Yesterday Nelson Mandela, who led the African National Congress to the reigns of power in South Africa in 1994, passed away. Much of the global media is praising Mandela’s impact as a leader, but is claiming the right to control others the mark of someone who should be lauded? That question isn’t posed with Mandela alone in mind, but for anyone who believes it just to force their views on others at the barrel of a gun.
Government – and by that I mean an association of individuals who claim the right to steal money from others within an arbitrary political boundary, and who claim the sole ability to provide a certain goods and services (often included is protection, and thus police) – always suffer from perverse incentives.
Albert Camus wrote that, “Men who have greatness within them don’t go in for politics.” Yes, it’s clear that Mandela was charismatic and spoke to many people, but true, positive change can never happen through the ballot box – which is just a symbol to legitimize the double-standards claimed by one group over another.
Mandela’s government promised housing and better standards of living to millions, yet, unsurprisingly, that has failed to materialize. Again, that’s said not to castigate Mandela as a person, but to make clear the futility of granting allegiance to a coercive monopoly, despite the figurehead, banner or rhetoric. The sooner we each stop looking externally for what’s acceptable or not, and instead, govern ourselves and engage in consensual interactions, the sooner the problems government actors claim to address will be mitigated or eliminated.
The six weeks spent in South Africa as part of the Police Accountability Tour underscored to me that most people are generally good, and that the same factors exist everywhere – just to a different degree. For example, in South Africa, a police employee might demand from another a ransom, while in the states that ransom claimed happens only after a more polished veneer – a bureaucratic process or a visit to legaland. Some see the former as more barbaric and the latter more civilized, yet at the end of the day, both are still theft.
I’d rather live free with some peril than be a protected slave of government.
– Dave Duffy
Admittedly, the statements made above are a bit sweeping for inclusion here at CopBlock.org (and to be clear, this is a decentralized project, they come from me alone), but broad as they may be, as is expounded-upon in the second video below Focus on the Institution, I believe it holds true not just for the provision of safety, but for every good or service.
OTHER VIDEOS FROM SOUTH AFRICA:
- Cape Town Day 1 on the Police Accountability Tour
- Censorship in Cape Town Part 1: Dejerah Detains
- Censorship in Cape Town Part 2: Video Recovery
- Cape Town Cops Employ Stop & Frisk
- Cape Town Cop’s unfounded claim: Filming arrests is a crime
- South Africa Police Service Needs to Clean House says Liza Grobler
- Police in South Africa, What is Possible? with Elrena van der Spuy
- South Africa police at crossroads, says Sean Tait
- South Africa: Drug Prohibition Always Fails