Want to End Police Brutality? Focus on the Institution

If you visit CopBlock.org, even infrequently, or if you pay attention to media outlets other than those considered mainstream, you are undoubtedly aware of the double-standards claimed, and granted by many, to those who wear badges, which facilitates a reality of institutionalized violence. Such iterations will continue, and will grow in frequency and severity until the institution itself is changed. Though such a task might sound daunting, it isn’t.

It necessitates only the withdrawal of your consent, which will happen after you reject the bad idea on which the police state is based – that a “legitimate” right to initiate force can be claimed by some people (those who wear badges) – and replace it with a better idea – that we all have the same rights, no matter our place of employment (or unemployment, and for that matter, our place of birth, gender, color of skin, or any other characteristic).

Today we see that more often than not, an aggressor wearing a badge gets away with their misdeed. That has to stop. The institution must be delegitimized; Only then will all individuals be held to the same standards.

strike-the-rootIdeas have consequences.

Related content: http://CopBlock.org/Knowledge

Transcript from Video

Do some individuals wearing badges brutalize others? Are peaceful people being maced? Tasered? Kidnapped and caged? And in some cases, murdered? Yes.

If you visit CopBlock.org, you’ll see that these incidents, unfortunate as they are, aren’t isolated.

This institutionalized violence is caused by the belief in a bad idea – that a group of people, most of whom you’ll never meet, have the right to run your life, because you’re supposedly not competent to do so yourself.

The institution, by its very existence, violates its stated objectives, and can never succeed due to the lack of market signals. When any good – be it shoes or food or policing – is provided by a monopoly, it is doomed to fail.

Put simply, police, as currently structured, lack the proper incentives.

Yes, like you or I, police employees are individually responsibly for their actions, and their misdeeds should be made transparent to help get accountability, but if one really wants to end police brutality, one must realize that at it’s core; it’s the institution itself that must change.

That is the lynchpin.

Thanks to decades of propaganda from government schools and the mainstream media a lot of people – myself included, once upon a time – have unthinkingly bought into that idea.

I realize my previous statements may be a bit esoteric for some, so let me give an example.

If you were an entrepreneur who manufactured and sold umbrellas, you could consider a number of measurable, objective factors to gauge your success. A comparison of sales from quarter to quarter, the output of your factory, or the percent of umbrellas that were returned defective.

Yet any such metric is absent from policing today, as the provision of the good said to be supplied – security and safety – is done so by a monopoly sheltered from competition.

You, selling umbrellas, depend on consensual interactions, whereas police today rely on coercive interactions.

If you, as the umbrella entrepreneur, identify an employee as under-performing or hostile to colleagues or customers, you could fire them, thus improving output, morale and customer service. That ability is noticeably void from policing, since the customers claimed are told to pay for the “service” provided, or else. Something only compounded by the politicking of police unions.

In fact, about the only thing measurable the monopoly of policing can cite is the increased number of enforcers on the payroll, or actions said to now be “illegal,” both of which make more likely an increase in the size and scope of their agency.

Such perverse incentives mean that policing, as currently structured, will always become more repressive, so that actions like writing with children’s chalk, selling raw milk, or collecting rain water are said to be “criminal.”

Text written by a person you’ve never met does not obligate you. So why pay criminals and their demands any attention?

A civilian review board is but a band-aid that only makes the situation more convoluted, replacing a current “leader” with one believed to be better, which still leaves intact the flawed institution. Reforming legislation – words on paper that some conflate to be “law” – fails to change the Statist Quo, since legitimacy is still granted to a monopolistic group who claim the sole right and ability to create and interpret actions permissible. If you believe your local police are corrupt or heavy-handed what real incentive do they have to change? Sure, a couple token scapegoats may be pointed to, but at the end of the day the same failed institution that allowed for such misdeeds is present.

To really bring about a better reality one must consider alternatives.

Some may point out that there are violent people out there who don’t wear badges. Yes, that’s unfortunately true as well.

But the striking difference is that police employees claim, and currently are granted by many, a “legitimate” right to initiate force, whereas the common criminal is not.

As Lysander Spooner succinctly pointed out 140 years ago:

The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. . . He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful “sovereign,” on account of the “protection” he affords you. He does not keep “protecting” you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. . . In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.

Think about it – police claim to serve and protect you, but they first steal from everyone who happens to live within a certain arbitrary political boundary.

If an police employee claims to”maintain order” yet also claims to be exempt of personal responsibility due to legalese created by his friends, like “acting under color of law” or “immunity,” it doesn’t create for a good situation.

It is that institutionalized, “legitimate” violence, that, through the course of human history, has by far been the most devastating – what one researcher has coined “democide.”

When you’re driving your car and see in your rearview mirror a police cruiser, how do you feel? Anxious? Nervous? It’s pretty telling that the presence of an individual who purports to keep you safe, and who steals your money for such “services,” causes such a reaction.

Again, it comes down to incentives.

If something is wrong for you or me to do, it can’t suddenly become right when done by someone wearing a badge. One’s level of culpability is not contingent on one’s place of employment.

By replacing support of the bad idea that allows for the police state with one that applies the same standards to all, we can create a better world in which to live, both for ourselves and future generations.

I’d guess most people – be they current police employees, Copblockers, or those relatively apathetic – would prefer to live in a safe, prosperous, dynamic society.

That’s a desirable end.

Yet buying into the claim that certain people have a “legitimate” right to initiate force can only bring-about the polar opposite. Perhaps then, it’s time to consider another means?

Let me pose to you a question: Who owns you?

If you don’t believe yourself a slave, you would rightly conclude that you own yourself.

With that self-ownership comes self-government: 100% freedom coupled with 100% responsibility.

Real change won’t come through a revolution – whether done at the ballet box or the cartridge box – but through an evolution, one mind at a time. A revolution – no matter the form it takes – is still couched at its hub, on a bad idea: that a person or small group supposedly has the authority to regulate every aspect of your life. An evolution, on the other hand, moves past that tired idea to one where you’re free to act, to pursue your happiness, while respecting others to do the same. Where, if you harm someone or their property, you make right. Where reputation is key.

Most folks are good. Yet for the few who aren’t, by making transparent their actions it’s more likely that they’ll be held accountable, which also means the extent of the harm they cause is mitigated more swiftly.

That’s why I choose to be involved with Cop Block – the message is consistent and peaceful, and it’s decentralized and effective.

In stark contrast to the provision of law enforcement today, in which a person atop a monopolistic hierarchy claims the ability to know best how to supply the quality and quantity of safety, Copblockers and friends work from the bottom up and collaborate horizontally, which means that means an infinite number of tactics can be pursued, to bring about accountability and to erode the bad idea on which the police state today is based, ultimately bringing about the world in which we want to live.

This message isn’t anti-cop. In fact I encourage current law enforcement employees to join us. If you do provide a good service then your skills and knowledge will be in demand.

We can change things for the better – each of us, one mind at a time. I encourage you to invest in yourself. Think. Then act, not based on some artificial framework thrust upon you as “the norm,” but aligned with your conscience.

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American Flag Blue Line Hat Chicago Police Department


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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.