Police are a hot topic right now. A lot of angry “debate” is taking place right now between pro-police and anti-police groups. Both groups have their valid reasons for believing the things they do, and both groups are right to some degree in their own way. Police issues are a subject I’ve followed for quite some time now and I’ve developed my own perspective on the matter. I will be making an argument based on the traditions of freedom in the United States.
The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are both natural rights documents. This means that they postulate that we as individuals are born with freedoms that are inherent to us and that no one should infringe upon. This is what the 9th Amendment talks about – that our rights and our freedoms do not come from government, but rather they come from our humanity, and we have nearly infinite freedoms. Any peaceful behavior that does not hurt anyone should be left uninfringed. From this perspective the only role for government is to protect our ability to exercise our freedoms unhindered.
So when the idea of creating the first police departments came about, this was exactly what their role was. The police were meant to be peacekeepers and nothing more. The police existed to maintain civility and to put a stop to any violent behavior infringing on the rights of others.
A friend of mine recently said, “I want to live in the world where I can smoke weed WITH the police.” Regardless of whether or not you condone the use of marijuana, that type of behavior would be totally allowed underneath the constitutional framework that the Founders envisioned.
Police take an oath to protect and uphold the Constitution, which means they swear to protect my individual rights and to never enforce a law that violates the Constitution. Today we live under a government that has subverted the Constitution, that violates our rights daily, and that has crept into regulating nearly every aspect of our personal lives.
As public servants, it is the responsibility of the police to hold the politicians and the government accountable. The police were never supposed to be obedient order-followers and enforcers of the state, enforcing any and every law passed. Rather they were meant to be guardians of the Constitution and protectors of the American people’s liberty.
Government is nothing more than brute force, which is why it has no role regulating people’s personal choices. Every law or regulation passed by government is enforced and backed up through the threat of imprisonment. Government should not be telling you what types of clothes you can wear, what kind of substances you can or can’t consume, who you can marry, or the types of political or religious beliefs you can hold. The government has infringed on all of these in many ways and in order to do so they must threaten peaceful people. That makes government the thug.
The police are supposed to be the servants of the public, of the taxpayer. They’re not supposed to be the regulators of nonviolent choices, nor enforcers of the state, nor revenue generators for the state, but simply peacekeepers. If that is all that police did then hardly anyone would be upset at the cops.