I Lived in a Society That Had No Police

Source PJ Media.

I am intrigued by the proposal to abolish police. The logic is simple enough: When the state becomes corrupt, the police franchise becomes an abuse and an affront to liberty.

In the back of my mind I also, vaguely, imagine that most criminal behavior derives from mental illness or profound social distress in some form. It is not at all that the criminal is a victim, but that normal people in healthful circumstances don’t tend to commit crimes. The use of violent force to restrain the sick or temporarily distressed seems a mismatch to me.

On the other hand, practicalities remain. Some predictable number of persons — 2% of any given population — are born socio/psychopaths. As surely as some people grow red hair, some will grow into criminals. And they, too, will develop active social circles of their own.

Mass hysteria is another, major, practical concern, as thousands of years of documented history show. There are times when mobs must be stopped.

One can easily see the origins of the police function as a practical matter. Yet humanity has at times produced a different solution to this particular set of unavoidable problems.

The tribal solution the writer describes doesn’t strike me as necessarily the best approach, but that it arises (by natural evolution, I suppose) out of family, kinship and culture is worth pondering.

6 thoughts on “I Lived in a Society That Had No Police

  1. One of the ideas popular in Libertarian circles is that the police should be like the fire department.

    Stay at the police station until we call them.


  2. The phrase being used is misleading. For what people are really discussing (BADLY worded, I might add) is what was done in Camden NJ a few years back. They abolished the existing corrupt force and started from scratch and rebuilt the force with the idea of improving community policing and to focus on some of the societal changes that helped bring the community to a better more equal place. From most reports, the idea has been beneficial with drops in crime rates and better relations between the police force and the community they serve.

    To be honest, every time I hear the phrase “defund the police force” I cringe. There are reforms that need to be put in place, preferably at the local levels. But if those are not happening or they are not working as intended, perhaps it is time for a federal intervention. Consent decrees aren’t working. Maybe the Camden plan would.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “There are reforms that need to be put in place, preferably at the local levels. But if those are not happening or they are not working as intended, perhaps it is time for a federal intervention.”

      Federal intervention is one of the things I most oppose. That would be a sure invitation to tyranny or totalitarianism. In fact, I see a federal takeover of law enforcement as a likely ulterior motive behind the “abolish the police” proposal.


      1. I see you point and don’t disagree. That is why I used the word “perhaps”. It is more of a question of necessity from the federal side to help initiate the changes at the local levels.

        Camden has around 80,000 people, so solutions that worked there could POSSIBLY work in other small and mid-sized cities across the country. But it could also be expanded, by necessary scope based on population and demographics.

        The current system is actually working the way it was set up post-Civil War. THAT appears to be the bigger issue with reform. That and police unions not willing to find a way forward.


  3. A phrase I’ve heard in the last weeks is that police should not be warriors, but rather guardians. Loading up police with military gear, using SWAT teams for routine warrants (like the Chesapeake case), and a culture of “us v them” are what need to change.

    There have been many examples of police interacting with demonstrators and the violence was minimal. Police presence and how they act are big factors in how a crowd reacts.

    Then there is this conundrum:


    “According to The Counted, the Guardian’s special project to track every police killing this year, there were 59 fatal police shootings in the US for the days between 1 January and 24 January.

    According to data collected by the UK advocacy group Inquest, there have been 55 fatal police shootings – total – in England and Wales from 1990 to 2014.

    The US population is roughly six times that of England and Wales. According to the World Bank, the US has a per capita intentional homicide rate five times that of the UK.“

    And it is not that UK is a pacifist society. Their gangs and soccer hooligans are banned in other countries. They have a lot of immigrants, poor areas, etc.

    Maybe we just love violence as a culture. We have fought more wars in the last 75 years than anyone else. We have sold more arms worldwide. We kill each other, and ourselves, at an alarming rate. And our police act like occupying forces in many jurisdictions. We rate movies with bare boobs R, but bloody fights PG-13. And we have a love affair with guns unlike any other industrial nation in the world.

    Maybe it is time to reorganize and rebuild our constabulary. As a start to a more civil society.


    Liked by 1 person

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