terry_freeman on August 09, 2010, 10:45:39 am
In the era of Washington, there were no professional police forces. People expected to defend themselves and those nearby.  Larger cities might hire a night watchman to avert thieves and muggers, but if the watchman spotted trouble, he expected - and got - help from ordinary people. Google "hue and cry."

New York City established the first US police department in 1845 - several generations after the United States joined together. The Mayor of the time made a point of declaring that the police exercised no powers beyond those of ordinary citizens.

Statists, typically, are so ignorant of history as to assume that what they grew up with has always been, and in any case must be superior to previous efforts.

How's the "Drug War" working for you so far, after a hundred years? Previously, children could - and did - go to any ordinary general store and buy heroin. In fact, Heroin was actually a trademark of Bayer Pharmaceuticals, who sold it over the counter before they developed Aspirin. We had fewer problems with drugs before the War on Drugs. That war would not be possible in a society where police were merely ordinary citizens and peacekeepers, as opposed to "Law Enforcement Officials" who set themselves above the rest of us peons.   

Archonix on August 10, 2010, 03:24:21 pm
Reminds me that, until the turn of the 20th century, the police here in formerly Great Britain weren't armed and would often borrow firearms from passers-by (at least half of the pedestrians on any particular London street would be armed back then) when they had to apprehend criminals. I think I quite like that idea. It shows everyone who's in charge.

terry_freeman on August 11, 2010, 04:05:31 am
I attended the funeral of the father of a friend a few years back. Afterward, sitting in her living room, I asked "what was your father like?"

She told me this story: He (Officer Pat) was a good cop. He (an Irish-American) worked in a bad (black) neighborhood. He walked around and he noticed things. He walked up to the guy who was running numbers and said "I know what you're doing. I'm not going to bust you for running numbers, but let me explain something to you. You treat your customers fairly. Don't cause me any problems. If anybody cheats you or hurts you, let me know."

He said the same thing to the prostitutes: don't cause me problems. Treat your customers honestly. If they cheat you or hurt you, I'll come down on them. If you cheat them, I'll come down on you.

In short, he was a peace officer. He made it known that all he wanted was a peaceful neighborhood; how they amused themselves was their business, not his.

One day, some guy from out of the neighborhood deliberately crashed into Officer Pat's car and shot him; he was taken to the hospital, where he recovered.

The guys in the neighborhood did some investigating, located the culprit, and delivered him to the police station, somewhat the worse for wear. "That's the guy who hit Officer Pat," they said.

Another time, Officer Pat had to bring in a guy for murder. He knew that the murder suspect, hung out at a notorious bar, where everyone was packing heat. He walked into that bar alone, confident in his status with the community, and said "John, I need to take you in for this murder."

Everyone in that bar was packing heat. Many of them were friends and allies of John.  But they also knew and respected Officer Pat as a peace officer, as did John.

John says "Can I finish this drink?"

Officer Pat says "sure."

A few minutes later, John walked out with Officer Pat.

That's how police and communities could work together for peace. After decades of the "war on drugs" and the SWAT teams and no-knock raids and other stupidity, police are now behaving as if ordinary citizens are enemies, not allies. Whose fault is that?



MacFall on August 11, 2010, 10:29:59 am
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Why is everyone talking about running away? Granted, it's not a good idea to get in a fight with a federal government, as witness  Waco, but are you sure you aren't trading one tyranny for another? Wouldn't it be better to find others of like mind and try to form a voting bloc? It would be tricky of course, since there's indications that there is massive vote fraud going on, besides the old fashioned gerrymandering and dirty tricks. It's not like there's a frontier to run away to anymore.

First, yes there is a frontier. There are the high seas, and there is still some wilderness left. And there is space.

Second, no - voting is not a solution. If it were, it wouldn't be permitted.

Third, you're leaving out other options: civil disobedience, microsecession, and Agorism for starters.
Government is not, as is often believed, a "necessary evil". Rather, it is a plain evil of such power that it has been able to convince people of its necessity.

quadibloc on August 11, 2010, 08:40:27 pm
First, yes there is a frontier. There are the high seas, and there is still some wilderness left. And there is space.

Second, no - voting is not a solution. If it were, it wouldn't be permitted.

Third, you're leaving out other options: civil disobedience, microsecession, and Agorism for starters.
First: All the accessible frontiers are under government or at least UN jurisdiction, and there is also an international treaty prohibiting all space launches not under the authority of a government (in any case, space is rather too expensive to get to to be a real frontier right now).

Second: This is an assumption based on a belief that there is some evil conspiracy in place, instead of a government of well-meaning politicians who believe in freedom - but who find it easiest to get votes by eroding our freedom little by little.

And that if most Americans wanted to vote for a Barry Goldwater, a Ron Paul, or someone else who could improve things, they would be prevented from doing so. By what? Rigged voting machines?

The secret police are not knocking on our doors in the middle of the night. Not yet.

Third: All those other options, compared to voting, have one thing in common. A high probability of bloodshed.

So they're not justified unless you've proven that the political process is rigged. Instead of just assuming it on the basis of a personal antipathy to government.

Brugle on August 12, 2010, 08:24:58 am
First, yes there is a frontier. There are the high ... Second, no - voting is not a solution. If it were, it wouldn't be permitted. ...
... Second: This is an assumption based on a belief that there is some evil conspiracy in place, ...
Straw man.  I've heard that argument presented in several different ways, and none of them suggested that there was a conspiracy.  (It would be possible to base that argument on a conspiracy, and I wouldn't necessarily rule it out, but why go against Occam's razor?)

MacFall on August 12, 2010, 11:55:00 am
It may technically be a conspiracy, but not in the secret meeting in the Grove sort of way. They don't even hide it. Have you seen what happens to third parties? Or even to members of the party duopoly who don't toe the line? Ron Paul gets audited by the IRS EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

Don't tell me that the people in power would just sit idly by if the voting process threatened to do anything other than maintain the status quo. People don't seek high offices of power to play by the rules. They do so because they know that such positions enable them to get away with breaking the rules by which everyone else are expected to live.
Government is not, as is often believed, a "necessary evil". Rather, it is a plain evil of such power that it has been able to convince people of its necessity.

terry_freeman on August 12, 2010, 08:41:11 pm
I used to shy away from the "conspiracy theory" label. Not any more. It is a known fact that political leaders meet together frequently. That's what they're paid to do. It is also know that not all of their meetings are open. Many activists have documented this. It is further known that politicians of both parties often meet together at private clubs where their conversations are shielded from private view.

There is an entire branch of study called "public choice economics" which is accessible to anyone with an internet connection; the gist is that politicians serve their own interests; they are not disinterested public servants. They hunger for power, for privileges for themselves and their buddies and campaign contributors.  They set up roadblocks to any challengers.
 
There is even a body of research into how would-be reformers get co-opted into the system. In order to obtain enough power to "change the system", they must attract large numbers of supporters - who are attracted by the application of power, privilege, and money.

In this day and age, if you maintain that the government really has the interests of the people at heart, you would best be classified as ignorant, naive, or willfully obstructionist. You simply have no excuse, in the day of the internet, not to know what is going on. The bankster bailouts were an egregious example: public outcry 90 to 1 against, and Congress decided that "hell no!" really meant "yes, just add a few bits of sugar to sweeten it."

Have a look at various public opinion polls. The public trust in Congress has plummeted. USA Today reports that the vast majority believe their Congressman can be bought; the only question is whether it requires $1000, $10,000, or $100,000 to do so.

I think it was George Bernard Shaw who once asked a very distinguished lady if she would sleep with him for the sum of one million dollars. She allowed that possibility. He then asked if she would do so for twenty dollars. Outraged, she asked "What do you think I am, a prostitute?"

He replied, "We have established that; we are now dickering over the price."


MacFall on August 12, 2010, 09:55:28 pm
I don't know whether it was truly Shaw who did that; nevertheless, it's a very clever demonstration of the way politics actually works, the pretense of those who proclaim benevolent motives notwithstanding.
Government is not, as is often believed, a "necessary evil". Rather, it is a plain evil of such power that it has been able to convince people of its necessity.

wdg3rd on August 13, 2010, 12:26:06 am
I don't know whether it was truly Shaw who did that; nevertheless, it's a very clever demonstration of the way politics actually works, the pretense of those who proclaim benevolent motives notwithstanding.

If a politician proclaims benevolent motives, shooting him were best done quickly.  Avoid the obvious evil.

That anecdote wasn't from Shaw, it wasn't from Clemens nor from Wilde.  I forget who it was first attributed to.  Early onset Alzheimer's leads me to Churchill.
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

J Thomas on August 13, 2010, 02:35:11 am

If a politician proclaims benevolent motives, shooting him were best done quickly.  Avoid the obvious evil.

And if he proclaims evil motives? Is that so much better?

Maybe go whole hog and make it a capital crime to be a politician?

Archonix on August 13, 2010, 05:46:20 am
On the conspiracy of politicians, I had quite an education right after 9/11 when I saw the members of your senate standing on the steps of the capitol building, quite obviously uncomfortable at being outside when they could be inside. They made speeches, and clapped each other. They sang a patriotic song together and then broke into choreographed applause. Robots. That's what they looked like. Robots or actors. Everything was done for the sake of form, every action received precisely timed applause that would cease instantly. It was terrifying, to me, to someone used to the (now sadly disappearing) adversarial theatre of Parliament, to see politicians so cooperative.

Labour showed us, and the Cleggerons (lib/con coalition; leaders Cameron and Clegg) are showing us, when they cooperate, when they stop holding each other's feet to the flames, we're fucked.

wdg3rd on August 13, 2010, 06:10:30 am

If a politician proclaims benevolent motives, shooting him were best done quickly.  Avoid the obvious evil.

And if he proclaims evil motives? Is that so much better?

Maybe go whole hog and make it a capital crime to be a politician?


Well, that's not a perfect solution, but it would be a start in the right direction.
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

MacFall on August 13, 2010, 10:18:17 am
And if he proclaims evil motives? Is that so much better?

It is honest, at least.

Quote
Maybe go whole hog and make it a capital crime to be a politician?

A bit excessive, but a good idea nonetheless.
Government is not, as is often believed, a "necessary evil". Rather, it is a plain evil of such power that it has been able to convince people of its necessity.

Gillsing on August 13, 2010, 10:39:38 am
Maybe go whole hog and make it a capital crime to be a politician?
I once entertained the idea that heads of state should always be killed after their term is over, so that only those who would be willing to sacrifice their life for the nation would have a chance to rule it. But I quickly realised that we would probably end up with crazy people who don't care if they live or die. Like travelling in a spaceship piloted by an 80 year old with terminal cancer: "Oops! Did we miss that asteroid? Maybe we'll hit the next one? Yeeeeehaaaw!" (Or: "Since I'm going to die anyway, and since I really hate those other guys, I'm pressing the red button before my time is up.")

As for politicians sometimes doing the exact opposite of what the majority of the people wants, I'm not 100% sure that's because they're corrupt. It could also be because a vast majority of the people don't know nearly enough about how the world works. Very few people seem to understand the world of finance, so until everything comes crashing down for real, is there any objective proof that the bailout was a worse idea than letting the banks fail? Personally I didn't think it was a good idea, but apparently the whole system would've gone down, at least for a while. And who really knows what consequences that would've had? Riots? Starvation? Death murder kill? Civil war?
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