Friday 7 August 2009

Libertarians and the police

I see that the much talked about (though yet to be seen) public sector spending cuts will probably affect the police:
SCOTLAND'S police forces have issued a stark warning that they will have to cut the number of officers unless more funding can be found.

The largest police force, Strathclyde, is facing an "absolutely dire" funding gap of up to £34.7 million in 2010-11, it said. By 2013-14, it could hit £66m.

One proposal is to charge for policing the likes of Orange Order parades:
The cost, which cannot be recovered from such organisations as they are non-profit-making, was compared with the £60,000 bill for the three recent Take That concerts at Hampden Park in Glasgow, which the event promoters met.
There's a certain degree of philosophical confusion here: everything humans do is designed to improve our lot. I fail to see why the police should differentiate between activities in which the expected benefit is expressed in monetary terms or otherwise.

In an anarcho-capitalist society things would be very straightforward. The owners of streets would decide the terms of entry, of use and of any additional charges that may be levied to police any unusual events that may be allowed.

But we don't live in an anarcho-capitalist society, unfortunately. In our state-controlled society I'm very uncomfortable with the police having powers to charge some people for their services and not others.

What we should be looking at is levying financial charges against those who break the law. Charge criminals (properly defined) with the costs of their arrest, trial and any necessary restitution to victims.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Eiran Cooper
The state possesses a monopoly of force, as it is the only actor which can justify such violence. In the Western democracies, we can justify this monopoly in that, as the Government is democratically elected, it therefore carries a mandate to exercise such restrained force for the public good. For example, to maintain a legal system requires courts, and the judgements of those courts need to be upheld, which requires a police force to arrest those who transgress them. 
The state does not always act with restraint, and there are indeed many examples of the contrary, but as a general rule a government will not be re-elected if it does not take into account public opinion, and thus it's power is not boundless.  
A corporation however has no such mandate. In an anarcho-capitalist society, there would by the nature of capitalism, rise a monopoly with that same monopoly of force, and therefore fitting the Weberian characteristics of a state. However that "state" would not be elected, and the public would have absolutely no say in what kind of activities that it engaged in. As a monopoly they would not even have the choice of boycotting it's goods or services, since they would, by definition, have no other alternative. 
Whilst there are indeed problems with Western democracy, I can cite the democratic deficit as one example, I would rather trust them with a monopoly of violence than a monopolistic corporation. After all either one of us can choose to involve ourselves with the political process at any time. The same would not be true in an anarcho-capitalist society.

10 September 2009, 21:56:20 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer
And what prevents the state from becoming a monopoly?. Better lots of little ones that one big one.

10 September 2009, 20:26:02 GMT+01:00
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Eiran Cooper
"But we don't live in an anarcho-capitalist society, unfortunately." 
An anarcho-capitalist society is niavely thought out. Without the state to prevent any corporation becoming a monopoly, that corporation would become so powerful as to become the state. A corporate monopoly with it's own army is a Weberian state, possessing a monopoly of violence. 
Like Adam Smith said "(the)price of monopoly is upon every occasion the highest which can be got." In this case, personal liberty itself.

10 September 2009, 08:59:04 GMT+01:00
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Something you should read ... 
Harriet Harman's Lies About Rape Exposed Today 

16 August 2009, 12:49:54 GMT+01:00
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Less Police? Would we actually notice?

8 August 2009, 22:24:34 GMT+01:00