Michael Brown Shooting

On Ferguson, Ron Paul Says 'a culture of violence has invaded all policing activities in the United States.'

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Ludwig Von Mises Institute

At his Voices of Liberty channel, former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul puts the violence in Ferguson (which happily subsided last night under the direction of saner police commanders and less confrontational tactics) in the larger context of "Too many bureaucrats with guns, too many laws, too many regulations, too many prisons—all designed to protect the state."

It's a point, he reminds us, that he made in the wake of the Boston bombing, when police locked down the entire area in search of two suspects. "The Boston bombing provided the opportunity for the government to turn what should have been a police investigation into a military-style occupation of an American city," he wrote at the time, in a widely reported statement.

With regard to recent events, he comments:

Protesters to the police killing an unarmed teenager have been met with tear gas, a substance banned in warfare. Police-initiated violence should surprise no one. NSA spies on everyone without warrants. Drug busts with SWAT teams making mistakes are common. The excessive use of police power should be an expected consequence of big government, which is authoritarian by nature.

Too many bureaucrats with guns, too many laws, too many regulations, too many prisons—all designed to protect the state. The people's liberties are forgotten.

As the economy continues to deteriorate, expect the violence to accelerate. The unfairness of the distribution of wealth that is caused by economic intervention is the constant, smoldering issue that can turn a skirmish with the law into something much bigger. When root causes are not understood, emotions can easily take over.

Before we go all Piketty, note that Paul refers not to income inequality as an evil in itself, but to the consequences of the state gaming and impeding people's ability to create wealth.

In terms of solutions, Paul urges better understanding of civil liberties and property rights, small and local government, and prosperity achieved through free markets rather than authoritarian attempts at redistribution.

NEXT: Rejoice, For Last Night Cops in Ferguson Didn't Act Like Psychos

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  1. Before we go all Piketty, note that Paul refers not to income inequality as an evil in itself, but to the consequences of the state gaming and impeding the system.

    It is a foregone conclusion that the Left will respond to this with a call “not for smaller government, but for fairer government.” That’s precisely what Obama campaigned on.

    1. Even minarchists will tell you that the state is just fine so long as we tweek it to behave certain ways. It comes down to whether you believe in Government Error by Accident or Government Error by Systemic Flaw. Minarchists who recognize the systemic flaw should arrive to the logical conclusion that their preferred vision of government does nothing to address the flaw.

      1. Any system designed and run by humans will be inherently flawed because human beings are inherently flawed. Doesn’t matter if you call it government or pda, or insurance.

        1. Any system designed and run by humans will be inherently flawed because human beings are inherently flawed. Doesn’t matter if you call it government or pda, or insurance.

          By your suggestion, since voluntarily funded organizations and involuntarily funded organizations are both run and designed by humans, they are functionally identical.

          A Ford Pinto and and a Mercedes-Benz are both machines built by humans, so there can be no discernible difference in quality, right? Systems dealing with social order are not all created equal, obviously.

      2. Your flaw, is seem to think everything will be hunky dory so long as we implement the “right” system. We can sit back, and everything will be fine on it’s own without any action from the citizenry. Your flaw is failing to realize that there will ALWAYS be government no matter what. Some evil will rule you, without fail. So your choices are to control it to the best of your ability, realizing that you can’t and will eventually need to start over, or setting up despotism from the onset, which is what you advocate.

        Yes, government is anti-liberty. No, shit. Everybody knows that. Anarchism is not the solution, as the government that will arise from it will be completely totalitarian.

        1. It depresses me that I keep having to cite this over and over. You might not agree with its conclusions, but don’t pretend like this is some new devastating counter-argument to an-capism that we haven’t addressed before.

          1. Anarchy works everywhere where people behave in ways entirely unlike the ways people actually behave

            Well, no shit. In a society full of right-thinking individuals all of whom respect individual rights government is redundant. If you think this is that society, I hope I never have to say “I told you so”.

            1. What makes you think I want a “society” at all?

              1. The 800+ years in the Holy Roman Empire of proprietary principalities existing without being consumed is a pretty good answer.

                Because you probably get a great deal of enjoyment from the division of labor whether you know it or not 😉

                1. What makes you think I want a “society” at all?

                  Because you probably get a great deal of enjoyment from the division of labor whether you know it or not 😉

                  bad copy and paste job, sorry for consusion

            2. You’re confusing institutions with individual beliefs and knowledge.

              The West didn’t become wealthy and relatively free because it was full of brilliant people who understood and elaborated on Locke’s arguments. It became wealthy and relatively free because most of the institutions underlying people’s lives shifted from monopolistic state concerns to voluntary ones.

              The idea that this couldn’t happen again under an anarcho-capitalist system just as easily as it did under a relatively hands-off US government is goofy, as goofy as saying that the only way to avoid a police force given to accepting bribes is to have a force filled with right-thinking, ethical policemen.

              You don’t get ethical institutions by recruiting ethical individuals; you get ethical institutions by reinforcing ethical behavior.

              1. You don’t get ethical institutions by recruiting ethical individuals; you get ethical institutions by reinforcing ethical behavior.

                Similarly, institutions that encourage objectively unethical behavior systematically promote injustice.

            3. Well, no shit. In a society full of right-thinking individuals all of whom respect individual rights government is redundant. If you think this is that society, I hope I never have to say “I told you so”.

              If it’s your position that anarcho-capitalists envision a world with no rules where everyone interacts without conflict, then you’ve clearly established yourself as someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. If you won’t take the time to understand the arguments of your adversaries then don’t waste anyone else’s time with strawman arguments and worthless platitudes.

          2. I’ll watch this when I get home. I’m open to your ideas, but I’ve yet to have anyone give me a satisfactory answer to how I stop a nation state from taking my shit (or even a band of well armed organized criminals for that matter).

            I’ll watch and comment tonight, if anyone cares to check back.

            Gotta run.

            1. nation state

              band of well armed organized criminals

              Redundant.

            2. The 800+ years in the Holy Roman Empire of proprietary principalities existing without being consumed is a pretty good answer. The continued existence of places like Lichtenstein and San Marino is a pretty good answer. The fact that you probably don’t argue in favor of a World Government tells me that you’re aware on some level that smaller polities, societies and institutions are not devoured by larger ones by default.

              1. There is no higher state that governs the actions of the 192+ states in the world today, they exist in a state of anarchy vis-?-vis each other, no? So why is it not a perpetual war of all against all like I’m told it would be?

          3. It depresses me that I keep having to cite this over and over. You might not agree with its conclusions, but don’t pretend like this is some new devastating counter-argument to an-capism that we haven’t addressed before.

            Gave it a good listen, Mulatto. I like hearing Bob Murphy more when he’s a got an English narrator, to be sure.

          4. Okay, listened to this. It was full of logical fallacies, tu quoque, non sequiturs… It answered NONE of my concerns with anarchism, and was quite simply a bunch of babble.

            In fact, it reinforced my problem with Anarchy, which is that it requires everyone within a society to believe in the NAP and assumes bad guys don’t exist. He as much as says this:

            (paraphrasing)

            It happened in Somalia but wouldn’t happen in a place with “enlightened law abiding citizens”.

            Show me such a utopia.

            1. “(E)nlightened law abiding citizens” exist where education (*not* indoctrination) is readily available.

              “No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.” ~ Samuel Adams

              Education = Enlightenment = NAP
              Indoctrination = Ignorance = Violence
              Ipso Facto.

        2. Your flaw, is seem to think everything will be hunky dory so long as we implement the “right” system. We can sit back, and everything will be fine on it’s own without any action from the citizenry.

          I don’t recall saying all the problems in existence would melt away. I said that statism is inferior to free market produced government functions.

          Your flaw is failing to realize that there will ALWAYS be government no matter what.

          Governance is desirable. Government, as in the Westphalian nation-states, are not an absolute fixture of nature, as evidenced by their non-existence in many times and places.

          So your choices are to control it to the best of your ability, realizing that you can’t and will eventually need to start over, or setting up despotism from the onset, which is what you advocate.

          So where’s this control of government you speak of? Government in control of itself, restraining itself and being the ultimate arbitrator of disputes, even those involving itself. That sounds like ‘under control’ to you? As nuanced as the argument is, that humanity must lock itself in a never-ending cycle of statist murder and plundering, I’m just not buying it.

        3. Yes, government is anti-liberty. No, shit. Everybody knows that. Anarchism is not the solution, as the government that will arise from it will be completely totalitarian.

          Well if you care to make some theoretical argument as opposed to a hypothetical assertion, that might be worth discussing.

          1. I have made the argument over and over again and you have failed to refute it.

            Here it is again:

            In a system without one agency having a monopoly of force, bad guys can match/surpass the force of any opposition and simply steal whatever they need/want.

            As soon as you pay someone to be your monopoly of force, YOU HAVE GOVERNMENT. And there is absolutely NO REASON that “government” (once formed) will not turn against you and steal your shit.

            You are simply trading current problems (forcing a government to adhere to its constitution) for a whole new set of problems (forcing your private protection companies to live up to their contracts).

            And I haven’t even touched upon a nation-state trying to take your shit. Is each little anarcho enforcement agency going to have it’s own fighter squadron and carrier fleet? Are they each going to develop those technologies separately? You think our military is expensive now, think of the costs after eliminating economies of scale.

            Sorry, but predictable consequences are predictable.

            1. “In a system without one agency having a monopoly of force, bad guys can match/surpass the force of any opposition and simply steal whatever they need/want.”

              False.

              If my neighbor was being raided by bad guys, the simple logic of self-preservation would dictate that I join him in his defense, thereby guaranteeing my own. Militia as opposed to standing army. No monopoly of force required.

              An “anarcho enforcement agency” would have no need for fighter squadrons or carrier fleets – those are only necessary when one government violates another. No government, no war, no fighter squadrons, QED.

              The only thing predictable is Statist sycophancy. . .

              1. An “anarcho enforcement agency” would have no need for fighter squadrons or carrier fleets

                You do when the nation-state coming to take your shit has them. Or is your claim that because you are really, really nice, no one will try to take your shit?

      3. Yeah, the federalist papers and BoR are a veritable Pollyanna wrt government power.

  2. I don’t think “invaded” is quite the right term, the policeman has always been there, not to create disorder, but to preserve disorder. Cops have always been the skull-cracking blunt instrument of the state. The “culture of violence” is coming from inside the house.

  3. What a crackpot.

  4. The Boston lockdown demonstrated just how much progressives love themselves some police state … but only when the welfare state that it serves allows gay marriage and abortion on demand, of course.

    Boston strong.

  5. Any system designed and run by humans will be inherently flawed because human beings are inherently flawed.

    But a *government* system imbues the people who are part of it with suprahuman empathy and wisdom!

    1. Where did I say any such thing?

      1. Well you seem to imply that since market based institutions are made by the same species that also made Westphalian nation-states, there’s no superiority in one system over another. Do you recognize that government as an institution is not suitable to design, build and sell iphones? If so then you are perfectly aware that certain institutions are better at certain things than others and you should from there be able to recognize the mere possibility that restructuring our system of governance might just produce better governance.

  6. Once we reduce government by 99 percent, I’ll start worrying about the practical implications of minarchy vs. anarchy.

    1. I won’t start worrying until government is reduced by 100%. . . gotta give anarchy a chance to work before the practical implications can be realized.

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