Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Privatize the police?

Of course our roads, our police and fire protection, and our educational system are all socialized. They are provided by government, though they could conceivably be privatized. This suggests to me that most people agree, except for the purest of libertarians on the one hand, and communists on the other, everyone agrees that some things should be socialized and others privatized. The question is which things should be socialized, and by what criteria do we decide this? 

14 comments:

Matt said...

A word from one of the hardcore libertarians on privatized police.

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Academic/Iceland/Iceland.html

mattghg said...

Robocop - what an awesome film.

appeal2heaven.com said...

"The question is which things should be socialized, and by what criteria do we decide this?"

The criteria should be whatever acts as extensions of what individuals can lawfully do.

My man Bastiat hit this one in 1850:

"What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups."

The Law: What is Law

So I suppose you could actually achieve this privately (voluntarily) or publicly (involuntarily). The question is really, which provides the most desired results?

PhilosophyFan said...

The problem (but also, I suppose, a virtue) with "privatizing" these things is always that they're still chosen by those elected.

The question, as appeal2heaven.com said above, is then who is more efficient? And that efficiency needs to be weighed by issues such as, like in the case of police, corruption and who has the power, etc...

my question is, to those more experienced in these matters, what would change exactly? Competition cannot be bad, I don't think, but what would literally change?

Crude said...

Victor,

Happy New Year and a belated Merry Christmas.

I'm curious of what you think of the reaction to Santorum so far. Specifically, the attacks he's received over his wife's miscarriage (First, it being called an abortion. Second, that he's a freak for having the child brought home for a night, for having a funeral, etc.) I ask since you're a self-described liberal sort, and frankly - while I think Santorum kind of sucks, politically - this strikes me as the sort of thing that gets social conservatives regarding liberals with utter contempt. Though I'm sure not all liberals agree with this sort of treatment.

B. Prokop said...

Child psychologists actually recommend that families do precisely what Santorum did in the case of a stillborn child, or of one who does not survive his/her first day.

Victor Reppert said...

Apparently what happened there looks strange to a lot of people, but it was actually recommended by grief counselors at the time.

The google attack from the gay columnist is even worse. There is a real danger when people try to take away the right to express disapproval, in the name of tolerance. That's a dangerous twisting of the liberal viewpoint (although no doubt Ilion will come in and say that that's precisely what liberals are all about).

Crude said...

Victor,

Apparently what happened there looks strange to a lot of people,

The problem I'm having isn't that it's being merely regarded as strange, but that there's a whole lot of pretty nasty bile being directed Santorum's way over the event, in a number of ways. There's a gulf between "well that's unusual" and a lot of what's going on here.

I'm glad you brought up the google attack.

That's a dangerous twisting of the liberal viewpoint

Here's another problem I have. I agree with you in one sense. The problem is, there are a considerable number of people who enthusiastically support these types of tactics in the name of liberal politics. I'm not saying there's not a conservative analog to this sort of thing (honestly, one escapes me at the moment at least in terms of magnitude. Freepers? But they're pretty much limited to internet polls.) But I do think when crap like this gets large enough and condoned enough, either it really is part of the liberal viewpoint, or we have to start talking about multiple liberal groups.

Anyway, I mostly just wanted to see where you stood on this sort of thing.

The Goins said...

Anarcho-capitalists in the Austrian School have taught and theorized about this.

See Hoppe's "The Private Production of Defense" (hint the pdf link is a short essay; the book is not free): http://mises.org/resources/1221/The-Private-Production-of-Defense

But there really is no need to theorize, is there? We already have private security to protect stores or whatever for hire. We are halfway there.

(Yes the same Austrian School that Ron Paul talks about so often. But let's not confuse their theories with what Ron Paul actually wants to accomplish - which isn't privatizing the police).

Victor Reppert said...

This is probably the corruption of liberalism that corresponds to what happens when conservatives do what corporations want regardless of whether it is principles conservatism or not. That is, liberals become so attached to the Special Interest Group of the Day (in this case, gay people), that they end up doing very illiberal things to people who, for instance, express a strong disapproval of homosexuality for whatever reason.

One way of framing the abortion controversy, for instance, is to say that "liberals" are protecting the rights of an oppressed minority (women) who marches, votes, and donates, at the expense of another of another oppressed minority (fetuses), who do none of these things. Of course, this does nothing to resolve the difficult issues surrounding abortion and the moral status of the fetus, but it does, I think help understand some of the pro-choice dogmatism you get from the Democratic Party.

B. Prokop said...

"[I]t does, I think help understand some of the pro-choice dogmatism you get from the Democratic Party."

I think not, Victor. Most of the pro-choice people I talk to genuinely believe that
a) the fetus is not a person, or
b) the question of personhood is a pure matter of opinion, and therefore it is inappropriate for one side to use the force of law against those who disagree with them.

I myself am hopelessly conflicted concerning the personhood of a fetus in the earliest stages of pregnancy. My brain says it is not. My Church insists that it is. "Science" is no help whatsoever. And politics just muddles the whole thing up beyond repair.

Crude said...

That is, liberals become so attached to the Special Interest Group of the Day (in this case, gay people), that they end up doing very illiberal things to people who, for instance, express a strong disapproval of homosexuality for whatever reason.

Interesting way of looking at it. I wonder if it really goes down the way you say, at least across the board. You seem to be saying that liberals are so emotionally invested in this or that group of the moment that they start to condone some 'illiberal' behavior - maybe without thinking? Me, I wonder if the illiberality isn't consciously embraced and seen as a tactic itself. But that starts getting into intuition and other grey things.

I remember when you had an exchange with a certain guy on here who mentioned how he didn't care about using reason to persuade people, but any method whatsoever, reasonable or not. He consciously embraced that movie. I think it's a lot more popular than most appreciate.

Of course, this does nothing to resolve the difficult issues surrounding abortion and the moral status of the fetus, but it does, I think help understand some of the pro-choice dogmatism you get from the Democratic Party.

That almost sounds cynical, since it comes off as 'There are two disadvantaged groups here. Except one is exploiting the other. And it just so happens that the one doing the exploiting tends to vote and give money, so the decision of which to support is a no brainer.' I'll remind Bob that this is not just about 'the earliest stages of pregnancy' either - the "liberal" commitment rarely brooks any exception, even unto partial birth abortion. And it's not like Singer's ethics are viewed with contempt by that wing.

Either way, I'll just note again that my focus wasn't so much on whatever complexity (or lack of complexity) there is in these issues, but in how they're responded to. Santorum provides a great case study for what is tolerated in the name of abortion and gay politics.

Victor Reppert said...

What I'm talking about here is pro-choice dogmatism, and that is something you can criticize if you are, in the last analysis, pro-choice. The idea that we should be afraid of any limitation on access to abortion, or even any expressed concern with the morality of any abortion whatsoever, on grounds that, implicitly, it's headed toward a full-bore attack on "choice," is, I think, a common knee-jerk reaction. Even Obama has been criticized for not being pro-choice enough.

Crude said...

Sounds like a reasonable analysis to me.