Thin blue line the bane of liberty

Police power is government power and vice versa. Government by definition, by nature, by history and by practical existence is police power. Government would not and could not exist without police power. When governments lose their police power, they collapse, as I explained in “Police power is the foundation of the state.”

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)It is amazing how many people there are out there when it comes to cognitive dissonance regarding police. They claim to distrust big government  yet they worship the military and police and regard them as “heroes” when, in reality, they are the symbol of big government, tyranny and loss of liberty.

Watch the video at the end. If there is any such thing as a frying pan hell, the bastard with the shotgun earned himself a front row seat. — jtl, 419


The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2)  Elbridge Gerry, in a debate in the House of Representatives in 1789, called a standing army “the bane of liberty.”

The U.S. is now almost 76 years into a period of a continuous standing army (the draft was instituted in 1940), 45 years into the “War on Drugs” declared by Richard Nixon, and 26 years into what has come to be a perpetual war. The signs of the effects of these “wars” and the resulting “standing army” are all around and assaulting us daily.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3) Few subjects cost me as many “friends” and readers — among law-and-order conservatives, especially — as when I point out the abusive and tyrannical nature of police power and the LEO (legally entitled to oppress) class. Doing so inevitably results in all manner of vitriol, scorn, contumely and calumny hurled my way — as well as threats to unsubscribe.

Combat Shooter's HandbookBoth law-and-order conservatives and progressive/statists suffer from cognitive dissonance regarding police. Conservatives claim to eschew and distrust big, tyrannical government, yet nothing symbolizes big government, tyranny and loss of liberty than the military and LEOs, whom conservatives hail as heroes. Progressive/statists love big government and trust government implicitly as being beatific, and then seem to think of the police as the Gestapo and the military as baby killers. Some of them are now calling for police forces to be disbanded.

Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps Institute Police power is government power and vice versa. Government by definition, by nature, by history and by practical existence is police power. Government would not and could not exist without police power. When governments lose their police power, they collapse, as I explained in “Police power is the foundation of the state.”

The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsThere are now dozens of Federal police forces, none of which are sanctioned by the U.S. Constitution, not that the Constitution matters in Washington, or much of anywhere else anymore, for that matter. Beyond Homeland Security, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, even the Departments of Education, Departments of Agriculture and the Federal Reserve have armed and militarized police forces. But our focus today is on state and local police.

A Handbook for Ranch Managers Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewThe increasing number of instances of police shooting civilians (1,208 in 2015, up from 773 in 2013, and already 581 in 2016) and militaristic police responses when making arrests, carrying out drug raids and in response to protests in places like Ferguson, Missouri, are proof that the so-called “thin blue line” is becoming increasingly militant and increasingly militarized and is the bane of liberty.

Police have morphed from the quaint notion that they were once “peace officers” into the reality that they are “law enforcers.” But as occasional Personal Liberty,® contributor William Norman Grigg points out, policing was militarized from the start. LEOs see it as their job to “enforce” the law no matter what it takes and no matter how ridiculous the law may be, or even regardless of whether the law actually exists. Most of the laws they enforce are victimless crimes (traffic laws, pedestrian laws, gun possession, prostitution, drug use, etc.) with laws forbidding those acts created to serve as revenue streams for local government and/or to steal the people’s liberties.

If there’s no actual law to enforce, police often  make one or more up out of thin air, claiming that innocuous activities like watching or videotaping police activities — including arrests on public streets,  walking in certain neighborhoods, parking on certain streets, putting trash in trash cans and misbehaving in school — are crimes. And if they determine that you are carrying too much cash or that anything you have can be considered “contraband,” they just seize it, often without even charging you with a crime.

They can and often will deliberately lie to you or manipulate you in order to trick you into confessing to some crime. And they often use blackmail against people they’ve “caught” in a “crime” in order to turn them into informants or worse. There are even instances of this being done with minors without their parents’ knowledge or consent, see here, here, here and here.

And that police are often decked out in full military gear – black or camouflage uniforms, helmets, flack vests and tactical boots and armed with military weapons, including RPGs – indicates they are prepared to use whatever force is necessary to “enforce” the “law.”

While the vilest offenders are SWAT teams who batter down doors in the middle of the night and throw flashbang grenades into babies’ cribs, little girls’ rooms and old lady’s living rooms under the guise of prosecuting the “War on Drugs,” even regular patrol officers now become violent at the least provocation. Thanks to YouTube and similar content-sharing sites, more of these incidents are coming to light. However, capturing video of these incidents has put the videographer at risk from the police, who often unlawfully and forcibly take the phone or camera and erase its contents or remove its memory card.

It’s not unusual for the videographer to be roughed up and/or threatened with arrest or actually arrested in the process. A list of recent incidences of police brutality and other police misconduct can be read at sites like CATO’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project,   CounterCurrent News and Cop Block. Those sites are populated with new instances daily. We also highlight them from time to time here. Those who claim police abuse incidents are isolated and rare are propagandized and deceiving themselves – or lying on behalf of the police state.

Two years ago I reported about how local law enforcement was becoming more dangerous thanks to surplus military equipment and federal government policy making such equipment available almost free to local and state governments. But one stipulation of receiving the military equipment is that it must be used to “fight crime.”

I could find no direct statistics on the number of veterans becoming police officers, but increasingly, ranks of the local police forces are being populated by former or current military. That was accelerated beginning in 2012 under the Department of JustUs’ COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) funding program requiring that all patrol openings on local police forces be filled by veterans with at least 180 days of active duty since 9/11. That program lasted three years. And many agencies still give preference to veterans in hiring practices by adding extra points to entry exams and through other means.

Some people see military service as a direct path into law enforcement careers. And almost all people moving from military to the ranks of LEOs are now “combat veterans,” given that we have been at war during the entire lifetimes of those in their early- to mid-20s that are now entering the workforce.

An article on discusses whether the transition from military to police is a “natural transition.” Sentiment among combat veterans was mixed, with some saying “the profession is the least suitable career choice for veterans who are still working out emotional issues from deployments. And some veterans consider a career in law enforcement because they consider it one of the few viable options in a challenging job market.”

However, police continue to actively recruit veterans, according to

Veterans face challenges that civilians do not. Some are unsure how to express to potential employers how skills learned in the military translate to the civilian job market. Some return with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury and wonder if those conditions will be a deal-breaker if they reveal them when interviewing for a job.

So the notion of taking military skills to a civilian agency that has a similar structure can be appealing. And that’s a two-way street. Several job fairs for veterans have been held in the Bay Area over the past few months. They all seem to feature multiple law enforcement agencies looking to hire.

“The veterans we’re trying to reach out to, they have the set of skills, the discipline and the training where they would easily transition from the military to civilian law enforcement,” said San Francisco police Officer Gregory Pak, who manned an information table at a Hiring Our Heroes job fair in Walnut Creek in April, and on the USS Hornet in Alameda in August. “It’s a win-win.”

And according to

Vets bring bona fide decision-making experience and solid leadership skills to the police ranks. And there’s strong evidence that many police departments are realizing the value of veterans when looking to hire the best candidates for the job. Many recruiters know that a police force diversified with college-educated officers, military veteran officers, and some who have both been to college and to war is a win for everyone.

What is their skill set? Military people are trained to kill people and break things. They are trained that there is the enemy and there is “us,” and the enemy is trying to kill “us.” That fosters an us vs. them attitude that is not conducive to “peace keeping” but is quite conducive to “enforcing,” and is likely behind much of the abusive attitude LEOs exhibit toward civilians.

And it’s not just civilians being abused by police. Studies have found that at least 40 percent of police officer families experience domestic violence. In other words, police are about four times more likely to abuse their spouses and children than the general population. If they so easily abuse their loved ones, it’s no surprise they so readily abuse people they do not know.

And history has shown that fellow officers more often than not look the other way or outright cover for their fellow officers who are engaged in wrongdoing and overt crimes. Even officers who don’t participate or who object to the unethical or illegal deeds of their fellow LEOs are loath to stop or report bad behavior, either out of “police loyalty” or for fear of retaliation.

Police enjoy qualified immunity, but they also enjoy almost total immunity from abusing citizens, as a report in The Washington Post found. LEOs often aren’t held accountable for their crimes because the police, district attorneys and judges enjoy a special relationship in that they are on the same “side” in most cases; and because the American public sitting on juries has been propagandized into believing that cops are paragons of virtue who put their lives on the line in deadly situations daily to stand between the vast marauding criminal element (and Muslim terrorists) and the people.

The black lives matter crowd claiming racism is behind police abuse incidents are both right and wrong. More whites than blacks are killed by police by a ratio of almost 2 to 1, but blacks make up only 17 percent of the population. But it’s likely not racism behind the disparity, but the “War on Drugs” and government social programs that have destroyed black families and job opportunities for blacks, resulting in them being driven into the drug and gang culture that naturally exposes them to more confrontations with police.

Finally, we come to the extrajudicial killing of the Dallas police shooting suspect. Chief David Brown is being hailed by those on the “right” for his response in the wake of the carnage. We are told that, after a couple hours of “negotiation” with the suspect, Brown gave the ultimatum for the suspect to “surrender or be killed.” This is a mirror of the Barack Obama policy of drone bombing “terror suspects” without judicial process.

Americans still have Constitutional protections guaranteed under the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments that the shooting suspect was not afforded by Brown’s action. If media reports are to be believed, the suspect had been cornered and trapped, and he could have been waited out or flushed out and subdued. Instead, he was bombed by an armed robot. Brown served as judge, jury and executioner.

When police chiefs and other LEOs shoot and beat to death subdued suspects and/or those who aren’t posing an immediate threat to them or others, they have likewise become the judge, jury and executioner. They have become the law. And in doing so they have destroyed the rule of law and liberty.

Until people – especially “law-and-order” conservatives — understand this, people and LEOs will continue to die.

Update: This was written prior to the attack on police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Sunday. We condemn in the strongest possible terms unjustified and unnecessary violence and aggressive action against police officers as we do against the public.

Editor’s note: Having written on this subject many times, I know the questions that will arise, so I will answer some of them in advance. One is, “Livingston, what’s your answer?” Knowing it will be mostly be dismissed out of hand because of normalcy bias, the answer is private security. See here, here and here. Here is another possible solution, though I disagree with the idea of federal involvement. Another is, “So Livingston, who are you gonna call when you get robbed?” Because I have no other options, if I call anyone it will likely be police. But hopefully it is to report there is a subdued robber in my home who needs picked up. I would not expect them to arrive in time to thwart the robber, nor would I expect them to find the stolen goods if the robber escapes, as there is less than a 1 in 5 chance they will do so. Another will certainly be, “So Livingston, you advocate shooting cops?” That question is stupid on its face. I do not advocate or endorse offensive violence in any form. Nor do I think all cops are bad people. There are certainly many police officers with good and honest hearts who become police officers with noble reasons. But when LEOs enforce tyrannical laws just because they are laws, or if they “look away” when their fellow officers cross the line, they no longer have good and honest hearts but become part of the system. And liberty-stealing laws passed by the political class are nothing more than “sound and bluster” and ink on paper without the LEO class to enforce them.  Take for instance the  unconstitutional gun laws being passed and enforced in California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, etc. LEOs who enforce such laws do not have “good and honest” hearts or noble motives. –BL


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The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)The Essence of Liberty Volume III: Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic. This is the volume that pulls it all together. With reference to Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s description of Murray Rothbard’s work, it is a “unique contribution to the rediscovery of property and property rights as the common foundation of both economics and political philosophy, and the systematic reconstruction and conceptual integration of modern, marginalist economics and natural-law political philosophy into a unified moral science: libertarianism.” Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

You might be interested in the other two volumes of this three volume set: The Essence of Liberty Volume I: Liberty and History and The Essence of Liberty Volume II: The Economics of Liberty


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Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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