Is the Left Playing Catch-up to the Hated Kochs on Police Militarization?


That's the suggestion in this Tim Mak piece for The Daily Beast. Here's a fresh quote from the Democrats' favorite punching bag:

The militarization of police in particular is an issue the Koch brothers view as necessary to tackle and which they have spent years fighting, a spokesman said.

"We need to address issues such as overcriminalization, excessive and disproportionate sentencing, inadequate indigent defense that is inconsistent with the Sixth Amendment, and the militarization of police," Mark Holden, general counsel of Koch Industries Inc., told The Daily Beast. "We have deep respect for the moral dignity of each and every person and because of this, we've worked for decades to support those who defend the full range of individual rights."

Also quoted in the piece are Brian Doherty, Cato Institute criminal justice director Timothy Lynch, the ACLU's Kara Dansky, and me.

In the fab new print issue of Reason (see its Millennials sub-page here), my editor's note—currently available to print subscribers only!—talks about how the rise of the allegedly racist Tea Party has contributed to a criminal-justice reform moment that might just undo some of the worst civil rights abuses of the past 40 years.

Much more interesting than merely finding more fodder for "Team A good, Team B bad" is the reality that single-issue coalitions can and should spring up from all sorts of political sectors, with pissed-off citizens pushing recalcitrant politicians to undo some of America's most egregriously unjust policy errors. Why, someone should write a book about that!

As Brian Doherty told the Beast:

It is an issue in which there is overlap between liberal and libertarian concerns, yes, a chance for coalition building as long as both sides don't get injuriously punctilious about 'playing with the other side….Libertarians might hope it's a teaching moment, as you might say, about the dangers and nature of state power.

Reason on the militarization of police here.