I don’t think, that in a republic, people should live that way

Having woken up early this morning with a nightmare unrelated to the police, but related to feelings, I think I can say a big part of what makes me angry here is the sense of helplessness and powerlessness.

The government has the power to destroy my life, even kill me, or a member of my family. The government uses that power arbitrarily. If I defend myself, I might win in court, but my life will still be destroyed. I have no sense that the monster will only go after the wicked anymore. The police are its claws and teeth.

I no longer believe that I have any power over what the government does. I am not well connected enough, or rich enough. There are other people in power, other people with connections. Not me. The best I can do is hope that the beast does not decide to go after me.

I don’t think, that in a republic, people should live that way.

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Author: Bryan G. Stephens

Bryan G. Stephens is a former executive on a mission to transform the workplace. He is the founder and CEO of TalkForward, a consulting and training company, utilizing Bryan’s clinical and management expertise to develop managers and teams in a corporate environment. As a licensed therapist with strong understanding of developing human potential, he is dedicated to the development of Human Capital to meet the needs of leaders, managers, and employees in the 21st Century workplace. Bryan has an Executive MBA from Kennesaw State University, Coles School of Business, and both a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

31 thoughts on “I don’t think, that in a republic, people should live that way”

  1. I don’t have a lot of wisdom to offer but I understand this is the norm. Government is bad but anarchy is worse. Some governments are better than others, you can keep fighting to make it better and/or to be in a position of power.

    You are thinking of police who can abuse or kill you, but the legal system can take all your time, money, pride, and satisfaction in your work any time a con artist hooks up with a sleazy lawyer. You need overwhelming wealth and power to have a chance of beating them. If you don’t, know forever that whatever you work for and save can be seized for no good reason. It’s an evil enabled by civil law, as police brutality is an evil enabled by criminal law.

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  2. I almost hafta laugh: just last week, we felt the police had turned on US, they were willing to get tough with religious gatherings, with gym and hair salon owners.  We felt like we were living in a “police state”.
    Now that the dread police are the focus of the rioters’ hostility, what do we see?  We see ‘em running away, streaming outta their burning precinct houses like hornets when the nest is torched, abandoning their cruisers to be rolled and burned. Not so tough now, are ya, Officers?  It’s fine when you’re dealing with an unarmed, maybe even (the horror!) unmasked, jogger enjoying a park.  But, uh, these rioters are dangerous, a cop could get hurt….RUN AWAY!

    (Oh and so much for the hand-wringing over the supposed “militarization” of the police.  they don’t need tanks, to cow a habitually law- abiding citizen with a business or an occupational license to lose.  Why, a mere arrest for a misdemeanor charge, even if charges are later dropped, will do them  a lotta damage! And evidently, they’re scared  to deploy their  allegedly military-strength weaponry against genuine forces of anarchy.)

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  3. Perfect storm:  thanks to the Sinos Infection shutdowns, the threat of any kind of criminal justice process is non-existent right now.

    “Arrest anybody who throws a rock!” I just  heard Bongino say.  Okay,  and then what?  The courts are closed in most jurisdictions  till …maybe…sometime next month.  There is already a huge backlog of criminal defendants waiting for their speedy trial.  The wheels of justice are now hopelessly mired.  The “pipeline”is overflowing like a clogged toilet, there’s no room to put any more dung.

    I don’t know…I find it hard to believe the confluence of these  two situations: widespread rioting, widespread enforced idleness and economic destruction—Is a mere coincidence.  I think the ruin of our country was well-orchestrated.

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  4. Hypatia:
    I almost hafta laugh: just last week, we felt the police had turned on US, they were willing to get tough with religious gatherings, with gym and hair salon owners.  We felt like we were living in a “police state”.
    Now that the dread police are the focus of the rioters’ hostility, what do we see?  We see ‘em running away, streaming outta their burning precinct houses like hornets when the nest is torched, abandoning their cruisers to be rolled and burned. Not so tough now, are ya, Officers?  It’s fine when you’re dealing with an unarmed, maybe even (the horror!) unmasked, jogger enjoying a park.  But, uh, these rioters are dangerous, a cop could get hurt….RUN AWAY!

    (Oh and so much for the hand-wringing over the supposed “militarization” of the police.  they don’t need tanks, to cow a habitually law- abiding citizen with a business or an occupational license to lose.  Why, a mere arrest for a misdemeanor charge, even if charges are later dropped, will do them  a lotta damage! And evidently, they’re scared  to deploy their  allegedly military-strength weaponry against genuine forces of anarchy.)

    Except they did deploy them against the rioters of Ferguson and then most recently in a small town of Texas.

    Your juxtaposition of the cops vs the salon workers and the cops vs the rioters is pretty good. Cops are weak people. Bullies deserve what they get.

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  5. Hypatia:
    Perfect storm:  thanks to the Sinos Infection shutdowns, the threat of any kind of criminal justice process is non-existent right now.

    “Arrest anybody who throws a rock!” I just  heard Bongino say.  Okay,  and then what?  The courts are closed in most jurisdictions  till …maybe…sometime next month.  There is already a huge backlog of criminal defendants waiting for their speedy trial.  The wheels of justice are now hopelessly mired.  The “pipeline”is overflowing like a clogged toilet, there’s no room to put any more dung.

    I don’t know…I find it hard to believe the confluence of these  two situations: widespread rioting, widespread enforced idleness and economic destruction—Is a mere coincidence.  I think the ruin of our country was well-orchestrated.

    I can recall Prof. Niall Ferguson saying the when collapse comes it usually comes very rapidly. This does seem very rapid.

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  6. Jojo:
    Government is bad but anarchy is worse. Some governments are better than others, you can keep fighting to make it better and/or to be in a position of power.

    Lots of people say this, but is it really the case?  What many would now call effective anarchy has been the state in which most people have lived over human history.  The rise of the powerful mega-state is something which dates mostly from the 19th century, when technological progress in transportation and communications allowed control to be exercised far from the capital and for minions of the state to know what was going on in the provinces.  Before 1912, the only contact most people in the U.S. had with the federal government was the Post Office and a census taker every ten years.

    Is anarchy worse than the governments of Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Mao’s China, Stalin’s Soviet Union, or Hitler’s Germany?  Would the hundreds of millions of innocent people killed by these governments have preferred taking their chances on getting along without them and sorting things out privately via consensual arrangements?

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  7. “Consensual arrangements”  without any government sounds lovely, but what about when my neighbor, say, wants my house and I don’t consent so he kills me? Each individual has to protect his own life, liberty, and property under anarchy. That’s impossible so you form tribes, and now you have a government.

    Bad governments can be really, really bad.

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  8. Jojo:
    “Consensual arrangements”  without any government sounds lovely, but what about when my neighbor, say, wants my house and I don’t consent so he kills me? Each individual has to protect his own life, liberty, and property under anarchy. That’s impossible so you form tribes, and now you have a government.

    Bad governments can be really, really bad.

    But why would your neighbor automatically become a barbarian if government disappeared? That makes zero sense. Government has zero ability to civilize a population as evidenced by LA 1992, Ferguson, Minneapolis, and so on. I would say you are more likely to be safe in a neighborhood populated by church going folk than you would with people fully dependent on the state.

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  9. Jojo:
    Each individual has to protect his own life, liberty, and property under anarchy. That’s impossible so you form tribes, and now you have a government

    Each individual does not have to protect their life, liberty, and property themselves: they can hire private services which provide these functions, and generally are less expensive and more effective than those provided by a monopoly government.  This is why most private companies hire private security firms instead of relying on the cops, and why if you really want it to get there, you send it by UPS or Federal Express rather than the post office.  When the mob assaulted the police station in Minneapolis, the government withdrew and let them destroy it.  Try doing that to your local Securitas (brrrr…) office and see what happens.

    David Friedman’s classic The Machinery of Freedom (available as a free PDF from the author’s Web site) describes how private enterprise and charity can replace essentially every function of government.  He estimates that replacing government monopoly services with private providers will roughly halve the cost paid for those services.

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  10. Robert A. McReynolds:
    It’s a sad day when even so called Conservatives have to be convinced that the government is a severely flawed institution.

    Flawed but necessary. The problem arises with a fully secular godless government. No plumb line. And no, I don’t want to live in a theocracy either.

    A faithless people become ungovernable and elect shitty leaders.

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  11. Bryan G. Stephens:
    Private security means the man with the most money has the biggest personal army.

    And when my private security force raises its price do I shop around? Really? Private security force sounds awfully like “protection” if I am an individual. Unless I am a very wealthy, very powerful individual.

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  12. Jojo:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    Private security means the man with the most money has the biggest personal army.

    And when my private security force raises its price do I shop around? Really? Private security force sounds awfully like “protection” if I am an individual. Unless I am a very wealthy, very powerful individual.

    Yes.  Only the 1 % can afford the sort of security that John Walker envisions.  Everyone else would get caught up in one protection racket or another.

    Anarchy only lasts for a very brief period of time.  Then it quickly is either overtaken by hostile neighbors (which won’t happen to the U.S.A.), or else it devolves into feudalism.

    Cities would get carved up into drug gang turfs.  The rural countryside would become the provinces of the militias (some good, some bad).

    That also would last for a brief period of time, until the utility companies played out.  When the water, gas and electric power stop flowing in the cities, then true violent chaos ensues.  Some city gangs get the idea that they will go overtake a small town that has managed to keep its utilities on, and real war begins.

    This dystopian future is not hard to imagine.  In fact, if we fail to re-elect President Trump, it looms ever more likely.

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  13. In between anarchy and outsourced private security is “skin in the game”, “do it yourself with your neighbors” ad hoc security. Actually considering defense of self (and community) has become so unfashionable in America it seems to have been forgotten even here. God-given rights, after all, come with some difficult but righteous duties attached. Yes, that is scary, but, as has been observed in this thread, that has been option one for most of history.

    I have been in touch with some of my neighbors with an eye toward organizing nighttime neighborhood patrols. My residential development of around 200 homes, while not a gated community, is 10 miles outside the city and has only three access roads. This means that intrusions would be relatively easily monitored. What people will become willing to do depends, of course, on the perceived proximity of the threat. Some of the protesters felons, looters engaged in mayhem have announced they are “coming to the suburbs”. If they do, the need for self-defense will be, I imagine, remembered and enjoy a quick resurgence. I don’t expect violent intrusion on suburban neighborhoods will result in choruses of kumbaya.

    As to causes, truth, as we know here, is in short supply in America and naturally, what is broadcast is one-sided. The truth is that two things are taking place simultaneously. One, the police represent the tip of the increasingly-authoritarian state spear and – reflecting the ethos of their political superiors – they demand obedience and increasingly default to aggressive demands and intimidation (peaceable family members have faced such treatment recently and it was entirely inappropriate). At the same time, there is a segment of the population with ‘in your face’, ‘attitude’, directed at most anyone (not long ago, on a bus, I heard loud voices in the rear; I turned to merely look, almost by reflex and was greeted with a threatening, aggressive “What you lookin’ at whitey?”)  – but especially the police.

    I suspect the guy that threatened me for looking at a loud voice would do no less for a cop. There is plenty of blame to go around, but, as is increasingly the case, the whole truth cannot be said out loud. Yep, the cops are at times out of control but there exist possible mechanisms for dealing with that. Police are also, at times, put  in an impossible double bind by guys who get off on daring them to act.

    If there is a way to put a stop to that kind of behavior, I don’t know what it is – particularly in light of the ethos resulting from identity politics as practiced 24/7/365 (for 50 years) by the left. As well, many anti-police ‘activists’ insist violence is not just acceptable nowadays. To hear them tell it, it is de rigeur.  There is little doubt that racial incitement in the economic aftermath of the pandemic lockdown constitutes an especially explosive environment. One would think community leaders and ‘media’ would recognize those facts and urge calm. Since that is not the case, perhaps they have another agenda. They may be wanting to show us whether Trump can trump widespread civil unrest.

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  14. MJBubba:

    Jojo:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    Private security means the man with the most money has the biggest personal army.

    And when my private security force raises its price do I shop around? Really? Private security force sounds awfully like “protection” if I am an individual. Unless I am a very wealthy, very powerful individual.

    Yes.  Only the 1 % can afford the sort of security that John Walker envisions.  Everyone else would get caught up in one protection racket or another.

    Anarchy only lasts for a very brief period of time.  Then it quickly is either overtaken by hostile neighbors (which won’t happen to the U.S.A.), or else it devolves into feudalism.

    Cities would get carved up into drug gang turfs.  The rural countryside would become the provinces of the militias (some good, some bad).

    That also would last for a brief period of time, until the utility companies played out.  When the water, gas and electric power stop flowing in the cities, then true violent chaos ensues.  Some city gangs get the idea that they will go overtake a small town that has managed to keep its utilities on, and real war begins.

    This dystopian future is not hard to imagine.  In fact, if we fail to re-elect President Trump, it looms ever more likely.

    Hogwash!! Then why are iPhones accessible to the middle class and below? Flat screens? The truth of the matter is that products in an open market do decrease in price over time and become attainable by a vast majority of the consuming population. It’s when government intervenes do the prices become astronomical like college tuition and medical care.

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  15. Robert A. McReynolds:

    MJBubba:

    Jojo:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    Private security means the man with the most money has the biggest personal army.

    And when my private security force raises its price do I shop around? Really? Private security force sounds awfully like “protection” if I am an individual. Unless I am a very wealthy, very powerful individual.

    Yes.  Only the 1 % can afford the sort of security that John Walker envisions.  Everyone else would get caught up in one protection racket or another.

    Anarchy only lasts for a very brief period of time.  Then it quickly is either overtaken by hostile neighbors (which won’t happen to the U.S.A.), or else it devolves into feudalism.

    Cities would get carved up into drug gang turfs.  The rural countryside would become the provinces of the militias (some good, some bad).

    That also would last for a brief period of time, until the utility companies played out.  When the water, gas and electric power stop flowing in the cities, then true violent chaos ensues.  Some city gangs get the idea that they will go overtake a small town that has managed to keep its utilities on, and real war begins.

    This dystopian future is not hard to imagine.  In fact, if we fail to re-elect President Trump, it looms ever more likely.

    Hogwash!! Then why are iPhones accessible to the middle class and below? Flat screens? The truth of the matter is that products in an open market do decrease in price over time and become attainable by a vast majority of the consuming population. It’s when government intervenes do the prices become astronomical like college tuition and medical care.

    We are not talking about products.  We are talking about security as a service, which means guys with guns paid to guard private property.  That works great in settled peacetime.

    But when confronted by a gang of armed thugs, how many security guards are paid enough to risk their lives for the sake of the properties at risk?   Those guys that John linked to make really good money, and are recruited from the ranks of the sort of violent men who were so violent that they got drummed out of police or military service.  That level of pay for security is beyond the reach of anyone below upper class.

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  16. MJBubba:
    Those guys that John linked to make really good money, and are recruited from the ranks of the sort of violent men who were so violent that they got drummed out of police or military service.  That level of pay for security is beyond the reach of anyone below upper class.

    They provide security at the grocery store near my cow town.

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  17. John Walker:

    MJBubba:
    Those guys that John linked to make really good money, and are recruited from the ranks of the sort of violent men who were so violent that they got drummed out of police or military service.  That level of pay for security is beyond the reach of anyone below upper class.

    They provide security at the grocery store near my cow town.

    I am sure they offer a variety of service packages.  The cost of service will go up astronomically the first time they encounter a marauding gang of heavily-armed thugs intent on violence and robbery.

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  18. Robert A. McReynolds:

    MJBubba:

    Jojo:

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    Private security means the man with the most money has the biggest personal army.

    And when my private security force raises its price do I shop around? Really? Private security force sounds awfully like “protection” if I am an individual. Unless I am a very wealthy, very powerful individual.

    Yes.  Only the 1 % can afford the sort of security that John Walker envisions.  Everyone else would get caught up in one protection racket or another.

    Anarchy only lasts for a very brief period of time.  Then it quickly is either overtaken by hostile neighbors (which won’t happen to the U.S.A.), or else it devolves into feudalism.

    Cities would get carved up into drug gang turfs.  The rural countryside would become the provinces of the militias (some good, some bad).

    That also would last for a brief period of time, until the utility companies played out.  When the water, gas and electric power stop flowing in the cities, then true violent chaos ensues.  Some city gangs get the idea that they will go overtake a small town that has managed to keep its utilities on, and real war begins.

    This dystopian future is not hard to imagine.  In fact, if we fail to re-elect President Trump, it looms ever more likely.

    Hogwash!! Then why are iPhones accessible to the middle class and below? Flat screens? The truth of the matter is that products in an open market do decrease in price over time and become attainable by a vast majority of the consuming population. It’s when government intervenes do the prices become astronomical like college tuition and medical care.

    The moment someone can legally hire an army they will.

    The private police force idea is childish. What happens when I steal from you? Your police are going to come get me, right? What if my police don’t let them. See, I am rich. My police have one customer, me. And they have all the firepower they need to stop your police from arresting me.

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  19. Omitted in this and other conversations on the topic is the fact that the Police are not security.  They are law enforcement.  Hence the usual conversation:

    “I feel unsafe, what can you do for me?”

    “Well, what laws have been broken?”

    Various jurisdictions admit this truth to varying degrees.

    It is a good approach and in my opinion the best.  It lays duties about evenly, as it discourages indulgence in risk via moral hazard.  The efficiency of the system obviously breaks down when everything else does, but we accept this, as we claim to oppose the police state which would be necessary to prevent this breakdown.  As others have pointed out (Hyp?) social order is a participatory phenomenon.  Only a population willing to expect and enforce a civilized society will benefit from a civilizing police.

    We’re screwed.

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