will automatically seize to exist.
  • Private police will not be involved in the state and government mandated drug war therefore automatically eliminating almost all gang-related violence.
  • Private police will not participate in federal and state level asset forfeiture and confiscation of private property. Private police will not make arrests for things like not paying vehicle registration, tax evasion and parking ticket fines etc.
  • Unlike current police system in America today, a private police department would not have a monopoly of violence. That means any American citizen will be able to opt in and out as they please as a free citizens of a truly free country.
  • “What about the poor?” they will ask. “Cell411” is an alternate, absolutely free community trust based on a self-policing system which people can adopt if they choose not to participate in the above for any reason including financial difficulty. One simply downloads the app to connect with other local community members who are already using the same app. You can try to convince your neighbors and friends in the community to do the same. Similar to life, car, and home insurance, private police will likely have multiple tier membership available for different levels of protection.
  • Technology today already exists for home security and monitoring systems. With advanced IoT, light bulb cameras provide live and censor-based property surveillance at a very low cost compared to what taxpayers have to forcefully pay now to crummy state police departments. Would you rather pay for an unreliable service with no course of accountability and repercussion or would you rather voluntarily pay a small fee for a service you can not only count on but can hold accountable as per contract?
  • Private police have to keep their customers happy in order to be profitable and to sustain themselves. Bad service means losing customers. Unlike our current system, which forces taxpayers to pay for a bad service, businesses can end up failing if they do not serve their customers.
  • It is in the interest of private police to resolve social problems without violence. Private police will be liable for the loss of a life, whether for both police officers or private citizens.
  • Private police forces will carry business and liability insurance, paid for our of their own pockets. In order to keep the premium at the minimum, they will have to run the business extremely carefully. It puts a very serious responsibility on the police force because, unlike police departments today, private police institutions will not be able to pay for the insurance claims from taxpayers’ pockets. They will have to pay for everything themselves and they understand that a lawsuit can take their business to the cleaners.
  • It is not in the interest of a private police force to arrest people for petty, victimless crimes. Private police will have to operate with limited resources and time which does not allow this business model for useless street thuggery. As previously mentioned, a private police force’s job is to provide peace and conflict resolution.
  • Private police forces will have to compete amongst each other to get customers while with current police, people don’t get a choice.
  • Multiple police forces operating in the same area will have to be civil with each other because no one in their right mind would want a lethal conflic; life is precious for all. In fact, most of the daily conflicts between the customers of the two police forces will likely be resolved before there is any need to resort to courts. Again, the liability insurance will force police forces business model to stick to most peaceful form of conflict resolution services.
  • Private police forces are encouraged to adopt the Viper/Detroit threat management center business model, and only if absolutely necessary, they may carry “SALT” (trademark) weapons instead of lethal weapons. Just because it is a libertarian belief that all life is precious and we must do everything to preserve a life, this doesn’t mean the right to self-ownership, the right to protect oneself with weapons, is negotiable.

There is a lot more that can be said in support to the above, but I realize I’d be preaching to the choir. Any one of us can hold a debate on this subject, so I would just conclude by saying this: we have done a lot of talk but the time is now to start the process and lead by example. Do not let the opportunity slip away.

Goshe King and Joe Green are co-hosts of the Angineering Tech Show. King is also associated with Muslims for Liberty and the Libertarian Party of Pakistan

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