What “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights” Really Means

“The surest sanctuary for freedom for a people
is not in constitutions or in bills of rights,
but rather in the mind of the people and
in their attitudes towards those
who encroach on their rights.”

– Carl Watner

Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights

But what is a right?

A right implies the freedom to act without interference.

You have the right to act as you see fit so long as you don’t infringe on the equal rights of another. As the saying goes, your right to extend your fist stops at my nose.

A right implies ownership, or control of property. First and foremost, you have ownership of your person. You own yourself. Secondly, you own your rightfully-acquired property.

If you violate another person or their property you are initiating force, and they then, have the right to use defensive force to protect themselves or their property. The same is true no matter where on the globe you happened to be born, your gender, skin pigmentation, or any other arbitrary characteristic.

Rights can be violated, but not given or taken away.

What does it mean if someone wearing a badge demands your money when you’ve caused no victim? Or searches and seizes your vehicle, or kidnaps and cages your person, though you’ve done nothing that violates the rights of another? It means that they are acting as if they own you. They are exerting control over your person and property, which is a right that only belongs to the owner — you.

That’s why we say: Badges don’t grant extra rights. And it’s why your own mindset is the most important factor during any police interaction.


Just after you walk across the street a stranger wearing baggy pants and a hoodie approaches and demands fifty dollars, or else. What you choose to do – verbally deescalate, walk away, or call them out – is up to you, but without question, that stranger does not have a right to your money. You have not harmed any person or property. That fact does not change one iota were that stranger to be wearing, not baggie pants and a hoodie, but a badge and police costume.

Claims of enforcing “the law” or any dictate scribbled on paper or found in a code book, does not exonerate the actor, whom alone is responsible for their actions.

When you understand this, you will clearly see through the charade that is today’s police state.

Filming the police is good. It creates an objective record and makes it more likely that the systemic pattern of unaccountability will be seen by others, and that aggressors will be held accountable – perhaps not through the injustice system, but through the court of public opinion. But filming isn’t enough. To eliminate the rights violations by police employees, live your life as though badges don’t grant extra rights. This is the lynchpin that will set you free.

“If the government directed you to do something that
your reason opposed, you were to defy the government.
If it told you to do what your reason told you to do anyway,
you do not need a government.”

– Epictetus


Pete Eyre

Pete Eyre is co-founder of CopBlock.org. As an advocate of peaceful, consensual interactions, he seeks to inject a message of complete liberty and self-government into the conversation of police accountability. Eyre went to undergrad and grad school for law enforcement, then spent time in DC as an intern at the Cato Institute, a Koch Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, Directer of Campus Outreach at the Institute for Humane Studies, Crasher-in-Chief at Bureaucrash, and as a contractor for the Future of Freedom Foundation. In 2009 he left the belly of the beast and hit the road with Motorhome Diaries and later co-founded Liberty On Tour. He spent time in New Hampshire home, and was involved with Free Keene, the Free State Project and The Daily Decrypt.