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Friday, December 05, 2014

The deadly danger of the law

Stephen Carter points out how America's legalistic culture is intrinsically dangerous:
On the opening day of law school, I always counsel my first-year students never to support a law they are not willing to kill to enforce. Usually they greet this advice with something between skepticism and puzzlement, until I remind them that the police go armed to enforce the will of the state, and if you resist, they might kill you.

I wish this caution were only theoretical. It isn’t. Whatever your view on the refusal of a New York City grand jury to indict the police officer whose chokehold apparently led to the death of Eric Garner, it’s useful to remember the crime that Garner is alleged to have committed: He was selling individual cigarettes, or loosies, in violation of New York law.

The obvious racial dynamics of the case -- the police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, is white; Garner was black -- have sparked understandable outrage. But, at least among libertarians, so has the law that was being enforced. Wrote Nick Gillespie in the Daily Beast, “Clearly something has gone horribly wrong when a man lies dead after being confronted for selling cigarettes to willing buyers.” Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, appearing on MSNBC, also blamed the statute: “Some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes, so they’ve driven cigarettes underground by making them so expensive.”

The problem is actually broader. It’s not just cigarette tax laws that can lead to the death of those the police seek to arrest. It’s every law.
This is an aspect of "there oughtta be a law" that is seldom considered. The police can, and will, kill anyone in pursuit of their law enforcement orders. And, as is now eminently clear, it doesn't matter what that law is. It can be anything from jaywalking to selling Beanie Babies without the proper license.

The law, and law enforcement, are a very blunt hammer, and it's simply not possible for either to be utilized in the delicately fine-tuned, precision manner that most people envision when they suggest using them for the purposes of petty behavioral modification.

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133 Comments:

Blogger Ghost December 05, 2014 1:14 PM  

This was the argument that convinced me to favor legalization of all drugs. I wouldn't shoot someone to stop them from destroying their own life. If I won't do it, I've no business asking others to do it in my place.

Anonymous Stickwick December 05, 2014 1:17 PM  

The law, and law enforcement, are a very blunt hammer, and it's simply not possible for either to be utilized in the delicately fine-tuned, precision manner that most people envision when they suggest using them for the purposes of petty behavioral modification.

Maybe I'm naive, but it seemed like this wasn't such a problem back in the good old days when the police saw themselves, and were seen by others, as an intrinsic part of the community, with ties to the people they were ostensibly protecting. Like, the kind of cops who would've told Eric Garner to knock it off and move along or even to just be more discrete about what he was doing. Now it's like they're an outside force managing a hostile entity.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 December 05, 2014 1:18 PM  

This is where many conservatives and those left of them get it wrong. They believe that to think like this is anarchist and that moral laws are just as good as criminal laws.

It's not anarchist thinking apparently. It appears to be reality thinking. Every law, mandate, or policy is backed by the threat of death at the hands of the enforcers of said laws.

Blogger jimmy-jimbo December 05, 2014 1:23 PM  

Why not follow the Obama example? Stop enforcing laws via executive order. Use more prosecutorial discretion. Or finally, repeal outdated laws.

Yet, that must be balanced with more regulations that equally have the force of law. Government agencies regularly enforce regulations with the force of law.

In California, we just passed a propostion that turned many crimes into misdemeanors, yet misdemeanors are still considered law. There is no easy solution to not getting confronted by the police. It seems like black people in general get in trouble because they are trouble. This may be the bottomline.

Anonymous Will Best December 05, 2014 1:27 PM  

This was the argument that convinced me to favor legalization of all drugs. I wouldn't shoot someone to stop them from destroying their own life. If I won't do it, I've no business asking others to do it in my place.

I would shoot them if the alternative is to pay for them destroying their own life as I do now.

Anonymous Crude December 05, 2014 1:28 PM  

Speaking of laws and enforcement, I see the Frat Gang Rape that Totally Happened because a Culture of Rape turns out to be so full of shit that even Rolling Stone has backed off.

Anonymous Will Best December 05, 2014 1:34 PM  

Maybe I'm naive, but it seemed like this wasn't such a problem back in the good old days when the police saw themselves, and were seen by others, as an intrinsic part of the community

Another fine benefit of multiculturalism for you.

This is where many conservatives and those left of them get it wrong. They believe that to think like this is anarchist and that moral laws are just as good as criminal laws.

The problem isn't that there are moral laws. The problem is that those moral laws are codified and enforced by the police state. In a homogenous society where social ostracization can be used to enforce a moral code and enhance the harmony.

Anti-discrimination laws have been used to great effect to demolish the moral code. Now, after three generations, the result is wide spread societal autism.

Anonymous SJW Patrol December 05, 2014 1:36 PM  

But cigarettes are evil.

Blogger Robin Nichols December 05, 2014 1:43 PM  

I have no pity for any misfortune that befalls blacks. They are our enemy.

Anonymous fish December 05, 2014 1:46 PM  

....AND BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/12/05/rolling-stone-retracts-uva-story/19954293/

Blogger Josh December 05, 2014 1:55 PM  

I would shoot them if the alternative is to pay for them destroying their own life as I do now.

No one is stopping you from doing that.

You could also start killing everyone on social security.

Blogger Josh December 05, 2014 1:56 PM  

I have no pity for any misfortune that befalls blacks. They are our enemy.

Define "our"

Blogger jdwalker December 05, 2014 1:58 PM  

I generally am in agreement with the idea that law enforcement is out of control, but I find it hard to follow the line of reasoning that every law should be considered through the lens of whether you are willing to kill for it. The post makes the point that many laws are passed with the assumption that they will be enforced in a certain manner, but I also think they are passed with assumptions about how people will react to that enforcement. I admit that I do find it hard to sympathize with many of the "victims" of overly aggressive law enforcement when they seem to bring it on themselves. And I admit that I do find it easier to sympathize with police officers that are charged with enforcing the law, sometimes under unknown and dangerous conditions, and would like nothing more than someone to quickly comply so they can move on to other things. And I'm not advocating simply complying with everything a police office asks of you, but many of the cases where we are expected to sympathize with someone that is receiving overly aggressive police tactics is where things could have gone very differently if the person would have behaved differently. Ultimately, there are plenty of examples of police behaving badly, and the ones that seem to get highlighted, such as this Garner case, are not the ones I would pick to rely on for arguments about law enforcement needing to change.

Blogger Josh December 05, 2014 2:03 PM  

but I find it hard to follow the line of reasoning that every law should be considered through the lens of whether you are willing to kill for it

Would you be willing to have someone else do the killing?

Blogger Josh December 05, 2014 2:05 PM  

The problem isn't that there are moral laws. The problem is that those moral laws are codified and enforced by the police state. In a homogenous society where social ostracization can be used to enforce a moral code and enhance the harmony.

Nice bait and switch, going from "moral laws" to "moral code"...

Anonymous Daniel December 05, 2014 2:06 PM  

Maybe I'm naive, but it seemed like this wasn't such a problem back in the good old days when the police saw themselves, and were seen by others, as an intrinsic part of the community, with ties to the people they were ostensibly protecting. Like, the kind of cops who would've told Eric Garner to knock it off and move along or even to just be more discrete about what he was doing.

In the good old days, selling loose cigarettes was not only not illegal, but because they weren't taxed into the ground, doing so wasn't even a reasonable market offer. In other words, you have the combo platter of bad laws, bad tax, and a gunman to enforce it, whose job security is tied to those revenue sources.

In the old days, you only had the gunman, and the police budget was not viewed for its growth potential, and quite a number of these nervous twitch laws that hadn't even been conceived. It is remarkable how few laws a free and moral country really has...and how many (and typically contradictory) laws a fallen one has.

Make cigs illegal - they are bad for you and costing us in medicare - but make sure you buy plenty because we need the tax revenue - and oh wait our economy relies on health care workers, so smoke more so we can divert funding to areas of emphasis.

Add one cop to that poison, and voila - soft and cuddly, warm and cozy voluntary martial law.

Anonymous Um December 05, 2014 2:10 PM  

The obvious racial dynamics of the case -- the police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, is white; Garner was black -- have sparked understandable outrage.

Um, the "obvious" racial dynamic becomes not so obvious when you bother to mention that there was a BLACK FEMALE SERGEANT standing there watching the white officers do their jobs.

Blogger Josh December 05, 2014 2:16 PM  

Ultimately, there are plenty of examples of police behaving badly, and the ones that seem to get highlighted, such as this Garner case, are not the ones I would pick to rely on for arguments about law enforcement needing to change.

Then pick another one. There are hundreds of examples.

OpenID tacticaltoolbox December 05, 2014 2:17 PM  

The nature of law systems is that rebellion to the tiniest infraction and resistance to the punishment is total rebellion to the system. Toleration of outlaws is the collapse of any legal system. The issue isn't so much, "what rules/laws are worth killing over?" as it should instead rightly be reframed, "who has the right to make rules worth killing over?"

The Ten Commandments address this issue in two of the provisions. The first declares the rightness of God and His absolute authority, (obviously absolute authority in law as He is dropping the Ten right there). The sixth, He declares absolute authority over life and the right to legislate killing. In light of these, it is right to conclude man has no authority to legislate and certainly has no power to back up his rules with a death penalty.

Anonymous Athor Pel December 05, 2014 2:19 PM  

"On the opening day of law school, I always counsel my first-year students never to support a law they are not willing to kill to enforce. "


Better would be to counsel those students to never support a law they would not be willing to die for.

Anonymous Daniel December 05, 2014 2:20 PM  

Wake up jdwalker. People's restrained dogs are being shot, completely innocent families are recieving no-knock raids, traffic stops for seat belt violations are ending in smashed windows and terrified children.

Wake up, or bend over, but our laws are enforced by armed men who are not even charged with murder when they commit it, and if you think that's its about "a few bad cops" you are blind. It isn't about the cops. They could all be the best guys in the universe, and it would still be an increasingly corrupt and diabolical system.

Blogger Ghost December 05, 2014 2:22 PM  

Will, if you're talking about the medical costs (honestly, I'm not sure what other way you could be forced to pay for them if the drugs are legal), are you willing to shoot people who eat too much McDonald's, who smoke cigarettes, who drink alcohol to excess, or other people who live unhealthy lives?

I'm still not sure how overdosing in a bathtub costs anyone anything other than the guy dying.

Blogger Ghost December 05, 2014 2:25 PM  

Also, if you're not willing to kill in order to collect money for the state, taxes are logically immoral, and you won't be paying for anyone's addictions anyhow.

Anonymous Stickwick December 05, 2014 2:28 PM  

Daniel: In the good old days, selling loose cigarettes was not only not illegal, but because they weren't taxed into the ground, doing so wasn't even a reasonable market offer. In other words, you have the combo platter of bad laws, bad tax, and a gunman to enforce it, whose job security is tied to those revenue sources.

Absolutely. But we've always had two of the ingredients from the combo platter, so I seriously wonder if the ingredient most in need of refreshing is the last one. The following is a dweeby example, I admit, but it probably was not far from reality once upon a time.

There was an episode of The Andy Griffith Show where, IIRC, Sheriff Taylor was out of town, so Barney Fife was in charge. Fife took it upon himself to strictly enforce the speed limit on a particular stretch of road that his boss had always neglected, with disastrous results. It turned out there was a reason the sheriff neglected it, which was that the local delivery trucks couldn't build up enough speed to get up a difficult hill if they observed the speed limit. The sheriff saw it as an unreasonable law, so he just refused to enforce it. One gets the sense that back in ye good olde days, a policeman who was a bonafide member of his community would often look at a law he considered a stupid waste of time -- like a proscription against selling individual cigarettes to other consenting adults -- and just refuse to enforce it. Or, if he had to at least attempt to enforce it, it certainly wouldn't have been done with anything close to lethal force.

Anonymous Mudz December 05, 2014 2:28 PM  

The law, and law enforcement, are a very blunt hammer, and it's simply not possible for either to be utilized in the delicately fine-tuned, precision manner that most people envision when they suggest using them for the purposes of petty behavioral modification.

Did you mean me? Because I don't think exile falls under that category.

I actually think the law is over-bloated. If you can't memorise it, then how can anyone be expected to live by it? The fact that we need professional lawyers just to navigate it is pretty damning.

Blogger Jemison Thorsby December 05, 2014 2:31 PM  

It's a simple equation: Goverment = force = possibility of death.

Blogger David December 05, 2014 2:33 PM  

You're more likely to do hard time in prison for tax evasion than for committing sexual assault while armed with a knife.

Also, since the full weight of federal law is not just acts of Congress but also everything in published in the Federal Register as well as case law established in Federal Courts, the true volume of (often directly contradictory) laws under which Americans now live would doubtlessly fill a medium-sized public library.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 December 05, 2014 2:34 PM  

The fact that we need professional lawyers just to navigate it is pretty damning.

Not even lawyers can properly navigate it.

Anonymous Stickwick December 05, 2014 2:37 PM  

Mudz: I actually think the law is over-bloated. If you can't memorise it, then how can anyone be expected to live by it? The fact that we need professional lawyers just to navigate it is pretty damning.

Well said.

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 05, 2014 2:38 PM  

I generally am in agreement with the idea that law enforcement is out of control, but I find it hard to follow the line of reasoning that every law should be considered through the lens of whether you are willing to kill for it.

It's really not that complicated. Let's say you violate a law and get caught. Pick your own: you shot an animal out of season, you didn't file all your government paperwork properly, you threw some trash into a ditch behind your house and the EPA spotted it in a flyover. You're presented with some sort of court charge or arrest. At the first visit, the government functionary who appears at your door might not even be armed, and things might be totally friendly. But if you don't appear and pay up, things will steadily get less friendly, and eventually there will be armed men at your door, and if you don't go peacefully, they will shoot you.

Now, some will object and say you're not being shot for killing a squirrel out of season, but for contempt of court, resisting arrest, etc. That's true; if you'd been an obedient little citizen and caved in sooner, you wouldn't have gotten shot. But it was the initial minor-seeming crime that got you in the system and started the process. The more such laws there are, the more people will be caught up in that process, and the more often cops will end up killing someone who took a stand over what was initially no big deal.

So, any time you're thinking to yourself, "There oughta be a law," ask yourself, "Am I okay with killing someone who decides to take a stand against my position on this, or who just gets caught up in a spiral of 'lawlessness' after violating my law?"

Anonymous Cranberry December 05, 2014 2:40 PM  

OT, but Rolling Stone is apologizing for the UVA story. http://news.yahoo.com/rolling-stone-uva-rape-story-retraction-180722194.html

The reporter, as expected, couldn't care less that her story was bullshit: "Erdley, who had been criticized for relying on a single source and not contacting the men accused of rape, said she stood by her reporting.

“I am convinced that it could not have been done any other way, or any better,” Erdley told the New York Times. “I am also not interested in diverting the conversation away from the point of the piece itself.”

Blogger David December 05, 2014 2:40 PM  

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Felonies-Day-Target-Innocent/dp/1594035229

The purpose of judges in English Law was to "discover" the law, i.e., to figure out how to apply reason to conflicts that had not previously arisen.

The problem is that words are abstractions for actual underlying concepts and things, not the concepts or things themselves. This is why no written constitution stands in the way of determined adversaries. They simply redefine the words as they go. This, in the end, is why people always get the (political) government to which they consent (and often deserve. As Mencken said, "democracy is the idea that the people should get the government they deserve, and they deserve to get it good and hard.")

Blogger pyrrhus December 05, 2014 2:41 PM  

Profoundly true. A 96 year old man with Alzheimer's was killed by police when he failed to heed their orders while walking around--which of course he could not even comprehend.

Blogger pyrrhus December 05, 2014 2:42 PM  

I forgot to mention--this was in my home town in IL.

Blogger Josh December 05, 2014 2:56 PM  

Better would be to counsel those students to never support a law they would not be willing to die for.

I disagree, because most of the "there outta be a law" types don't believe that they would ever violate the law they are clamoring for.

The moms who support the war on drugs would never actually do hard narcotics themselves, you see.

Blogger Thordaddy December 05, 2014 3:02 PM  

The only thing we really learn from these events is that the cops are really, really soft on black man until the day he winds up dead.

Blogger IM2L844 December 05, 2014 3:05 PM  

The problem is that words are abstractions for actual underlying concepts and things, not the concepts or things themselves.

"It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is." ~ Bill Clinton

Anonymous John Regan December 05, 2014 3:06 PM  

This, of course, is the only sensible argument in favor of legal abortion.

If we stipulate that there are some abortions that are justifiable and then consider how tragic those situations are and contemplate leaving the discretion to prosecute, or not, to some low level assistant district attorney, you might fairly conclude that the better course is to not involve "law enforcement" at all.

Where things surely go off the rails is when the SCOTUS declares abortion a "constitutional right", and even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has come to regret that decision.

I'm not saying that I think abortion should have been decriminalized either. I'm just saying that at least from this perspective there is a sensible argument - unlike, say, the argument that the fetus is not a person, which is so obviously contrived.

Blogger Danby December 05, 2014 3:07 PM  

@Ghost,
How about the $300 or more a day that a good junkie has to come up with to feed his addiction. You realize where that money usually comes from, right?

Some 10 years ago, my wife's best friend was killed by a drunk driver. His blood alcohol level was .24 and he was so drunk he was literally unable to walk. He hit her head-on at a speed the police estimated as in excess of 110 MPH. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison for vehicular homicide, of which he served 58 weeks.

At the district court the same day as his trial was a fellow charged with registering his car in Oregon to avoid the onerous Washington state car tab tax. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. I'm not sure how much of that was served.

Which was the greater crime?

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 05, 2014 3:10 PM  

"Good old days" policing was corrupt because the citizens liked it that way - and they were homogeneous enough that it made sense to say that "they" had a single opinion on the matter.

Example: an old-time policeman makes his morning rounds. In some places he checks out sheds, garages and even basements, letting himself in in the dark with keys the owners have given him. They do this, because it never occurs to them that he could bust them for any of the many code violations or petty bits of law-breaking he inevitably sees. It never occurs to him either. In some places there are gifts from time to time, and thank-you notes, especially on holidays. In one place there's always a hot breakfast left to warm in the stove over-night. Pure bribery of course, and as such highly illegal and unethical. Tasty too - and socially necessary. If he didn't eat up, people would wonder if he didn't like them anymore.

A job like that could be a sort of paradise, if the cop didn't have an ambitious itch. All quantities would be known quantities and regular law-breakers like lead-foot kids with their Mad Max-modified trucks would have their excuses off by heart. A crime wave could be stopped by wandering over to the farm where someone's stupid daughter had wept her way into her parents letting her "true love" and his equally light-fingered friends move in, and telling all the outsiders to push off. The old-fashioned cop doesn't think he needs a law that lets him say that. Nobody in town, including the justice of the peace at the post office, thinks he needs a law for that either.

Later in his career, in a big city, that same policeman would be drawing a hard line against all such corruption, negligence and bias. Also against sexism, homophobia, racism and anything that might accept the upward curve of his career. Tacit tolerance for a culture of police corruption in much more serious matters would of course not harm his career. Quite the contrary.

Sheriff Sam Carney in the movie A History of Violence, with zero interest in bringing the full wrath of the law to bear on familiar town-folk who never cause him any trouble, is a pretty good fictional representation of an old-style cop.

The predator pack that killed Eric Garner was operating on quite a different model, one with an eagerness to escalate, a contempt for "civilians" and a habitual dishonesty that makes every official act a court-wise pantomime of following the rules while in fact manifesting a callous and reckless disregard for human dignity and human life.

OpenID malcolmthecynic December 05, 2014 3:11 PM  

Speaking of laws and enforcement, I see the Frat Gang Rape that Totally Happened because a Culture of Rape turns out to be so full of shit that even Rolling Stone has backed off.

Twitter from some feminist named Roxanne Gay:

What Rolling Stone has done is ensure that victims continue to stay silent.

Facts be damned. There's a narrative to support here. Get with the problem or you're evil.

Blogger SirHamster December 05, 2014 3:12 PM  

I generally am in agreement with the idea that law enforcement is out of control, but I find it hard to follow the line of reasoning that every law should be considered through the lens of whether you are willing to kill for it.

Go straight to the worst case scenario. Someone WILL NOT obey the law, so what will you do to enforce it?

The State WILL resort to Kill, because that's its ultimate power. Sometimes that is the appropriate solution. But when death isn't appropriate, then the State shouldn't get involved, as far as we have a say over what the State does.

It also does no good to legislate a "gentler" penalty - because what if the person refuses to pay the fines or go to jail voluntarily? The State needs to maintain its authority - so it must defeat the challenge - which again goes back to death as its final solution.

OpenID malcolmthecynic December 05, 2014 3:19 PM  

Would you kill somebody for tax evasion? Would you kill somebody for shoplifting candy at a convenience store?

Should either of those be illegal?

I might be willing to punish somebody for something without wanting them dead.

That's not to say, mind you, that the system isn't corrupt. But I think the "would you kill for it" principle is too strict.

Blogger David December 05, 2014 3:22 PM  

"The moms who support the war on drugs would never actually do hard narcotics themselves, you see."

No, but their sons (and possibly even daughters) may. What goes around comes around. It isn't *entirely* IQ 70-90 blacks (and a few whites) doing hard drugs and hard time.

Blogger David December 05, 2014 3:23 PM  

IIRC, a man whose first contact with the cops was for primary enforcement of a seatbelt violation ended the contact by dying of lead poisoning.

Blogger David December 05, 2014 3:26 PM  

"The State needs to maintain its authority - so it must defeat the challenge - which again goes back to death as its final solution. "

Are your familiar with Bastiat's definition of the state? I'm always fascinated by the religious notion of the state, how a monopoly organization of (fallible) men can be elevated to the status of an unquestionable Earthy God, to be worshiped and obeyed like few Christians or Muslims would obey Christ or Mohammad.

Anonymous Daniel December 05, 2014 3:28 PM  

That's not to say, mind you, that the system isn't corrupt. But I think the "would you kill for it" principle is too strict.

You are missing something quite big:

tax evasion should not even be a crime. The punishment for failing to pay a tax would be to pay the tax. This is because taxation should be simple to understand, low, flat and unobtrusive.

Shoplifting is currently illegal and currently carries the death penalty, depending on the choice made by the gunman enforcing the law at that hour.

It isn't "would you kill" but "are you willing to kill?" That is the big difference. The law prof isn't saying things should be just so, he is identifying how serious our laws are in reality right now.

Right now, because as a citizen you support financially your local police force, your money absolutely supports laws, including shoplifting, that you have authorized the potential death penalty for.

This is not mental gymnastics. It is how it works. You want to make laws less deadly? Disarm the police.

There ought to be a -- d'oh!

Blogger David December 05, 2014 3:31 PM  

Cops killing (over trivial laws, puked out by the truckload each year), abortion-on-demand, endless foreign occupations & warfare, all of it is nothing but signs and symptoms of a civilization in a death spiral, obsessed with death and nihilism.

I must conclude that most humans absolutely need the guidance of an organized religion; the problem is that just as with written constitutions, humans are the ones doing the interpreting. I often wonder if priests and ministers of Christian churches realize for which "team" they're playing when they extol the virtues of the political state and its endless wars?

OpenID malcolmthecynic December 05, 2014 3:32 PM  

The punishment for failing to pay a tax would be to pay the tax.

And if you don't have that money when they figure out you can't?

Although actually, I agree in theory.

Shoplifting is currently illegal and currently carries the death penalty, depending on the choice made by the gunman enforcing the law at that hour.

But if a twelve year old shoplifted a candy bar, I would enforce the law. I just wouldn't if it meant I'd have to kill him. For that matter, is it really legal to shoot somebody who is taking your stuff but is no immediate threat? I doubt it.

Blogger David December 05, 2014 3:33 PM  

Regarding the non-gang rape at UVA: "In the months Erdely spent reporting the story, Jackie neither said nor did anything that made Erdely, or Rolling Stone's editors and fact-checkers, question Jackie's credibility. Her friends and rape activists on campus strongly supported Jackie's account."

Rape Activists. The entire sham summed in two words.

OpenID malcolmthecynic December 05, 2014 3:34 PM  

Also,

You want to make laws less deadly? Disarm the police.

I like Vox's (I believe) idea of subjecting policemen to the same gun laws as everybody else.

Blogger SirHamster December 05, 2014 3:36 PM  

Are your familiar with Bastiat's definition of the state? I'm always fascinated by the religious notion of the state, how a monopoly organization of (fallible) men can be elevated to the status of an unquestionable Earthy God, to be worshiped and obeyed like few Christians or Muslims would obey Christ or Mohammad.

No, I'm not. Sounds like a theory of good government, as opposed to an observation of what it does. I'm all for a limited government, which is limited from abusing that power to kill. But a government is all about killing the "wrong" people, whether it's invaders, criminals, or just innocent members.

If you don't like this description of government, please point me to a government in history that hasn't relied on the power of the sword to enforce its authority. I hypothesize any examples you can find, were exterminated by a government that did.

Blogger Josh December 05, 2014 3:38 PM  

The only thing we really learn from these events is that the cops are really, really soft on black man until the day he winds up dead.

The police had arrested garner thirty times.

You're wrong.

Anonymous RedJack December 05, 2014 3:40 PM  

OT: Obama thinking of sanctions on Israel.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/12/05/obama-officials-mum-on-reports-white-house-weighing-sanctions-on-israel/

Blogger SirHamster December 05, 2014 3:40 PM  

tax evasion should not even be a crime. The punishment for failing to pay a tax would be to pay the tax. This is because taxation should be simple to understand, low, flat and unobtrusive.

What?

*government agent knocks at a house's door*

*a man opens the door*

"Mr Smith, you have failed to pay your taxes. You are hereby punished by being told to pay your taxes, along with an additional tax penalty."

"Fuck off"

*man slams door in agent's face*

Now what?

Blogger SirHamster December 05, 2014 3:41 PM  


The police had arrested garner thirty times.


You'd think all of that experience would have conditioned him better.

Anonymous Will Best December 05, 2014 3:42 PM  

Will, if you're talking about the medical costs (honestly, I'm not sure what other way you could be forced to pay for them if the drugs are legal), are you willing to shoot people who eat too much McDonald's, who smoke cigarettes, who drink alcohol to excess, or other people who live unhealthy lives?

I am not paying for the crackwhore's children because she couldn't be bothered to use birth control while she is turning tricks for blow? A child which is almost certainly suffering from some sort of birth defect or learning disability as a result of her actions? I don't pay for her ER visits? She isn't in section 8 housing? On SNAP? The image that somebody is just going to fire up a joint at the end of their shift on Friday instead of grabbing a cold one is all well and good but a large percentage of drug users are nonfunctional.

Its interesting you should mention tobacco though. First, its a lie that smokers cost more unless you completely discount the entirety of the sin tax, and the 500 billion profit skimming the states engaged in about 20 years ago. But smokers are obligated by Obamacare to pay more for their health insurance. Which is exactly how it should be done. Your height to waist ratio should affect your premiums. If you stick your dick in another man's ass it should affect your premiums. Recreational drug use? Contact/Extreme Sports? increase the premiums.

And the on the public safety net side of things... what public safety net?

A libertarian society is all well and good, but while you can say "don't have laws you aren't willing to kill to enforce" the flip side is also true. If somebody's behavior causes them to die on the street, you should be willing to watch them die.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 December 05, 2014 3:54 PM  

Will Best,

A truly libertarian society would not require you to pay for other people's bad habits. They would have to support it themselves entirely.

And a libertarian society does allow for charity.

You really shouldn't criticize an it based on how things are right now. Right now we have a Fascist/Socialist society where nearly everything you do is subject to government regulation and restriction.

The idea is that we stop total government coercion and try and get it to focus only on major crimes.

Blogger Thordaddy December 05, 2014 3:55 PM  

What? You're point proves my point. Garner had been arrested 31 previous times. Yet, he was free until arrest attempt 32.

Anonymous Feh December 05, 2014 3:55 PM  

@Sir Hamster,

"Now what" -- they garnish your salary, evict you from the house, and sell it to pay your taxes.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 December 05, 2014 3:56 PM  

@Feh

And if you refuse to leave your house?

Anonymous Feh December 05, 2014 3:56 PM  

You want to make laws less deadly? Disarm the police.

You want to have no effective laws, i.e. laws that only sheep obey but wolves ignore? Disarm the police.

Anonymous Feh December 05, 2014 3:58 PM  

The punishment for failing to pay a tax would be to pay the tax.

And if you don't have that money when they figure out you can't?


There is an existing process for this. They examine your assets and potential future income. If they decide you can't pay because you are old and bankrupt, for example, pretty much nothing happens to you. Theoretically they can take your social security but I don't think they do that in practice very often.

Blogger Thordaddy December 05, 2014 4:01 PM  

In other words, IF you had been arrested 31 times, but are still free to roam in public, can you honestly claim that the cops had been tough on you?

What is the arrest threshold before one doesn't get to roam in public freely? 50? 100? It all depends on your skin color?

Did it not occur to you that the death at arrest attempt 32 is directly attributable to the 31 previous arrest attempts that proved totally futile? Imagine doing your job over and over again for no real reason?

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 05, 2014 4:01 PM  

SirHamster: "You'd think all of that experience would have conditioned him better."

Did you see him holding out his open hands, mild and non-violent, as the police piled on him and viciously, fatally choked him?

Also, he'd had enough.

Anonymous Feh December 05, 2014 4:02 PM  

@Feh

And if you refuse to leave your house?


Same thing that happens in a civil eviction if you refuse to pay the rent/mortgage and the landlord evicts you or the bank forecloses.

I guess ultimately yes, they would send the sheriff to evict you by force.

Anonymous Feh December 05, 2014 4:03 PM  

Also, he'd had enough.

Oh I am sure there are many, many repeat offenders with rap sheets a mile long who are fed up with being arrested. Tough fucking shit for them. Quit committing crimes already!

Anonymous patrick kelly December 05, 2014 4:06 PM  

@malcomthecynic: ".... For that matter, is it really legal to shoot somebody who is taking your stuff but is no immediate threat? I doubt it."

Depends on the jurisdiction and circumstances. In some jurisdictions deadly force is lawful to use in order to stop someone from committing a "serious Felony". In some cases stealing a car or something worth over a certain value is considered a "serious Felony". In some jurisdictions even vandalism if committed at night is considered one. I'm not advocating, just informing.

A few years ago a man in Houston heard noises at night coming from his driveway,looked out the window and saw someone messing with his car, presumably trying to steal it.

When he yelled at the suspected thief to leave the vehicle alone, the car molester replied with obscene language and hostile gestures. The vehicle owner retrieve a rifle and shot the foul mouthed miscreant and killed him.

The law enforcer was not even arrested, and was no-billed by the grand jury.

Besides, your missing the point. It is not about whether you could or should kill someone for doing something, but to ponder the ultimate consequences of passing any law,which includes people being killed for resisting enforcement of that law.

BTW like your blog post "My Fatal Flaw". I have way more than one.

OpenID malcolmthecynic December 05, 2014 4:06 PM  

I guess ultimately yes, they would send the sheriff to evict you by force.

Back to square one then, yes?

Blogger Shibes Meadow December 05, 2014 4:10 PM  

Stickwick: LOL "Checkpoint Chicky".

Seriously: no Mayberry demographics, no Mayberry law enforcement.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 05, 2014 4:12 PM  

Thordaddy: "Imagine doing your job over and over again for no real reason?"

It's a job. They get paid for this.

Yes, working in a town where there hasn't been a serious crime problem since the hula hoop was a thing is much nicer. (I hear.)

But they chose the jobs they've got. I see zero evidence that they are on the side of "peace, justice and a nice white country". And I don't think they have the right to relieve their boredom with repeated arrests by choking a guy and piling on him at obvious risk of his life while he is not fighting and he is saying he can't breathe.

A reckless and callous disregard for human life is not one of the privileges that should go with a badge.

OpenID malcolmthecynic December 05, 2014 4:14 PM  

Besides, your missing the point. It is not about whether you could or should kill someone for doing something, but to ponder the ultimate consequences of passing any law,which includes people being killed for resisting enforcement of that law.

That's broader than the discussed principle, though. And I agree with it.

BTW like your blog post "My Fatal Flaw".

Thank you, much appreciated. I'm pleased to hear that, because it's my personal favorite, and I figured nobody would read it.

Of course, it's not totally complete. Ken no longer likes me very much, and after looking objectively at my behavior from the past I can't say I blame him. And I'm still jealous to a more limited extent. The difference is that I recognize it and admit and refuse to let it dictate my life anymore. Hopefully by changing my attitude and actions to go along with it I'll be able to control the flaw.

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 December 05, 2014 4:20 PM  

I guess ultimately yes, they would send the sheriff to evict you by force.

And if you resist the Sheriff?

Anonymous Thor December 05, 2014 4:21 PM  

" He (God) declares absolute authority over life and the right to legislate killing. In light of these, it is right to conclude man has no authority to legislate and certainly has no power to back up his rules with a death penalty."

This proposition does not take into account what Dr. Seuss nor what the Flying Speghetti Monster nor what I nor what Zeus has to say on the subject.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 05, 2014 4:22 PM  

Shibes Meadow: "Seriously: no Mayberry demographics, no Mayberry law enforcement."

I get that.

But what happened to Eric Garner wasn't just "not Mayberry." It was something else, bad.

And if such things must come with "diversity," then still, woe to those through whom they come.

Blogger SirHamster December 05, 2014 4:29 PM  


"Now what" -- they garnish your salary, evict you from the house, and sell it to pay your taxes.


So much for the punishment just being, "pay your taxes".

Garnish salary -> threat of violence to employer to get indirect compliance (what about self-employed/self-sufficient?)
Eviction -> use violence to confiscate property (what if he shoots your eviction agents? will the government not escalate?)

Blogger SirHamster December 05, 2014 4:35 PM  

Did you see him holding out his open hands, mild and non-violent, as the police piled on him and viciously, fatally choked him?

Autopsy report does not seem to be online, but reported facts was that death was "compression of neck" (?) with a contributing cause of heart disease (!), but no blame on asphyxiation.

I saw an edited video, but I do not see why "nonviolently" waving your hands around entitles you to get out of being arrested.

OpenID malcolmthecynic December 05, 2014 4:38 PM  

From my understanding of the scenario (and I've seen the video and know about the arrest record):

The officer didn't murder him. He tackled him, as he tackled many other subjects, and may or may not have used an illegal chokehold.

What he did was incredibly disproportionate to the crime and was a reaction to an unarmed dude pulling his hands away, but that doesn't make it murder.

And it's "racially motivated" my ass.

Anonymous Jill December 05, 2014 4:48 PM  

Absolutely. I've had far too many conversations with people who have tried to exonerate police behavior in this case. They physically aggressed against a man over a petty amoral law. Is this what we really want?! This is like mafia behavior, in which the thugs put down all the competition on the mafia's territory.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler December 05, 2014 4:49 PM  

Oh-vey. On the track again.

What about the store owners who pay taxes, who pay rent, who pay for employees. Yet, I see Hannity and Vox here attacking a law.

It seems that Garner was given numerous passes. He was already arrested nine times!!!

Libertarians are just foolish and are anarchists. Put your self in the shoes of the storeowners--the tune is far different. Maybe, VD and Hannity should exit their ivory towers and try to sell in Brooklyn stores when you have vendors outside undercutting you.

I'm all for the law. Civilization is for ORDER. Libertarianism is about disorder and chaos. It is sorry that Garner died but he was breaking the law, the man was overweight, asthmatic, resisted arrest.

Anonymous Will Best December 05, 2014 4:52 PM  

You really shouldn't criticize an it based on how things are right now. Right now we have a Fascist/Socialist society where nearly everything you do is subject to government regulation and restriction.

The idea is that we stop total government coercion and try and get it to focus only on major crimes.


I know what a truly libertarian society involves, I take issue with libertarians quest to partially dismantle the system. You can't remove the stick (police state enforcement) while leaving the carrot (subsidized loss sharing). Because the only thing you do in that instance is promote dyscivic behavior.

Do you need more evidence than Wall Streets behavior during the 2000's to prove why you can't engage in libertarianism piecemeal.

Blogger Josh December 05, 2014 4:59 PM  

Perhaps Yankee cops are more prone to enforcing stupid laws?

Here's what a Tuscaloosa cop had to say about their choice to not enforce open container laws on game days:


"If we chased down everyone holding a beer right now, we wouldn't be providing good police work to the community. And also that would be impossible, because we don't have that many officers to chase down everyone holding a beer right now," Blankley says.

Blogger Josh December 05, 2014 5:01 PM  

I'm all for the law. Civilization is for ORDER. Libertarianism is about disorder and chaos. It is sorry that Garner died but he was breaking the law, the man was overweight, asthmatic, resisted arrest.

Wheeler, would you have killed garner for selling cigarettes?

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 05, 2014 5:04 PM  

If you're down to putting unwarranted scare quotes around "nonviolently" and arguing the brutal choke-out we all saw should be called "compression of the neck" you haven't got much.

You can call it "compression" of the neck or "George," but the video is what it is, and the victim never so much as lets his hand form into a fist during the killing.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera December 05, 2014 5:04 PM  

>The law, and law enforcement, are a very blunt hammer, and it's simply not possible for either to be utilized in the delicately fine-tuned, precision manner that most people envision when they suggest using them for the purposes of petty behavioral modification.

Exceptionally well-put.

Blogger Josh December 05, 2014 5:04 PM  

I know what a truly libertarian society involves, I take issue with libertarians quest to partially dismantle the system. You can't remove the stick (police state enforcement) while leaving the carrot (subsidized loss sharing). Because the only thing you do in that instance is promote dyscivic behavior.

So just killing them is your answer?

Brilliant.

Anonymous patrick kelly December 05, 2014 5:06 PM  

@WB:"You can't remove the stick (police state enforcement) while leaving the carrot (subsidized loss sharing). Because the only thing you do in that instance is promote dyscivic behavior."

Yeah, if you stop killing guys selling single cigarettes pretty soon they'll be roaming the streets, committing mass murder, rape, and mayhem!!!

There is no middle ground, only hyperbolic extremes!!!! All or nothing!!! Now or never!!





Anonymous Aeoli Pera December 05, 2014 5:08 PM  

On libertarianism:

It is obvious that libertarian government is only possible in a nation predominantly comprised of the sorts of people who tend to be libertarians. Because that is obviously not the case in America, arguing in favor of libertarian policies for a population of domesticated degenerates is at best unproductive, and at worst counterproductive.

Blogger jdwalker December 05, 2014 5:09 PM  

Josh: Would you be willing to have someone else do the killing?
I think that is a distinction without a difference. If someone else does your killing for you, you are still killing. But I’m not sure how that relates to what I was trying to say.
Josh: Then pick another one. There are hundreds of examples.
I agree there are hundreds, and much more persuasive if you want people to understand why we should be concerned about aggressive and excessive law enforcement practices.
Daniel: Wake up jdwalker.
I think I’m reasonably awake. As I said, there are plenty of examples of police behaving badly. And it needs to be dealt with. But the idea that no law can be passed and enforced unless the law should only be enforced upon death is the issue I raised as something that is hard for me to understand and what I was questioning.
Cail Corishev: The more such laws there are, the more people will be caught up in that process, , and the more often cops will end up killing someone who took a stand over what was initially no big deal.
Agreed…on the first part at least. There are certainly too many laws, and there should be less. The question I have is whether the litmus test for a law should be that the only laws there should be are laws you are worth killing to have.
SirHamster: Go straight to the worst case scenario. Someone WILL NOT obey the law, so what will you do to enforce it? [/] The State WILL resort to Kill, because that's its ultimate power.
I think the “go straight to the worst case scenario” is my problem with the idea that the only law you can have is one worth killing for. And I think that was sort of my point, it essentially means that you have to be willing to kill people who will behave completely irrationally or stupidly to enforce any law. Then maybe the place I’m coming to in reading these responses is that my threshold for killing people is lower than others because at some point I think, screw it, kill the idiot and keep them from messing up the place for the rest of us. Tyranny of the worst behaved.

Anonymous patrick kelly December 05, 2014 5:14 PM  

@AP: "a population of domesticated degenerates"

In case you didn't notice, the progression of degeneration has happened along with the progressive movement away from a more libertarian nation since 1789, not toward it....

Blogger swiftfoxmark2 December 05, 2014 5:19 PM  

I know what a truly libertarian society involves, I take issue with libertarians quest to partially dismantle the system. You can't remove the stick (police state enforcement) while leaving the carrot (subsidized loss sharing). Because the only thing you do in that instance is promote dyscivic behavior.

Do you need more evidence than Wall Streets behavior during the 2000's to prove why you can't engage in libertarianism piecemeal.


Again, you assume libertarians would leave up the welfare state and the corporatist state. They won't.

Anonymous Eric the Red December 05, 2014 5:50 PM  

A legal edifice is like building a house. That simile may be simple, but it is definitely not simplistic. There are foundations, and then there are the interstices. Many libertarians (although I would not necessarily include Vox) seem unable to differentiate between laws that provide the essential structure, regardless of whether they are "moral" laws or "criminal" laws, versus laws that fill in the floor plan. They then love to accuse conservatives (most of whom can differentiate) of wanting to enforce some absolute cradle-to-grave dawn-to-dusk body of laws on everyone else. Although I may probably be accused of the no true Scotsman fallacy, I will nonetheless state that such libertarian accusations are essentially false. However, for a proper societal foundation, and to preserve that foundation, there must indeed be some primary laws that enforce morality. Like it or not, believe it or not, you cannot have a relatively stable society that operates solely on a principle of each person allowed to do his own thing as long as as he simply respects the equal right of others to do the same. For one thing, this presupposes a pre-existing culture of unwritten laws that provides a suitable foundation for such a philosophy (see Lawrence Auster on his critique of libertarianism being a tautology), but most importantly it doesn't recognize any need to legalize the basic tenets of a particular objective morality. For Western culture, of course that morality must be Christianity. Finally, consider that we once were supposed to have a republic, where individual states could be separate legal laboratories about just how much morality needed to be codified. If you didn't like State A's morality, you could either work to change it, or move to State B. Now, however, with leftist top-down totalitarian control over the states, such a thing is impossible.

I expect to get blasted from the ilk on all this, but don't expect me to respond in kind. I hate these kinds of word-fests. After all the shouting is done, nobody ever changes their mind, anyway.

Anonymous Statists are so dull December 05, 2014 6:04 PM  

Which was the greater crime?

Seriously? The tax evasion. The state and its laws are primary to generate revenue for the rulers. The other laws based on morality are just how they convince the masses to let them farm them. They don't care if someone lives are dies - but touch their money...

Blogger SirHamster December 05, 2014 6:14 PM  

@Eric:

Agreed, and that's why I cannot be a libertarian. Thanks for putting that into words.

I hate these kinds of word-fests. After all the shouting is done, nobody ever changes their mind, anyway.

I've found these word-fests to be very useful learning experiences. Participating in this sort of thing helped me understand how intellectually bankrupt leftism/atheism was, as well as learning to articulate my own ideas and principles.

Since these are in public spaces, they also serve a purpose of entertaining and educating the silent crowd. Can't say that very important in the grand scheme of things, but it is a useful purpose.

And I personally enjoy it. The digital equivalent of liking the sound of one's own voice, methinks.

Anonymous TheVillageIdiot(Ret.) December 05, 2014 6:34 PM  

We Love Barney Fife

DannyR

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 05, 2014 7:00 PM  

"Good old days" policing was corrupt because the citizens liked it that way - and they were homogeneous enough that it made sense to say that "they" had a single opinion on the matter.

Yes. Since Stickwick mentioned Andy Griffith, I like to point people to the episode of Danny Thomas's show that became the pilot for Andy Griffith. Sheriff Taylor arrests Thomas for rolling through a stop sign in Mayberry. Thomas objects because the sign wasn't clearly visible or something (I forget the details) and demands to see the Justice of the Peace. Andy just smiles and takes the "Sheriff" sign off his desk and replaces it with his "Justice of the Peace" sign -- he's both, of course. Eventually Thomas realizes he's screwed, and pulls out a wad of money to pay the small fine, at which point Andy thinks up a reason to multiply the penalty drastically.

Of course, in the end Thomas realizes he was being a jerk and Andy was just doing his job and they become good friends, and the audience has a good laugh, because we all know Andy's a good guy who would never actually do anything to hurt anyone. And in small towns where a sheriff was a real part of the community whose reputation was critical, and not a gang of guys with more anti-terrorism training than common sense, it could be that way much of the time (especially if it meant fleecing rich travelers to fill the village coffers). Nowadays, in the real world, not so much.

There are other episodes where they do things like entrap speeders. It's kind fun to watch the show through a filter of, "There's Andy ruling the terrified citizens of Mayberry with an iron fist again."

Anonymous Will Best December 05, 2014 7:08 PM  

So just killing them is your answer?

Brilliant.


That isn't what I said. I said shooting them was better alternative, which is letting them be and having the productive population bear the cost of their destructive behavior. That is of course if you subscribe to the premise that you must be willing to kill to enforce the laws. The only law you need to be willing to kill in order to enforce is "resisting arrest". For every other law lesser punishments serve just fine.

Again, you assume libertarians would leave up the welfare state and the corporatist state. They won't.

No I assume libertarians won't gain total control of the government. As such them and progs will walk hand in hand destroying all social morality and opening the borders, but when it comes time to dismantling the the welfare state, the progs, religious right, and degenerates will go "Fuck no, you heartless bastards".


Anonymous Cail Corishev December 05, 2014 7:15 PM  

The police had arrested garner thirty times.

And released him thirty times. Er, twenty-nine times, I guess.

Which just helps make the point. If something is harmful enough that we need to have laws against it and arrest people for it, then you shouldn't be able to walk away from it dozens of times until the cops in the area know your name and selling habits. An arrest is a dangerous situation, for both cops and suspect. Anyone who's been arrested knows how emotional it is, and how easy it would be to lash out or try to escape, even if the crime was minor.

To have cops going around disinterestedly arresting people for the same violations no one actually cares about over and over is just stupid. It's asking for people to get hurt. It's also wasteful, because it means we need more cops and lawyers to handle it all. It also corrupts cops further, because it encourages them to think of all non-cops as criminals, because none of us hasn't committed a "crime" or two recently, as many as there are on the books. After a while, they don't see us as a mass of citizens with a few criminals hiding in our midst, but as a mass of criminals most of whose crimes just haven't been identified yet.

Policing at this point is a game, a jobs program, and a revenue stream. The one thing it's not is justice.

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 05, 2014 7:27 PM  

The question I have is whether the litmus test for a law should be that the only laws there should be are laws you are worth killing to have.

I'm not sure anyone's saying that should be your absolute litmus test. I think it's being suggested as a useful thought experiment, a way to slow the legalistic impulse to throw laws and cops at everything we don't like.

I mean, I think theft should be illegal, but that doesn't mean I'd personally shoot someone for stealing a pack of gum. And yet, if I own a store, and I call the cops because I see a kid steal a pack of gum, there's a chance the kid could freak out and grab for a cop's gun and wind up dead. If that happened, maybe it wouldn't be my fault, but I don't know if I'd feel blameless.

So maybe I should deal with the kid myself rather than calling in the troops. That's what would have happened a few generations ago, and still would in some small towns where everyone knows each other -- you'd call the kid's dad, he'd get his ass beat and sent to apologize and pay you back somehow, and it'd be dealt with.

Anonymous Godfrey December 05, 2014 8:05 PM  

The "shit for brains" congress just voted for war with Russia.

Anonymous Porphyry December 05, 2014 8:24 PM  

The problem facing law enforcement today is the nationalization of law. Back in the old days you didn't have the feds looking over your shoulder, so you could deal with things on a case by case basis. Now if you don't kill people your punished for it. Furthermore every single crime you can commit can be escalated to treason, which necessarily carries the death penalty. It doesn't take a genius to see that this is less than ideal.

This is not a problem that city councils and mayor's offices have trouble dealing with. Because you can always get enough men to evict someone physically off a piece of land without deadly force, i.e. banishment in non-serious situations. Essentially the problem is that the American public is allowed to vote for trivial laws that carry an implication of treason over the rest of the population (faction for those who read the federalist papers).

Anonymous Porphyry December 05, 2014 8:28 PM  

"The "shit for brains" congress just voted for war with Russia.' wait are you fucking serious?

Blogger jdwalker December 05, 2014 8:32 PM  

@ Cail Corishev

Fair point that I might be overstating some positions here. I agree it is an interesting thought experiment, but when some respond "would you kill someone for selling cigarettes" and "police will resort to killing" seems as if they mean it to be more than a thought experiment.

Similarly, I would not say that I am willing to kill someone for the convenience of driving to work, but it is a possibility, whether due to my fault or someone else. A good thought experiment on how I should approach driving, but it doesn't mean I am not going to drive unless I'm willing to kill someone as a result.

So I would think there are solutions or ways to address that aren't as drastic as whether a law is worth killing for. But this also may be theoretical given the current state of society.

Anonymous Porphyry December 05, 2014 8:35 PM  

Perhaps a better question would be to ask whether or not one is willing to label treasonous anyone who refuses to accept that law.

Anonymous zen0 December 05, 2014 9:04 PM  

TheVillageIdiot(Ret.) December 05, 2014 6:34 PM
We Love Barney Fife

DannyR



F*king " A", Idiot. Being retired has its advantages.

Blogger James Dixon December 05, 2014 9:46 PM  

> ... but I find it hard to follow the line of reasoning that every law should be considered through the lens of whether you are willing to kill for it.

Remember that the next time you're stopped for a supposed seat belt infraction and have to slowly and in plain sight reach for the glove compartment to get your registration, hoping the cop doesn't think you're reaching for a gun instead.

And yes, I've been stopped for supposedly not wearing a seat belt when I in fact was.

> And I admit that I do find it easier to sympathize with police officers that are charged with enforcing the law, sometimes under unknown and dangerous conditions, and would like nothing more than someone to quickly comply so they can move on to other things.

Because a police officer job is supposed to be oh so easy, I guess. If it has to be that easy, maybe they should get paid minimum wage with no benefits.

Anonymous Feh December 05, 2014 10:15 PM  

"Now what" -- they garnish your salary, evict you from the house, and sell it to pay your taxes.

So much for the punishment just being, "pay your taxes".

Garnish salary -> threat of violence to employer to get indirect compliance (what about self-employed/self-sufficient?)
Eviction -> use violence to confiscate property (what if he shoots your eviction agents? will the government not escalate?)


What do you do in a libertarian society if someone owes you money and he says, "fuck you, I won't pay"?

Do you just suck it up?

Do you go to court? And win... so the court garnishes his salary... which requires a threat of violence to ensure compliance?

If force cannot be used at any point, then no contract will ever be honored. Is that the libertarian dream?

Blogger Hunsdon December 05, 2014 10:17 PM  

So, uh, what gun for Garner?

Blogger Tommy Hass December 05, 2014 10:23 PM  

"The obvious racial dynamics of the case -- the police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, is white; Garner was black -- have sparked understandable outrage."

How can one take somebody saying this serious?

Anonymous zen0 December 05, 2014 10:43 PM  

If force cannot be used at any point, then no contract will ever be honored. Is that the libertarian dream?

Libertarianism, as I understand it so far, is not Anarchy. (The system of unlimited laws is closer to anarchy than what I ever imagined)

Libertarianism is pro-contract, not anti-contract.

I. E. you need to define your query.

Anonymous Aeoli December 05, 2014 10:44 PM  

@patrick kelly,

I had noticed. IQ research is kinda my thing, and it's a secret in plain sight that we've been getting dumber since the advent of agriculture. We modern humans make the average cro magnon look like Isaac Newton.

Anonymous zen0 December 05, 2014 10:57 PM  

@ Tommy Hass

How can one take somebody saying this serious?

Word. For Example: Black Lives Don't Matter

Rappers recorded a tribute song to Michael Brown titled, “Don’t Shoot”. But Brown’s own songs had a different theme with lyrics like “My favorite part of killing people is when they hit the ground

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 05, 2014 11:36 PM  

Danby December 05, 2014 3:07 PM: "Which was the greater crime?"

You're right, and we all know in our hearts which was the greater crime.

And in a homogenous nation, a nation of blood and common culture, in which legislatures, courts, police and citizens all have largely the same temperaments and instinctive sense of what plays and what can't stand, there's a reasonable and often justified expectation that what everybody knows is the greater crime will be treated as the greater crime.

But in a "diverse" empire the correspondence between justice, law and the spirit in which the law is enforced is accidental.

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 06, 2014 12:00 AM  

Similarly, I would not say that I am willing to kill someone for the convenience of driving to work, but it is a possibility, whether due to my fault or someone else.

The difference being, most everyone agrees that cars and highways are a positive thing, that while they carry a certain amount of risk, the rewards more than make up for it. And if you disagree, you can go off and be Amish; no one's going to force you to drive at the point of a gun.

What's the reward that we (those of us who aren't cigarette retailers or tax collectors) get from laws restricting the resale of individual cigarettes? What happens if you decide you want to be Amish about it and opt out of that law, establishing your own community where cigarettes can be sold individually?

But we're getting closer. The point isn't to say we should only have laws you would personally carry out the death penalty for. The point is to be aware that once you criminalize something, it's pretty much a given that someone, somewhere, will eventually be killed as a result of that law. So it's worth considering whether the gain you expect to get from that law is worth that cost.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 06, 2014 12:02 AM  

Cail Corishev: "And in small towns where a sheriff was a real part of the community whose reputation was critical, and not a gang of guys with more anti-terrorism training than common sense, it could be that way much of the time (especially if it meant fleecing rich travelers to fill the village coffers). Nowadays, in the real world, not so much."

That's the truth.

It makes so much difference when everybody feels related (and basically is, down to the parts of the old country their ancestors came from), and law enforcement has options like, "I'm impounding your speed machine till think you've grown enough brains not to try to set speed records on a Sunday, when there's going to be kids about. And if you give me any lip I will tell your dad and he will beat the crap out of you."

Not exactly an option with Michael Brown and his parents and "community" in Ferguson, Missouri.

Anonymous kfg December 06, 2014 12:06 AM  

@Feh:

In the libertarian dream the terms of enforcement are part of the contract. It's strict opt in.

Anonymous Cail Corishev December 06, 2014 12:19 AM  

Not exactly an option with Michael Brown and his parents and "community" in Ferguson, Missouri.

Or, to be fair, in my 95% white town of 50,000 a couple hours from Ferguson. Race is part of the problem, but it's also the size of towns and police forces, plus the cops have been thoroughly SWATted and K9ed up, and they spend most of their time squeezing revenue out of drivers over harmless infractions and running DARE seminars at schools where they freak everyone out about meth. So even though it's fairly homogeneous, there's not much of that "community policing," even here.

The smaller towns around here, say 500 people or smaller, could do it, but they don't have a local cop anymore at all. County mounties take care of stuff like domestic violence calls, and state cops come and run speed traps. So the idea of a Sheriff Taylor who's accountable to his neighbors and can apply common sense to situations is pretty much gone there too.

Anonymous Sarcophilus December 06, 2014 12:56 AM  

I am becoming persuaded that be a problem with policing is the change from reactive policing to PROactive policing. before even if there were obnoxious puritanical laws like those for sodomy or adultery their working out over things or jailhouse informants.

Now to justify their pay and position police and prosecutors look for even the most tiny excuse to find somebody guilty of something charge. Or the highway robbery known as civil forfeiture. We are all fallen and guilty of doing evil things. But now the majority imposing their morality are social justice warriors.

This is the mistake of the Christian Right and conservatives. They handed power to Caesar and the devil entered into him. not those who do not know Christ are in charge of writing and enforcing the laws.

Anonymous Feh December 06, 2014 1:29 AM  

Libertarianism is pro-contract, not anti-contract.

I. E. you need to define your query.


I did.

In the libertarian dream the terms of enforcement are part of the contract. It's strict opt in.

If the enforcement path does not, at some point, lead to a man with a gun, then the contract will not be honored. Maybe there is a lot of arbitration and legal wrangling first, but if one side can say "fuck you" to every arbiter, judge, and lawyer, and there is no point at which a man with a gun can say, "honor the contract", then you don't have a contract.

Anonymous Curtis December 06, 2014 1:56 AM  

The LAPD teamed up with military special operation forces in January 2012 to conduct multi-agency tactical exercises in the skies above downtown that included a Black Hawk helicopter and four OH-6 choppers.

https://battlefieldusa.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/ss-dhs1.jpg?w=640

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2014/12/05/camp-pendleton-marines-to-conduct-training-in-downtown-la/

See, they think they are all combat operators.

Anonymous Porphyry December 06, 2014 2:18 AM  

"can say, "honor the contract", then you don't have a contract." a contract involving the state is between citizens. You don't need a gun to enforce citizenship.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 06, 2014 2:34 AM  

Curtis: "See, they think they are all combat operators."

As opposed to "civilians".

Anonymous kfg December 06, 2014 3:45 AM  

" . . . if . . . there is no point at which a man with a gun can say, "honor the contract", then you don't have a contract."

Libertarians aren't anti use of force. They are pro individual rights.
They accept the use of force to defend those rights. A contract is a document, which by mutual agreement establishes certain rights and obligations between the parties. Those rights and obligations may thus be legitimately defended by force.

The current system of taxation, on the other hand, is enforced without such a contractual agreement and is thus, in the minds of libertarians, a form mugging, theft, not a fair, civil exchange. One may legitimately use force to defend against a mugger.

A couple examples of libertarian society come to mind:

The first is the Jeffersonian Ideal. This is a minarchy. There are laws, which can be en-forced, but they are kept both to a minimum and formed as locally as possible. Individual rights are the foundations of all laws. The smaller and closer the group that forms the laws, the more likely there is wide agreement and the easier it is for those who oppose the laws to relocate to some place more amenable to them. Birds of a feather end up flocking together.

Then there were the Cheyenne, whose only law was the Non-Coercion Principle within the Cheyenne themselves. Social order was maintained and contracts enforced strictly through shaming and ostracisation. If a man didn't honor his contracts nobody liked him and nobody would do business with him. If a man killed another man, he effectively ceased to exist within the Cheyenne. He was 'dead' to them.

No guns involved, but there was a strong tendency to not piss off those you depended on in the first place.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza December 06, 2014 4:20 AM  

What a complete horror show over a few pennies for smokes.

Anonymous Feh December 06, 2014 8:44 AM  

a contract involving the state is between citizens. You don't need a gun to enforce citizenship.

Sure you do. Or very quickly you won't have a country.

Anonymous Didas Kalos December 06, 2014 9:52 AM  

“I am convinced that it could not have been done any other way, or any better,” Erdley told the New York Times. “I am also not interested in diverting the conversation away from the point of the piece itself.”

In other words: "Facts? What facts? I believe something and by god (assuming she isn't an atheist) you cannot convince me otherwise with facts"






{Are your familiar with Bastiat's definition of the state? I'm always fascinated by the religious notion of the state, how a monopoly organization of (fallible) men can be elevated to the status of an unquestionable Earthy God, to be worshiped and obeyed like few Christians or Muslims would obey Christ or Mohammad.} This is a MUCH larger issue than most people realize. Most Christians in the USA haven't ever given this much thought. Then again, critical thinking and reasoning the Scriptures are not high on most USA Christian's list of priorities.

Anonymous liljoe December 06, 2014 1:23 PM  

The officer didn't murder him. He tackled him, as he tackled many other subjects, and may or may not have used an illegal chokehold

This statement proves indeed you haven't "seen the video".

Garner's crime punishable by death was avoiding the State's self appointed duty to steal from its subjects. New York State government relies heavily on cigarette taxes for revenue.

But no it's all about racism right

Anonymous patrick kelly December 06, 2014 2:57 PM  

@Aeoli: "We modern humans make the average cro magnon look like Isaac Newton."

Really? What was the sample size of Cro-Magnon who took your IQ tests?

Anonymous Aeoli Pera December 06, 2014 5:03 PM  

>Really? What was the sample size of Cro-Magnon who took your IQ tests?

You could have just asked for some evidence without being an ass about it. I suppose that indicates you'll be content without any evidence at all.

Blogger subject by design December 06, 2014 7:22 PM  

If the police operate under the same law as the non-police, then there is no blaming the victim for having asthma, heart disease, obesity or any other health condition. As every lawyer is taught in law school, you take your victim as you find him. If you, as a joke, slap a guy in the head and he happens to have a form of brittle bone disease such that your jesting slap results in his death, you are still accountable for the homicide. It doesn't matter if you knew he had brittle bones. If Garner died from cops sitting on him, even if another guy wouldn't die from that, it doesn't excuse the cops who killed him. Of course that is only in a land where there aren't two separate set of laws, one for me and one for thee (police).

OpenID malcolmthecynic December 06, 2014 11:41 PM  

liljoe,

Except I did, and read plenty of commentary on it. Whether or not what he used was even a chokehold is up for dispute.

Maybe I should be clearer: This was a travesty of justice.

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 07, 2014 6:05 PM  

subject by design: "If the police operate under the same law as the non-police, then there is no blaming the victim for having asthma, heart disease, obesity or any other health condition."

Exactly.

His repeated complaint that he couldn't breathe is still relevant though, because it bears on the reckless disregard for human life displayed by the police.

Anonymous bw December 08, 2014 1:55 PM  

FBI stats prove the paranoia of Govt and it's armed workers:
here

Government convinces itself and you that they are victims and in severe danger:
and here

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