Anti-Police Sentiment Grows in U.K.

Finally some good news. The British are upset with the police state protection of the G-20 summit, and police there are worried about the public relations backlash.

In America as well as Britain, the police have become increasingly criminal, lawless and brutal in their enforcement of an increasingly long list of immoral, unjust laws. The reports of police brutality are becoming more common, partly because the state is actually becoming more tyrannical but also because now we have the technology—especially cellphone cameras—to reveal their misbehavior to the public.

The state, which is an organization that essentially claims the right to violate the laws the rest of us must obey, is first and foremost enforced by its law-and-order arm. At home this means armed bureaucrats and police.

Police as we know them are a modern invention. Before the 20th century you would have perhaps a sheriff and a couple deputies, but there was nothing like what we have now — no large prison-industrial complex, no constant monitoring of the public, no militarized police force. We can say that the men in blue have become a more tyrannical force in American life than the men in red were in regard to our colonial forebears. The city police are a standing army that it is very hard to imagine thinkers like Jefferson being comfortable with. To truly eliminate lawlessness in American society, we must look into abolishing police departments, as some localities have. A dispassionate look at police intervention would show that their presence increases more than decreases crime. By enforcing drug and gun laws, they vastly expand criminality, at least doubling it, and given that most laws they enforce are themselves unjust, and therefore such enforcement is itself a violation of natural law, government police have come to the point where they are more about committing crime than preventing it.

The test for police behavior is methodological individualism. They have the right to break into homes to apprehend murderers or to stop robberies in progress, just as any individual has that right. But police do not, morally, have any rights anyone else has. So anything they do that would be rightfully illegal for any of us to do—including detaining or arresting people not proven to be guilty of actual crimes against person are property—are criminal acts. This is probably 90% of their daily activities. We would do much better to move toward an alternative mode of dealing with law, one that does not elevate any members of society over others in terms of what they’re allowed to do.

Anthony Gregory is a former Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the Independent books American Surveillance and The Power of Habeas Corpus in America.
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