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Do-It-Yourself Police

By Vox Day

“When budget woes reduced the sheriff’s department in one rural Oregon county to a bare-bones force, residents decided to take matters into their own hands — creating armed patrol groups in defiance of local officials.  Their decision has raised safety concerns with the county government, which would prefer residents instead hike their own taxes to fund the hiring of trained deputies. But despite the risks, the move stands as a unique, some would say innovative, response to one of the country’s most severe local budget crunches.”

That, according to a Fox News report dated Dec. 26.

It should surprise no one that a county government would prefer to see people hand them money and permit them to oversee the spending of it than take matters, and responsibility, into their own hands. The entire concept of “big government” is a socialistic one that depends entirely on the idea that centralizing decision-making will inevitably lead to better societal outcomes. The fact that this is much more often false than it is true never even slows down those who benefit materially from the structure from shamelessly attempting to push it on everyone.

Some people naturally seek power over others and one of the most enduring powers is the power to legally impose forced contributions on others. In feudal times, the landed aristocracy imposed forced contributions in kind from the serfs they nominally “protected”. In modern times, the government bureaucracies impose forced monetary contributions from the citizens they nominally “serve”.

How is this different? One can no more vote to be served by the unionized employees at the county seat, city hall, or any of the myriad of federal agencies than one could vote to be ruled by the Duke of York.

The argument that is inevitably presented by bureaucrats seeking to expand their power is that centralization is more efficient and the utilization of economies of scale will provide better and less expensive services than those provided in a redundant manner by multiple, decentralized sources. History amply demonstrates that while this may sound reasonably in theory, it almost never turns out to be the case. No bureaucracy ever voluntarily gives up power or resources, so the result of the centralized efficiencies is always more inefficience, more expense, and more jobs for bureaucrats.

This is why the Oregon residents will likely receive better, more cost-effective police services from their neighbors than they will from the trained professionals hired by the county government. After all, corporations regularly cut costs and increase their profits by cutting out the middle-man. There is no reason the private citizens of America would not benefit from adopting a similar attitude.

Vox Day is a national libertarian and the author of “The Return of the Great Depression” and “The Irrational Atheist.” He is a former columnist for WorldNetDaily, Chronicle Features, and Universal Press Syndicate, and is a member of Mensa and IGDA. He also is the first writer in the history of the Science Fiction Writers of America to be expelled from the organization. Visit his blog, Vox Popoli.

11 comments

  1. The Citizens’ Militia was always the last line of defense. That it would need to be called up in this day and age to provide basic services is a sorry referendum on contemporary American society. Still though, I applaud the citizens for their willingness to do their duty by their country and their neighbors in this regard. If only they were running the national government instead of a local one…..

  2. Hello Vox,
    Spot on analysis thank you!
    I’d just like to add that the citizen leading and organizing other citizens is a retired sheriff. This retired sheriff is looking out for all including himself. He knows that the citizens cannot afford both his retirement and a sheriff’s department. So this retired sheriff is now earning his retirement pay rather than potentially lose it to a bankruptcy.
    I predict we see more of this as time keeps rolling on.

  3. No, even in theory, centralization does not impute economies of scale. Economies of scale is a possible positive outcome of centralization, typically observed in highly repetitive, task-oriented processes. It’s just as likely, especially with specialized service jobs, that centralization will create diseconomies of scale – a lossy condition where net output actually decreases.

  4. I don’t think it would quite work that way in Detroit. Not that many there don’t have guns…

    • dangerousbehavior

      The double negative makes my brain hurt… anyways.

      Legally owned guns vs illegally owned guns vs law abiding citizens vs non-law abiding citizens. I think there is enough law abiding citizens that legally own guns to be able to make up some street patrols in Detroit. To have enough of an marked effect, I am not sure. Although if recent news reports are to be believed the (violent) crime rate in Detroit has dropped in 2013 by around 10%. That could be because of the drop in population.

      Although I believe a street patrol’s level of interdiction would differ vastly from the aforementioned street patrol in (rural) Oregon. As well the level of firepower required would need to be a step or two above the regular concealed carry fare, ranging to long-guns and AR style firearms.
      Para-military style tactics as well as an active use of force would also be required as the local hoi polloi, in Detroit, would not be overly impressed with 3-4 silver haired gentry walking about wearing “Street Patrol” windbreakers.

      A fun thought game.

  5. “The entire concept of “big government” is a socialistic one that depends entirely on the idea that centralizing decision-making will inevitably lead to better societal outcomes.”

    VD assumes that “big government” = socialism for starters. It could be reasonably argued that today’s [American] liberals generally subscribe to the theory that company owners ought to control the factors of production–not government directly, according to socialists–within the bounds of the law as established by the citizens of society. “Collective ownership” does not necessarily mean “government ownership.” Note how he also includes “depends entirely” in his initial statement as the linchpin to his claim. Of course, centralized decision making CAN play a major role in benefitting the members of a given society (e.g. Food And Drug Act, 1906).

    “The fact that this is much more often false than it is true never even slows down those who benefit materially from the structure from shamelessly attempting to push it on everyone.”

    The only shame is a failure to provide even one demonstrably solid piece of evidence to bolster this position.

    “In modern times, the government bureaucracies impose forced monetary contributions from the citizens they nominally “serve”.”

    Government bureaucracies are the spawn of citizen efforts to organize and provide structure for government activities. Their operations are funded by taxpayers, who have the liberty to choose whether those activities are viable. One study (2007) even suggested that a specific government program would be cost beneficial. Of course, I doubt anyone here, given their knack for opposing anything remotely centralized, will seriously consider their findings; nonetheless, I submit it into evidence.

    http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2007/03/crime-ludwig

    “This is why the Oregon residents will likely receive better, more cost-effective police services from their neighbors than they will from the trained professionals hired by the county government.”

    Quite possibly. On a larger scale, say a modern major metro area, then there needs to be the requisite proof to back up the assertion that armed citizens who volunteer their time will perform more capably in law enforcement than those who individuals entrusted by society to perform those responsibilities over a long-term basis.

    • gcm…how nice to see a jewboy wordsmith show up.

    • So the government funded study says that the answer to crime is more government. What a shocking surprise that is.

      I say the evidence is right there in our own history. When people are allowed to lawfully defend themselves, there is less crime.

      I wouldn’t expect a Marxist to admit it though. He will through out some red herring about a lack of evidence or something.

  6. “gcm…how nice to see a jewboy wordsmith show up.”

    Hiding behind your Musloid credentials I see, “Brandon”.

    “So the government funded study says that the answer to crime is more government. What a shocking surprise that is.”

    The study was funded by Brookings, not the gummint. Refute the findings, not the source.

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