REFORM: Police Problems? Embrace Liberty!

It is ironic to see Marxists, progressives, and other leftists protesting violence by government agents. After all, their ideology rests on the use of force to compel people to obey…

by Ron Paul of Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

Many Americans saw former policeman Derek Chauvin’s conviction on all counts last week as affirming the principle that no one is above the law. Many others were concerned that the jury was scared that anything less than a full conviction would result in riots, and even violence against themselves and their families.

Was the jury’s verdict influenced by politicians and media figures who were calling for the jury to deliver the “right” verdict? Attempts to intimidate juries are just as offensive to the rule of law as suggestions that George Floyd’s criminal record somehow meant his rights were not important.

The video of then-policeman Chauvin restraining Floyd led people across the political and ideological spectrums to consider police reform. Sadly, there have also been riots across the country orchestrated by left-wing activists and organizations seeking to exploit concern about police misconduct to advance their agendas.

It is ironic to see self-described Marxists, progressives, and other leftists protesting violence by government agents. After all, their ideology rests on the use of force to compel people to obey politicians and bureaucrats.

It is also ironic to see those who claim to want to protect and improve “black lives” support big government.

Black people, along with other Americans, have had their family structure weakened by welfare policies encouraging single parenthood. This results in children being raised without fathers as a regular presence in their lives, increasing the likelihood the children will grow up to become adults with emotional and other problems.

Those at the bottom of the economic ladder are restrained in improving their situation because of minimum wage laws, occupational licensing regulations, and other government interference in the marketplace. They are also victims of the Federal Reserve’s inflation tax.

Many progressives who claim to believe that “black lives matter” do not care that there is a relatively high abortion rate of black babies. These so-called pro-choice progressives are the heirs of the racists who founded the movement to legalize and normalize abortion.

The drug war is a major reason police have increasingly looked and acted like an occupying army. Police militarization threatens everyone’s liberty. Black people have been subjected to drug war arrests and imprisonment at relatively high rates.

Those interested in protecting and enhancing black people’s (and all people’s) lives should embrace liberty. Libertarians reject the use of force to achieve political, economic, or social goals, Therefore, in a libertarian society, police would only enforce laws prohibiting the initiation of force against persons or property.

A libertarian society would leave the provision of aid to the needy to local communities, private charities, and religious organizations. Unlike the federal welfare state, private charities can provide effective and compassionate aid without damaging family structure or making dependency a way of life. In a libertarian society, individuals could pursue economic opportunity free of the burdens of government regulations and taxes, as well as free of the Federal Reserve’s fiat currency.

Free markets, individual liberty, limited government, sound money, and peace are key to achieving prosperity and social cohesion. Those sincerely concerned about improving all human lives should turn away from the teaching of Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes, who advocated expansive government power, and, instead, embrace the ideas of pro-liberty writers such as Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard.