Stop vb. , to arrest the progress of; to hinder; to impede; to cease

State n. , a gang of thieves writ large; a territorial monopolist of compulsion and
ultimate decision-making (jurisdiction) which may engage in continual, institutionalized property rights violations and exploitation in the form of expropriation, taxation, and regulation of private property owners; the group within society that claims for itself the exclusive right to rule everyone under a special set of laws that permit it to do to others what everyone else is rightly prohibited from doing, namely aggressing against person and property.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How Much Protection Do Police Really Provide?

by Austin White

August 17, 2011

Even as emerging research is revealing that you are more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist, the overwhelming majority of Americans show no concern at all about the rapidly growing police-state.  Americans are so concerned about what they believe would happen if there were a lack of government security that they are willing to tolerate the highest incarceration rate in the world and daily incidences of horrific police brutality.  “The worst tyranny is still better than chaos,” they argue.
But how much protection do government police actually provide?  Very little if you think about it.
Police, overall, are paid the same whether they are pursuing murderers or jaywalkers.  Police have no concrete incentive to choose pursuing violent criminals instead of busting harmless pot smokers.    Why would a cop risk his life fighting violent crime when he can make the same amount of money ticketing people for having faulty tag lights? 
And what are the odds that this cop could actually prevent or stop violent crimes from happening even if he was actively trying to do so?  How many rapes have been stopped by a police officer heroically crashing through a window and apprehending the rapist seconds after he’s initiated the act?  Police do not become omniscient and all powerful upon receiving their badge and the idea that police have the ability to stop violent crimes is laughable.  Their badge may give them magical legal powers, but nothing else.   
The idea that police have the wits to smell out and stop violent crimes becomes even more laughable when you consider that most police became police because they were unable to sell their labor and skills in the more competitive private sector, where intelligence, good social skills, and strong work ethics are rewarded.  Police departments are more likely to be filled with stupider, lazier, and reckless people who desire a job where it is virtually impossible to get fired and are not likely to contain the brightest minds.  Reno 911 is the probably the most accurate portrayal of police ever produced.
The best the police can usually do is show up a half hour later, if they were even called, and do the paperwork.
The rape victim can’t get her tax dollars refunded.  The police might arrest her for buying marijuana days later to alleviate depression.  She may even get arrested for illegally purchasing a firearm for future defense.
Aside from the frequent cases of police brutality, police produce a negative effect by providing people with a false sense of security.  Because there are police on the streets supposedly ready to lay down their life in an instant to save you, people who have faith in police are less likely to lock their doors, possess guns, and take measures to provide for their own safety just as wearing a seatbelt makes a person more likely to drive aggressively.
And there is no reason to expect police services to ever improve.  Unlike in the voluntary market, where the failure of a seller to provide a service leads to losses, police can’t go out of business for failing to provide adequate protection and investigative services.  Even worse, police actually benefit from crime epidemics because they provide police with justifications to receive more funding. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

How to Assess Your Local Police-State

How to Assess Your Local Police-State
August 3, 2011
By Austin White

I was purchasing gas recently and picked up one of those $1 garbage publications that list and show all of the people who have been arrested in your area in the past few weeks.  They usually have names like Jail Paper and Under Arrest Gazette.   Normally I would never buy a publication that profits from the police-state in such a way, but my curiosity got the best of me and I had  to see just how many of the arrested people displayed in this rag were arrested for victimless (i.e. non) crimes.
The magazine covers arrests in central Florida counties Hillsborough, Pinellas, Hernando, Pasco, Orange, Lake, Seminole, and Osceola and is issued twice a month.
I went through and added up, county by county, the total number of arrested people displayed and then counted how many of those were arrested for committing a victimless crime.  I excluded people arrested for out-of-state and out-of-county warrants due to the lack of information on the charges. 
I used the most consistent definition of a victimless crime, which is any action that is illegal according to government policy, but does not actually bring direct detriment to any person or property.  Examples include prostitution, drug possession, drug selling – none of the people arrested for these actions actually violate anyone else’s rights.  Some people were arrested for driving without a license or registration and driving with an unregistered license plate – all acts that harm no one.  I also considered drunk driving to be a victimless crime while counting, because the act of driving drunk itself harms nobody (see Radley Balko, Lew Rockwell, Jeffrey Tucker, and Mark Crovelli, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here for further elaborations on drunk driving policies).
A real criminal is someone who has actually violated another’s property rights, i.e. someone who acts governmentally.  Examples include the acts of assault, trespassing, theft, fraud, rape, and murder.  The great majority of crimes of this sort in the magazine were assault and theft.
Anyway, in the last two weeks of July 2011:
-Orange County had 103 arrests, 45 of which were for victimless crimes (44%)
-Hernando County had 68 arrests, 33 for victimless crimes (49%)
-Pinellas County had 269 arrests, 123 for victimless crimes (46%)
-Lake County and Seminole County combined had 152 arrests, 76 for victimless crimes (50%)
-Hillborough County had 215 arrests, 121 were for victimless crimes (56%)
-Osceola had 49, 14 for victimless crimes (29%)
-Pasco County had 119, 74 of which were for victimless crimes (62%)
In total, the published arrests from these eight counties amounted to 975 in two weeks.  Of those 975 arrests, 486 were for victimless crimes – making the overall percentage of victimless crime arrests 49.8%.
One out of two people arrested in the Central Florida area in the last half of July didn’t harm any person or property, but yet they were arrested, humiliated, and will now have to spend great deals of money and exhaust irreplaceable time and energy dealing with the state.  
(In Hans-Hermann Hoppe voice): Not only are the arrested individuals harmed, but each arrest costs taxpayers thousands of dollars even if the arrested choose not to challenge their charges in court.  With each person put in handcuffs the tax burden on the productive class increases, which produces decivilizing effects on all of society as the increasing tax burden reduces incentives to produce and raises the social time preference as people become more present-oriented and more likely to engage in crime.  In addition, people will become less likely to save and invest their money which will produce a negative effect on economic growth as capital accumulation decreases.  The increase in crime and decrease in economic vibrancy will influence many people to demand an ever bigger government which will only speed up these decivilizing effects brought about by the same government in the first place.