Monday, January 27, 2014

Ludwig von Mises Institute President: Whatever Happened To Peace Officers?

Via Angry Mike

The following is a selection from a speech by Mises Institute President Jeff Deist at the Southwest Regional Mises Circle in Houston, “The Police State: Know It When You See It,” on January 18, 2014. 

Today when we use the term peace officer, it sounds antiquated and outdated. I’m sure most people in the room under 40 have never heard the term actually used by anyone; we might as well be talking about buggy whips or floppy disks. But in the 1800s and really through the 1960s, the term was used widely in America to refer generally to lawmen, whether sheriffs, constables, troopers, or marshals.

Today the old moniker of peace officer has been almost eliminated in popular usage, replaced by “police officer” or the more in vogue “law enforcement officer.”

The terminology has certain legal differences in different settings; in some places peace officers and police officers are indeed different individuals with different functions, jurisdictions, or powers to execute warrants. But nobody says peace officer anymore, and it’s not just a coincidence.

The archetype of a peace officer is mostly fictitious — sheriffs in westerns often come to mind, stern lawmen carrying Colt revolvers called “Peacemakers.” But the Wyatt Earps of western myth weren’t always so peaceful, and often, at least in movies, used their Peacemakers to shoot up the place.

Outside the Old West archetype, Sheriff Andy Taylor of the Andy Griffith Show is perhaps the best and most facile example of what it once meant, at least in the American psyche, to be a peace officer.

Now of course the Andy Griffith show was fictional. And there’s no doubt that many, many small town sheriffs in America over the decades have been anything but peace officers. Yet it’s fascinating that just a few decades ago Americans could identify with the character of Sheriff Taylor as a recognizable ideal.


  1. "Yet it’s fascinating that just a few decades ago Americans could identify with the character of Sheriff Taylor as a recognizable ideal."
    A few decades ago we weren't being over run by third world thugs. Libertarians support the "free movement of labor", ie open borders.

    "which average citizens now often fear police officers rather than trust them. "
    I don't know any "average citizen" who fears police officers. Of course, I don't hang out with drug users or dealers. See my comment on the post about the heroin kingpin, above.

    The police have become more militarised and aggressive because the criminals have become more violent and aggressive. Do you think our police departments aren't watching the news coming out of Mexican border towns and planning for an escalation from gangsters like the kingpin mentioned previously? If they didn't, libertarians would use that as a reason to call for private security.

    The problem with police is the incompetance of those responsible for training, they simply don't know how to deal with our changing society. The cop on the street or in the SWAT team follows the protocols he learned in his training.

    Our system is still set up for a peaceful, first world society like Mayberry or 1960 Detroit, it is not able to handle third world lawlessness, the same goes for our political system.

    Despite what the Austrian cult claims, I don't think Blackwater, Paul Blart or private armies would be any better alternatives to public police departments. I think closed borders and some effort to root out the illegal aliens here would solve 90% of our problem.

    Libertarianism sees people as generic, interchangeable economic units, the blank slate theory, it denies actual individualism and is in fact a nihilistic philosophy. It cares nothing for culture, history or values, and is entirely premised on a simple minded black and white world view; ALL cops are bad because some are. News flash to libs, government and police are individuals, too, who do you think will staff the private security of libertarian dreams?

    Libertarianism sees American or Southern or anything else as artificial. It is much more dangerous than marxism because, if you squint real hard, you can convince yourself its good. It is a wolf in sheep's clothing, it isn't anything but anarchy.


    1. Take this:

    2. personal score 30%
      economic score 80%
      right (conservative)

      1 Government should not censor speech, press, media, or internet
      I answered maybe. This is a sticky issue, free speech, aka propaganda, is the marxist's best and most effective weapon.

      2 Military service should be voluntary. There should be no draft.
      I think answered maybe here, too. The original militias were not voluntary, the Swiss are very pro gun and have avoided all the wars and they have mandatory service. the argument for mandatory service is that ot puts everybody's ass on the line if the gov votes for war.

      3 There should be no laws regarding sex for consenting adults.
      See the Bible. If you allow me to have ant influence on laws, I will always follow the Bible. Homosexuality is proscribed in the Bible in no uncertain terms.

      4 Repeal laws prohibiting adult possession and use of drugs.
      I'll quote Jefferson on gambling:
      "Almost all these pursuits of chance [i.e., of human industry] produce something useful to society. But there are some which produce nothing, and endanger the well-being of the individuals engaged in them or of others depending on them. Such are games with cards, dice, billiards, etc. And although the pursuit of them is a matter of natural right, yet society, perceiving the irresistible bent of some of its members to pursue them, and the ruin produced by them to the families depending on these individuals, consider it as a case of insanity, quoad hoc, step in to protect the family and the party himself, as in other cases of insanity, infancy, imbecility, etc., and suppress the pursuit altogether, and the natural right of following it."

      I know I am open to the charge of hypocricy if I'm not also against alcohol, but I don't care. For the record, I'm ambivalent to pot.

      5 There should be no National ID card.
      Tough one. If you're going to control immigration, you need a way to tell who's a citizen and who's not.

      6 End "corporate welfare." No government handouts to business.

      7 End government barriers to international free trade.
      Disagree. Free trade is globalism and open borders. Protect national economic interest. Here's jefferson again:
      "Shall we make our own comforts, or go without them, at the will of a foreign nation? He, therefore, who is now against domestic manufacture, must be for reducing us either to dependence on that foreign nation, or to be clothed in skins, and to live like wild beasts in dens and caverns."

      8 Let people control their own retirement; privatize Social Security.

      9 Replace government welfare with private charity.

      10 Cut taxes and government spending by 50% or more.

      Like libertarianism, that quiz is too simplistic and binary. jefferson one more time:
      "for in so complicated a science as political economy, no one axiom can be laid down as wise and expedient for all times and circumstances, and for their contraries. "

    3. A libertarian is much closer to a Jeffersonian Democrat than a Conservative.

    4. I don't think libertarians know who Jefferson was, they have made a caricature of him and every other founder with their simplistic either/or dogma.

    5. I'm afraid we have little in common, Sir and I'd prefer to leave it at that. :)

    6. I'll leave you alone, but will you answer me one question?
      Are you an anarchist?