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Paradigm Shift

The old guard built this movement. Without them, it’s unlikely any of us would be aware that a liberty movement even exists! This alone is an accomplishment. And the history books will look favorably upon them for it - & justifiably so. Their preference for a political approach however, has been ineffective at bringing about liberty (just take a look around, if you’re still permitted). Progress hasn’t just stagnated, we’ve been losing ground rapidly. It’s time for a paradigm shift. One that moves away from the old way of thinking & instead focuses on teaching people how to opt out of corrupt systems & to build competing, market-based alternatives to state institutions. Like sports teams, ideas also get tired & worn out, old players retire, & new, fresh ideas take their place. In the world of ideas, when paradigm shifts occur, the old guard resists the change at first, but eventually comes around to seeing the benefits and virtues of the new way. This is how progres

Riots are Inevitable, Not Justified

Beginning Note: I do not condone the riots against or the looting of private citizens or private property. This is not a defense, it is an attempt at an explanation.

Across US cities, there have been protests to call for reform of the police and legal system that is responsible for the brutal murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. While the overwhelming majority of these have been peaceful events, much of the news coverage and government reaction has been in response to the rioting and looting that have become adjacent to the calls for justice.

Many are shocked at the almost complete breakdown of law in cities across the country. But these should not shock anyone. They are an inevitable product of our current legal system: a monopoly. The government and police claim to have a monopoly over the legitimate use of force, and when this monopoly is shown to be counterproductive to the preservation of law--that is the protection of person and private property--we can only expect chaos.

The police have shown that they are not here to protect you or your property. Most obviously, they have shown it by the brutal murder of George Floyd and the lethal ambush of Breonna Taylor. When protesters took to the streets to fight this injustice and demand reform, several police departments began to fire tear gas and rubber bullets into peaceful crowds exercising rights allegedly protected by the constitution. One video sent to me by a victim of tear gassing shows just that. The police have also shown that they are incapable and/or uninterested in protecting private property of local businesses once protests turn violent. Some have even suggested that the police were the one who started the riots using agent provocateur tactics. Others say that it was started by white nationalist or antifa. It is likely some combination of those three agents and natural, justified anger boiling over into unjustified violence. What is one to do when the monopoly fails to protect you and your property? When one Minnesota man tried to defend himself and his store by using deadly self defense, the police came and arrested him! They refuse to give up their monopoly of force even when it has deteriorated to having to protect their own murderers.

Much of this violence--both from the police system and the riots--have had a disproportionately negative effect on People of Color. 27% of fatal police shootings kill Black Americans when they represent only 13% of the entire US population. In fact, one Louisville protester was fatally shot by either the LMPD or the KY National Guard. There have been countless videos from local Black business owners who have seen their stores become the targets of chaos. One video shows a Muslim man named Hassan and his store after looters stole much of his inventory. An opinion piece in the Washington Examiner also argues that minorities are hit hardest by the looting.

What can we do to stop this from happening? Many have suggested political reform to curb the unaccountable police system we currently live in. Congressman Justin Amash of the Libertarian Party has proposed a bill that would “eliminate qualified immunity”. Cliff Maloney, President of Young Americans for Liberty, has said he will work for six real solutions. Others have called for mandatory liability insurance for police officers so that the taxpayer does not have to pay for the mistakes of the State and so that higher premiums will regulate ‘bad apples.’ All of these solutions are ideas that I support. I believe implementing these and other accountability measures will help to lessen police brutality. I hope to help these political solutions become realities.

But can we look beyond our political system for a solution? The heart of the problem is that the State exercises a monopoly on force. Imagine a system that lacked that inherent problem. For example, what if policing was done by competing insurance firms that did not have a monopoly on violence?

First, and most importantly, the firms would have no reason to use excessive force against their own customers. But what if a racist private police officer still used his power to murder? I cannot claim this would never happen. But from the start, it would be discouraged internally--whereas government police have an infamous internal protection. When the LMPD murdered Breonna Taylor, how many people could say, “You know what? I do not want to be policed by them anymore!” In a private system, media attention on killings would cause customers to switch from one firm to another, creating an incentive for police to be more refrained. Private police also would never have the shield of sovereign immunity.

Second, the firms would support local businesses if riots ever broke out. In the video of Hassan, he says that he has insurance but that repair and replacing will still be expensive. What if the insurance company was the one responsible for protecting his business? They would have an incentive to do this so that they do not have to cover claims. And they would certainly never have arrested the Minnesota man for protecting his own property!

We need solutions to the growing problem of unaccountable police. Some of these include political reform and I commend the work being done by those who are helping to get these passed. We should also consider more fundamental changes to our police system, though. It is clear that Americans are ready for change.

Derrell McIver @BenjaminDMyles1


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