The “defund police” idea has rightfully sparked a lot of controversy. Those words can mean very different things to different people, so clarity is needed. What do I think?
- I OPPOSE the Antifa vision of defunding the police, which would be chalked full of inequalities and random application of force as determined by Antifa thugs who think its ok to destroy property and harm anyone with whom you have a disagreement. That doesn’t solve the current problem of police abuse in many neighborhoods. It just changes who does the abusing. This is a recipe for complete disaster, and I can’t imagine many things more destructive to a community.
- I SUPPORT a model where public funding of police is removed, taxes are cut and the old system is replaced with a privately funded model where security contractors have a strictly defined contractual obligation to property owners and neighborhood residents, with equally restricted roles and responsibilities.
In fact, I will go EVEN FURTHER and support the idea of getting rid of publicly funded police, fire, schools and a lot more in order to adopt a privatized model in all areas of current “public” life. So, when I say “defund police” or fire departments or schools, we would still have private security, fire response firms and education, but all would be privately funded and directly responsible to the consumers, property owners and local residents. This means we would have vastly improved services and far greater accountability in these areas.
In 1973, libertarian philosopher Murray Rothbard provided an example of how removing public funding from police could happen in a truly free society. Here is an excerpt from his book, For a New Liberty, discussing how this would work. It’s well worth a few minutes of your time to frame the conversation over funding, responsibility, ownership, and security.
I realize the average person (and goodness knows the average politician) is NOT ready for that kind of freedom, self-ownership and tax cuts, but hey, a fella can dream…
Leaving the theoretical for some real world considerations on defunding police, read Scott Shackford’s piece, 3 Libertarian Tips for the #DefundPolice Movement, and his additional must-read article on the topic, The Case for Defunding Police Shouldn’t Depend on How Much Privilege You Have.