Detroit's Turn to Vigilantisim, Otherwise Called Private Justice

While the U.S. has been busy trying to bring order to failed states in Afghanistan and elsewhere, The Daily’s Mara Gay reports that its own failed city, Detroit, is continuing its steady descent into the state of nature. Residents, unable to rely on a dwindling police force to keep them safe, are taking matters into their own hands. Justifiable homicide in the city shot up 79 percent in 2011 from the previous year. The local rate of self-defense killings now stands 2,200 percent above the national average.

She writes:

How it got this bad in Detroit has become a point of national discussion. Violent crime settled into the city’s bones decades ago, but recently, as the numbers of police officers have plummeted and police response times have remained distressingly high, citizens have taken to dealing with things themselves.

What’s more, courts are doing the decent thing and looking the other way. Gay recounts:

Signs that vigilantism was taking hold in the city came earlier, around Memorial Day 2009, when former federal agent Alvin Davis decided he’d had enough of the break-ins at his mother’s home on the east side. She called the police again and again, but the brazen robberies continued. Davis, then a 32-year-old Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer, snapped.

Prosecutors said he spent days chasing and harassing the teenagers who were allegedly robbing his mother, even shoving his federally issued firearm into one of their mouths. No one was killed, but by the time he was done, Davis had racked up charges of unlawful imprisonment and assault. In August 2010, he was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.

But many residents in his mother’s Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood are sympathetic to Davis, whose case is on appeal.

“He basically did what a lot of us wished we could do,” said Ken Gray, 58, who lives down the street from Davis’ mother.

One high-ranking official in the county legal system, speaking to The Daily, said the rise in justifiable homicides mirrors a local court system that’s increasingly lenient of the practice.

“It’s a lot more acceptable now to get your own retribution,” the official said. “And the justice system in the city is a lot more understanding if people do that. It‘s becoming a part of the culture.”

Detroiters are arming themselves with shotguns and handguns and buying guard dogs. Anything to take care of their own. And privately, residents say neighborhood watch groups in Detroit are widely armed.

And as a neighbor of Detroit's, all I can say is more power to them.

Incidentally, I am not a connoisseur of the minarchy vs. anarchy debate. But it seems that if Detroit’s citizens can find some way to create a sphere of law and (spontaneous) order in the face of this massive government failure, they will offer some support for the viability of the latter.

Gaya’s whole story is well worth a read.

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  • sarcasmic||

    Paging Mister Kersey. Will a Mister Paul Kersey please report to Detroit immediately. Repeat. Mister Kersey you are wanted in Detroid immediately.

  • The Wine Commonsewer (TWC)||

    Hey! Where's the like button?

  • Southerner||

  • Sparky||

    Obviously the city is in dire need of a gun ban.

  • Robocop 2 Directives||

    DIRECTIVE 233: Restrain hostile feelings.
    DIRECTIVE 234: Promote positive attitude.
    DIRECTIVE 235: Suppress aggressiveness.
    DIRECTIVE 236: Promote pro-social values.
    DIRECTIVE 238: Avoid destructive behavior.
    DIRECTIVE 239: Be accessible.
    DIRECTIVE 240: Participate in group activities.
    DIRECTIVE 241: Avoid interpersonal conflicts.
    DIRECTIVE 242: Avoid premature value judgments.
    DIRECTIVE 243: Pool opinions before expressing yourself.
    DIRECTIVE 244: Discourage feelings of negativity and hostility.
    DIRECTIVE 245: If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't talk.
    DIRECTIVE 246: Don't rush traffic lights.
    DIRECTIVE 247: Don't run through puddles and splash pedestrians or other cars.
    DIRECTIVE 248: Don't say that you are always prompt when you are not.
    DIRECTIVE 249: Don't be oversensitive to the hostility and negativity of others.
    DIRECTIVE 250: Don't walk across a ballroom floor swinging your arms.
    DIRECTIVE 254: Encourage awareness.
    DIRECTIVE 256: Discourage harsh language.
    DIRECTIVE 258: Commend sincere efforts.
    DIRECTIVE 261: Talk things out.
    DIRECTIVE 262: Avoid Orion meetings.
    DIRECTIVE 266: Smile.
    DIRECTIVE 267: Keep an open mind.
    DIRECTIVE 268: Encourage participation.
    DIRECTIVE 273: Avoid stereotyping.
    DIRECTIVE 278: Seek non-violent solutions.

  • ||

    Oh, you better believe that's a +10.

    /Now, where's my Full-auto Beretta 93R?

  • Old Salt||

    Klingon Prime Directive:

    "SHOOT IT!"

  • ||

    So is this an argument that Detroit is the new Somalia?

  • Brandon||

    This is an argument that some individuals in Detroit are making the best of a state-created hellish situation.

  • o3||

    ur right, NAFTA was stupid.

  • jj||

    straw man

  • o3||

    moar like a steal & a slam-dunk on the other end

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Detroit was a dying city long before NAFTA. Jane Jacobs was writing about the impending failure of Detroit in 1968. She cites articles from the the 1920's through the 1940's that chronicled the decline of Detroit.

    So what have we learned? That Detroit was dying long before NAFTA passed. The people "in charge" of correcting this decline had 70 years to change course. Instead, they maintained the status quo, swelled the public sector, and granted every concession to the UAW. Finally by the late 1970's Detroit was finished. NAFTA came about 24 years after Detroit was dead.

  • ?||

    What's the point of being a liberal when it always leads you to false conclusions. You did know that was the wrong answer before you even wrote it, right?

  • ||

    Not sold on equating legitimate self-defense with vigilantism.

    Shooting someone in self-defense (that is, because they pose an immediate threat of death or bodily harm to yourself or others) is not vigilantism.

  • sarcasmic||

    Prosecutors said he spent days chasing and harassing the teenagers who were allegedly robbing his mother

    Seems like vigilantism to me.

    NTTAWWT

  • ||

    Well, yeah. That was vigilantism, but the article conflates it with self-defense shootings.

  • Sparky||

    Slippery slope. Sliiiiiiiiiiiiipery sloooooooooooooope.

  • sarcasmic||

    I have found that some people simply cannot (or disingenuously choose not to) recognize the distinction between shooting someone in the act, and hunting them down after the fact.

  • ||

    Huh?

  • Dick Cheney||

    So where does that leave me?

  • The Awesomest VP Ever||

  • anon||

    NTTAWWT

    You bastard, you made me finally google it. Time to hunt the most dangerous game!

  • anon||

    And I don't mean jai alai

  • The 700 Clubbed Seals||

    ahhh, an Archer reference...that feels good

  • ||

    ....and he got sent to jail for 4 years for it.

    Doesn't exactly line up with the "courts are becoming lenient" line that introduces that quote.

  • Punchbowl Turd||

    Citizens have the right to defend themselves. Private gangs of anarchist vigilantes (or individuals, for that matter) dispensing arbitrary, subjective "justice," is not the answer.

  • sarcasmic||

    What if the "legitimate" dispensers of justice can't or won't do anything about it?

    Just bend over and take it?

  • Punchbowl Turd||

    Citizens have the right to defend themselves. They do not have the right to play cops.

  • Sparky||

    Come on, if they were playing cops they'd just be sitting around doing nothing. You know, like the actual cops.

  • sarcasmic||

    +10

  • Ted S.||

    You forgot the shooting puppies bit. And going on internet discussion boards to tell everybody how much they get off on it and how much they get off on seeing libertarians horrified by it, the way the horrid dunphy does.

  • Zeb||

    I'm pretty sure dunphy has never mentioned how much he gets off on killing dogs.

  • sarcasmic||

    And if the cops won't play cops, then what?

  • ||

    Then we'll have a perfect anarchist society, in which rules are not enforced with violence. Q.E.D.

  • jj||

    So little straw in this straw man it doesn't even count as an argument

  • T||

    Strange. The original distinction between 'citizen' and 'cop' was that cop was paid full-time to do what all citizens could do.

  • sarcasmic||

    When did that change?

  • Confusius Say||

    I know here in Richmond, Virginia was one of the earliest in the US, in 1807. IIRC, Philadelphia was first, though, something like 55 years before that.

  • Tonio||

    Don't confuse police with Sheriffs. AFAIK, any time you have a county government you have a sheriff. This goes all the way back to english common law.

  • Confusius Say||

    Philadelphia 1751
    Richmond 1807
    Boston 1838
    New York 1845

    Of course, "police," from Latin polītia, means "citizen."

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Philadelphia 1751
    Richmond 1807
    Boston 1838
    New York 1845

    And all statist hellholes.

    Who woulda thunk it?

  • Trespassers W||

    Of course, "police," from Latin polītia, means "citizen."

    Nobody tell White Indian. He'll only use it as a major premise in an insane syllogism.

  • ||

    When we moved from living in sparsely populated areas to densely populated ones.

    Having citizens performing law enforcement is less problematic in small communities where everybody knows each other. In NYC, not so much.

  • Confusius Say||

    Nobdy remembers Hue and Cry and Posses.

  • A Citizen||

    If I don't have the power to "play cops", how can I delegate that authority to the public police forces?

  • sarcasmic||

    We're past the point of authority being given.

    Now it's just taken.

  • ||

    You personally don't have that authority. The community as a whole does.

  • sarcasmic||

    "The community" meaning "everyone but you" when dealing with someone who represents it.

    All it really means is "no one will stop me, so fuck you".

  • Brendan Perez||

    Yes they do. The people have powers like citizen's arrest.

    Groups of citizens in an area could set up a watch-perhaps calling it 'neighborhood watch' or something similar. If they witness a crime, they can place the person under arrest and hold them for the police or, if the law allows, transport them to the nearest police station.

    Chasing people down and sticking a gun in their mouth is a crime regardless of what uniform you wear and is not "playing cops".

  • sarcasmic||

    regardless of what uniform you wear

    If it is never prosecuted then it is effectively not a crime.

  • ||

    Chasing people down and sticking a gun in their mouth is a crime regardless of what uniform you wear and is not "playing cops".

    What do you do if the person you're arresting tries to run away?

    Not that I'm advocating for vigilantism, but to a great extent "citizen's arrests" are going to be ineffective without it.

  • Zeb||

    Well, for one thing you probably shouldn't put your gun in people's mouths.

  • sarcasmic||

    This is my rifle and this is my gun!

  • Sparky||

    they can place the person under arrest and hold them for the police

    Which could potentially get them charged with kidnapping or false imprisonment.

  • sarcasmic||

    Potentially?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Exactly. Cops hate it when regular folk like me and you show them up.

  • ||

    Then replace the legitimate dispensers of justice with people who will.

    I believe they have elections in Detroit, no? Can't they just, you know, not vote for the people who run the ineffective police department?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Detroit is as broke as the rest of us are going to be. They CAN'T run and effective police force because the local government has been so concerned with doling out free shit with "public" money that there is none left.

  • DRM||

    Can't they just, you know, not vote for the people who run the ineffective police department?

    "It's not the people who vote that count. It's the people who count the votes."

    Even if the machine was driven out of the elected offices, the new elected officials would still have to deal with the machine-controlled civil service and machine-controlled public employee unions.

    And the only place to get the money to finance the basic election work that could oust the machine from the elected levers of power in the first place is from "the suburbs" and "whites". You might as well try running in Midland, Texas on the Socialist Party USA ticket, your top donors being the officers of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    If the answer is waiting until the cops show up, it's a stupid question.

  • The Wine Commonsewer (TWC)||

    In my neighborhood, which ain't Detroit, the cops are not coming unless there is a body leaking fluids in the street.

  • Confusius Say||

    We had to announce Rule .308 (that's Rule .303 to my UK friends) here when some Gangbanger Wannabes moved in and started waving guns around and threatening people. We did it the nice way, though, by taking them down to a rifle range and showing them gun etiquette and how easy it is to hit a target at 200-800m (.30-30, to .308). They got the message. They also wanted to go again. Our third trip will be in the Spring.

  • Jumbie||

    What would the initial conversation of that process have looked like I wonder. Seems like a cool thing, just can't imagine how you accomplished the getting them to go along with it part.

  • austrian||

    justice is always subjective

  • austrian||

    better to have many judges than one or few central ones. just like in other areas freedom in law and policing would allow for a discovery process to find a sense of justice most can agree upon

  • anon||

    "Fairness" is always subjective; justice is achieved through making the victim of coercion or fraud "whole" again.

  • austrian||

    define whole; different individual's sense of what it takes to make victim whole again will differ since value of the initial offense will differ and the value of any repayment will differ since value is subjective

  • austrian||

    individuals'

  • anon||

    The replacement of items that were the target of fraud, or their cash value. In the case of violent crime, some advocate death of the offender, some advocate jail time. In cases of simple assault, I'd say jail time is just, but really only because society isn't ready to put people willing to commit violent crimes to death yet.

  • austrian||

    "some advocate death of the offender, some advocate jail time"

    justice is subjective!

  • anon||

    Well, it's situational dependent. It's subjective to the situation, not the individual.

    But if you want to play semantics, I won't stop you.

  • Zeb||

    It is never possible to make the victim of violent crime whole again. Locking up or executing the perpetrator doesn't undo any of what happened.

  • anon||

    Citizens have the right to defend themselves. Private gangs of anarchist vigilantes (or individuals, for that matter) dispensing arbitrary, subjective "justice," is not the answer.

    If it's subjective, it's not justice.

  • protefeed||

    If it's subjective, it's not justice.

    So all juries return unanimous verdicts? All SCOTUS decisions are 9-0?

    Values are intrinsically, inescapably subjective, and justice based on various people's differing values must be subjective too.

  • Zeb||

    Of course it is subjective. Either that or justice is Plato's Republic.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    Are public gangs of grown-up bullies on power trips dispensing arbitrary, subjective justice still OK, though?

  • anon||

    Well, I've never been to Detroit, so I don't know if they're doing a better job than the courts.

  • cynical||

    Aside from scale and legal complexity, what exactly is the difference between that and a democratic state's justice system?

  • Hugh Akston||

    "Winged Freak Terrorizes"

    Wait'll they get a load of me.

  • MWG||

    "Gay recounts:"

    Nice.

  • MWG||

    Meh... 'Gay' is correct; 'Gaya' at the end is the typo.

  • Uonion Ring||

    If the police simply organized an unbreakable union with a lavish retirement system, crime would just evaporate into thin air. Problem effing solved.

  • Sparky||

    Don't forget the gun ban.

  • sarcasmic||

    Pass a law banning guns and those people who are breaking all those other laws will follow the gun ban.

    It makes perfect sense.

  • anon||

    And next we'll ban being poor. Then those poor people won't be poor anymore.

  • sarcasmic||

    Between building codes, minimum wages and everything else, it pretty much is against the law to be poor.

  • anon||

    Well fuck, why haven't we done this with hunger yet?

    Laws are magic.

  • Obamer ||

    Laws are automatically infallible when I conceive them.

  • Restoras||

    Well with all that the Top. Men. banned economic activity and guaranteed that everyone is poor. Brilliant.

  • anon||

    But if everyone is "poor" then nobody's really poor at all compared to everyone else!

    See, told you communism works!

  • Uonion Ring||

    We could organize a pretty good (D) mayor campaign together.

  • Sparky||

    Let's make a movie about how we take some random average joe off the street, give him a bunch of over-the-top liberal talking points, and see if we can get him elected.

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger||

    too late

  • Uonion Ring||

    Fuck the movie, lets just head on over to youngstown, oh and make this happen by the end of 2012.

  • ||

    Why didn't anyone think of this before? The intentions are so righteous!

  • Uonion Ring||

    You are so right, I'd feel so much safer if the tax payers paid one group of people to shoot citizens.

  • Sparky||

    If guns are outlawed, only outlaws cops will have guns.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    No one was killed, but by the time he was done, Davis had racked up charges of unlawful imprisonment and assault. In August 2010, he was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison.

    If you're going to go around terrorizing lawbreakers, take a lesson from the best and dress up like a big rodent when you do it.

  • Sparky||

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Not much of a superhero if he's being arrested by the police instead of slipping away invisibly into the night.

  • Confusius Say||

    The Daily’s Mara Gay reports that its own failed city, Detroit, is continuing its steady descent into the state of nature.

    Gambol, anyone? Dances with Welfare shouldn't find any officer motivated to stop him there.

  • anon||

    Detroit appears to be turning into White Trash's paradise. I wonder if he'll consider a voluntary relocation.

  • Robert S||

    The city of Detroit's population is white. Guess what ethnic group makes up �. Guess.

  • ||

    anarchy != chaos

    Anarchy means that rules are not enforced with violence.

    That doesn't mean that there are no rules.

  • tarran||

    I've long been tempted to use ankracy (an - kratos = without - dominion/acts of violence) as being a more accurate term than anarchy (an - archos = without rulers). There are a substantial bunch of left-anarchists who are opposed to hierarchies of any kind, not just ones that people are coerced into participating with. Let those guys have to word they ruined with their bomb throwing and pro-governmental-health-care protests. :)

  • Old Mexican||

    Prosecutors said he spent days chasing and harassing the teenagers who were allegedly robbing his mother, even shoving his federally issued firearm into one of their mouths.


    Well, that's not "self-defense," that's clearly harassment and intimidation. Self-defense would be shooting a perp very dead while he tries to enter your house. Having the neighborhood make it clear to potential perps that they're armed and willing to defend their property should be enough to discourage them.

    Detroiters are arming themselves with shotguns and handguns and buying guard dogs. Anything to take care of their own. And privately, residents say neighborhood watch groups in Detroit are widely armed.


    That is exactly what they should do: Arm themselves and make it known in a unequivocal manner that they will use deadly force to defend their property and lives. The next thing they should do is make it unequivocal known that they will NOT let the Detroit police harass and bully them into giving up their guns, because that is what they can expect from their "elected" Democratic (i.e. anti-gun) officials.

  • Gojira||

    I wonder how long before these crimes begin to decline, as the local criminals learn that they stand a good chance of taking a dirt nap if they're really determined to get that $100 out of some old lady's purse?

  • Uonion Ring||

    You see, the problem with that is that it actually works.

  • tarran||

    IT depends on a bunch of factors. Not only does crime have to become more expensive and risky, but the alternatives to crime have to become more renumerative.

    In other words, the governments exerting control have to stop preventing people from engaging in commerce.

  • sarcasmic||

    have to stop preventing people from engaging in commerce.

    That's the kicker right there.

    Between licensing schemes, fees, and regulatory compliance, it is nearly impossible these days for someone without means to start up a business.

    How can jobs and wealth be created with so many barriers for entry into the market?

  • tarran||

    Perhaps the health inspectors, licensing apparatchiks, etc. could stop performing their jobs... The sheriffs sept could stop enforcing govt court warrants shutting down businesses...

  • sarcasmic||

    What happens once the economic machine starts rolling in absence of government interference?
    Would that not show that government is an impediment to economic growth?

  • ||

    What happens once the economic machine starts rolling in absence of government interference?

    Taxes will be raised, is my guess.

  • Comstat angel||

    I wonder how long before these crimes begin to decline, as the local criminals learn that they stand a good chance of taking a dirt nap if they're really determined to get that $100 out of some old lady's purse?

    If a crime is committed and no one reports it, does it show up in the crime statistics?

  • sarcasmic||

    Not only is it not reported, but if a citizen reports that they chased someone off with a gun and the cop doesn't put it in the report (assuming a report is made) then it never happened.

  • Old Mexican||

    The upshot is that justifiable homicide in the city shot up 79 percent in 2011 from the previous year. The local rate of self-defense killings now stands 2,200 percent above the national average.


    This has to stop, of course. Otherwise, the Detroit politicians will lose their real constituents fairly quickly to attrition.

  • Raston Bot||

    “It’s not about police response time because often the act has already taken place by the time the police are called,” said Sgt. Eren Stephens. She said citizens have a right to defend themselves.

    “Anytime a life is lost, we’re concerned,” she said. “But we can‘t be on every corner in front of every home. And we know that there are citizens who will do what they have to do to protect themselves.”

    I think the police have a pretty healthy perspective in Detroit.

  • anon||

    Really?

    I think they kinda just said "Fuck it, we can't do shit anyways."

  • Ben ||

    This case study really backs up an intuitive feeling I've had for a long time that the minarchy vs. anarchy debate is a sad waste of time in the libertarian community, dividing people up on something they fundamentally agree on.

    Anarchy leads to minarchy, inevitably, as the people of Detroit are demonstrating by already setting up their own sort of minarchy, with armed neighborhood watch groups, etc.

    All minarchy and law represent are, as Bastiat put it, "the collective organization of the individual right to defend oneself, one's liberty, and one's property. Each of us has a natural right from God to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. If every person has the right to defend 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."

    That's what people do in a state of anarchy...they set up a minarchy. The two are so closely related that for so many to spar and waste mental effort on the distinction is a mental drain on the brainpower of liberty loving people in our society.

  • tarran||

    I don't think you can handwave away the chasm.

    Minarchists want a coercive government that people are compelled to obey. It goes beyond people hiring security guards to patrol their neighborhood.

    If my neighbor decides he doesn't want to pay for the patrol I'm hiring to watch our street, under an anarchic system, I can't scream free rider at him and force him to pony up some money. Under a minarchy I could.

  • ||

    If my neighbor decides he doesn't want to pay for the patrol I'm hiring to watch our street, under an anarchic system, I can't scream free rider at him and force him to pony up some money.

    Which is one of the reasons anarchy isn't self-sustaining.

    Add to that the possibility that the patrol you're hiring becomes, shall we say, difficult to fire.

    Force and the market don't mix too well.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    Add to that the possibility that the patrol you're hiring becomes, shall we say, difficult to fire.


    Yeah, right, private companies are out there to get you. More likely, they won't come to your house if you don't pay, totally contrary to the fiction we have now where everybody pays yet no one comes except to draw the chalk outline on your body.

  • ||

    You feel about private companies the way communists feel about the government: that they're populated by angels.

    Those ruthless power-hungry turds in government that you and I denounce today? They'll be in private companies in an ancap society.

  • tarran||

    They'll waste gobs of money an forcing me to remain a customer?

    Old mex has it right - once a person refuses to pay, it becomes very expensive to compel them to keep paying.

  • tarran||

    Ah crap - accidentally clicked send prematurely.

    To continue:
    There are lots of fish in the sea. It's more economical to pursue suspects who might be willing to become paying customers rather than trying to force them to join.

    Yes, there is a potential for abuses to occur. But the statists greatly exaggerate the frequency with which they will occur.

  • ||

    It's more economical to pursue suspects who might be willing to become paying customers rather than trying to force them to join.

    Show your work.

    The fact that the mafia and other organized crime outfits use force to get people to pay for their protection would seem to indicate otherwise. Nothing is stopping the mafia from using noncoercive and unthreatening persuasion to get new customers and keep old ones.

    Yes, there is a potential for abuses to occur. But the statists greatly exaggerate the frequency with which they will occur.

    Replacing your pipes with cardboard plumbing may result in water leaks in your house, but not as many as you might think.

    Of course...it only takes one leak to ruin everything.

  • tarran||

  • Zeb||

    "once a person refuses to pay, it becomes very expensive to compel them to keep paying."

    Does it?

  • ||

    Apparently tarran has never heard the expression "you have to spend money to make money".

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    You feel about private companies the way communists feel about the government: that they're populated by angels.


    You got it all backwards. I count on the fact that companies are populated by self-interested individuals and not angels, which is why I consider your misgivings totally without merit. A self-interested individual would do the utmost to please his customer. Angels don't make profits.

  • ||

    A self-interested individual would do the utmost to please his customer.

    A self-interested individual does his utmost to make profits. If threatening his customers is more effective to that end than pleasing them, then he's going to threaten.

    Once again, you're taking your intuition of how people behave in a society watched over by a strong state, and applying it to a stateless society. Above-ground businesspersons in a state-governed society don't have the option of threatening their customers, so they rely exclusively on persuasion. That's why "pleasing your customers" is a must in our society.

  • Zeb||

    The fact that governments exist almost universally leads me to believe that someone would find it worth their while to use force to get people to do what they want. The elements of human nature which lead people to seek power at the expense of others is not going to magically disappear if you get rid of government.
    This is why, while I am pretty anarchistic philosophically, I don't think that it is a practical possibility. Sooner or later, there will be someone or some group that has the desire and the means to force other people to do what they want. Poof: government exists.

  • sarcasmic||

    There are two and only two ways to attain wealth: Produce it or take it.

    Why go through the trouble of producing wealth when you can take it, or employ people to take it for you?

    Theft is when someone takes something from you and there is someone out there to help you get it back from them.

    Taxation is when that someone who helps you get back what was taken from you is the one doing the taking.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Add to that the possibility that the patrol you're hiring becomes, shall we say, difficult to fire.

    Which is why one should learn to defend one's self.

  • ||

    Defend yourself from what?

    A lone unarmed burglar in the middle of the night? Not too hard.

    A couple of knife-wielding muggers in a dark alley? A little tougher.

    A heavily armed gang who make a living using force? You ain't got a prayer unless you're better armed and/or have a bigger gang. In which case you're the government.

    People here tend to think they'd be OK in an anarchy because they've got a handgun or a rifle. What they don't understand is that the two-legged threats to your safety in a territory controlled by a strong state pale in comparison to those in a territory that isn't.

  • tarran||

    People here tend to think they'd be OK in an anarchy because they've got a handgun or a rifle. What they don't understand is that the two-legged threats to your safety in a territory controlled by a strong state pale in comparison to those in a territory that isn't.

    That's more an emotional belief than something grounded in evidence.

  • ||

    Cherry picked evidence FTL.

    I have a strong feeling you would have bitched about those nosy vigilance committees if you were living in Abilene, too.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    A heavily armed gang who make a living using force? You ain't got a prayer unless you're better armed and/or have a bigger gang. In which case you're the government.

    Only if your bigger gang sticks together after the danger has passed. Societies of mutual aid and benefit is a well-known concept in Anarchism of all flavors.

  • ||

    They're not a well-known concept in real life, unfortunately. They don't arise in response to mafia activity, for instance.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    They're not a well-known concept in real life, unfortunately. They don't arise in response to mafia activity, for instance.

    That's because the police would arrest you for forming a lynch mob.

  • ||

    Anarchy does lead to the emergence of a new de facto government, yes.

    It's probably not going to be a minarchy though. Minarchies develop only under very, very specific and historically unusual circumstances.

  • sarcasmic||

    I always figure governments arose as different armed gangs competed over a "protection" racket, and the "winner" became government.

  • ||

    ding ding

    Most of the time that's how it works; it's the "natural" process of government creation.

    Britain and the US had very weird development processes that led to their democratic and limited governments.

  • sarcasmic||

    Show me a limited government that is limited.

  • ||

    You have to go back in time, for sure, but they did exist. And of course, the US govt even now is not remotely close to being an omnipotent state which is the norm for human societies. Horrifying patterns of police abuse and overregulation aside, the US is still probably the freest country in the world.

    The natural process, as Mr Jefferson noted, is for government to grow at the expense of liberty.

  • sarcasmic||

    With no process for the removal of shitty legislation and regulation, the logical conclusion of such accumulation is a totalitarian state.

    It's only a matter of time before any last signs of the American Experiment are gone forever, never to be seen again.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: sarcasmic,

    Show me a limited government that is limited.


    Costa Rica's is fairly limited.

  • Jumbie||

    Just a thought, but if I've heard democracy leads to tyranny and now you add anarchy leads to minarchy.

    Is there a link between minarchy and democracy? Cuz then we're screwed.

  • dumphy||

    When seconds count, the police are there in minutes.

    When minutes count, the police won't show up at all.

  • Copsucker||

    First AND with a cliché dunphy comment, congratulations.

    He's never claimed anything of the sort, of course.

  • ||

    Incidentally, I am not a connoisseur of the minarchy vs. anarchy debate.

    I'm getting a strong whiff of Br'er Rabbit from that line.

    But it seems that if Detroit’s citizens can find some way to create a sphere of law and (spontaneous) order in the face of this massive government failure, they will offer some support for the viability of the latter.

    Um, what? A crime-ridden shithole existing under apparent anarchy is not support for the viability of anarchy.

    Of course, the reality is that it's only a temporary anarchy even if the city govt is totally ignoring things. Some group is going to come out on top (or possibly many groups, each controlling a small part of the former city) and then they're going to be the de facto government.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    Um, what? A crime-ridden shithole existing under apparent anarchy is not support for the viability of anarchy.


    The point is that it won't be a "crime-ridden" shithole for long after people fill in the void left by the government. The result of government failure IS a raise in crime. The people fill the void in a spontaneous, non-centralized way.

    A Tiny may argue that the cost of protection rises when people have to manage the system themselves, but that is the truth about ALL systems - they're costly at the beginning, the cost coming down as time goes by and better systems are created. The same was for electrical power, telephone, telegraph or smoke signals.

  • ||

    The point is that it won't be a "crime-ridden" shithole for long after people fill in the void left by the government.

    Care to make it interesting? A bet on whether Detroit is still a crime-ridden shithole a year from now would clear the air a bit.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tulpa,

    A bet on whether Detroit is still a crime-ridden shithole a year from now would clear the air a bit.


    Barring any government intervention against the people's right to bear arms, otherwise the bet is off. I will concede if one year hence no apparent reduction in crime has manifested and will thus reply to your posts with "Re: Tulpa The Great Was Right,"

  • ||

    So barring something that is certain to happen (and which you have an even more expansive view of than I do), the bet is accepted?

    If you're going to claim that "well, this isn't a REAL anarchy" then you can't crow about how it proves anarchy is viable.

  • protefeed||

    It isn't an anarchy at all. The biggest criminal gang in Detroit -- the city government -- is not going away, and is continuing its theft of perhaps 10% of GDP.

    That the biggest gang is becoming less effective at squelching smaller gangs is hardly proof that no gangs exist.

  • protefeed||

    I doubt that the crime-ridden shithole that is the government of Detroit will go away, so that is a bet I'm not going to take.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I support anything that brings Batman into our reality.

  • Alack||

    Then shouldn't you be out shooting billionaire philanthropists?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I'm closer to the Penguin.

  • 35N4P2BYY||

    This sounds less Batman and more Punisher to me, particularly the bit about the dude giving the hoodlum a taste of the barrel of his pistol.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    This sounds less Batman and more Punisher to me, particularly the bit about the dude giving the hoodlum a taste of the barrel of his pistol.

    I thinking more The Dark Knight Returns.

  • 35N4P2BYY||

    Add in the fact that the dude has a law enforcement background, Frank Castle all the way. All that's missing is the dead family.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I guess you're right.

  • 35N4P2BYY||

    Although, I'll take a twofer, The Punisher and The Dark Knight in Detroit. Marvel, D.C. universe divides be damned!

  • ||

    Where I live, most people carry guns anyway and crime is extremely low. Maybe Detroit residents should have told their politicians to fuck off an die a long time ago, and maybe this problem wouldn't have arisen then.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Let's not forget that the vast majority of this crime stems from the prohibition of drugs. Legalize or just decriminalize drugs and these violent fights for 'turf' become legal, peaceful economic competition for market share.

  • sarcasmic||

    Decriminalization is like being a little bit pregnant.

  • Gojira||

    Can we spin the "little bit pregnant" comment into a massive thread about abortion? PLEASE?

  • ||

    Old Detroit has a cancer.

  • Brad||

    Obviously, the residents of Detroit have learned nothing from the movie, Boyz in the Hood.

    But seriously, I like Reason partly because they take a more moderate approach to libertarianism than many of the commenters here and the "activists." But this post seems to indicate the writers may be trying to identify themselves more with some of the extremist, hardcore "big L's" who post here, by not making much of a distinction between self defense and vigilante justice.

    Seriously, these kinds of debates seem out of touch with reality. I'm all for independent, out-of-the-box thinking, but I think I'll stick with the idea that self defense is ok but vigilante justice is not.

  • Shorter Brad||

    A little bit of freedom is all you need. Everyone else is just an "extremist".

  • 1% of big L libertarians||

    I totally disagree with shorter Brad.

    Now let's go win some elections!!!one!!

  • Bingo||

    Big L? The Libertarian Party isn't anywhere close to advocating private justice systems.

  • Daniel||

    Bullshit.

    It Must be.

    I did not see this in a Chrysler/UAW commercial narrated by Clint Eastwood during the Superbowl.

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