Thursday, July 14, 2016

Blue Bloods

One problem with the current debate over law enforcement is that you have pundits and special interest groups who act as though there are only two sides to this issue: either give police carte blanche or view police as the enemy. Our adversarial political climate fosters these simplistic binaries. 

I. The Confederacy redux

On the one hand, there are pundits and special interest groups who view law enforcement as the Confederacy. After losing the Civil War, somehow Confederates had the foresight to infiltrate the police force in Northern states and cities. 

Despite the fact that many big cities have minority mayors, city councilmen, judges, district attorneys, police chiefs, and police, the shadowy white establishment exerts subliminal mind control on all these minorities in government and law enforcement to make them practice Jim Crow. 

Social Justice Warriors are schizophrenic about law enforcement. On the one hand, they lobby to pass laws that coerce compliance with their political agenda. Yet they simultaneously distrust and demonize the law enforcement agencies on which they depend to impose these laws on the general public. 

In addition, the liberal establishment suffers from a collective death wish. It is spearheading policies, like unrestricted immigration and open contempt for the Constitution, that will reduce the US to a banana Republic. 

II. Blue Bloods

On the other hand, you have old-guard conservatives who automatically back the police. They have a Blue Bloods image of law enforcement. They view any attack on the police as an attack on the public because the police exist to protect the public from the criminal element. 

I watched the first season of Blue Bloods. I enjoyed Tom Selleck. But that's the only thing the show had going for it. The Jesse Stone movies are better vehicles for Selleck. 

Blue Bloods presents a sanitized, idealized view of policing. Not just from the police side of things, but an equally unrealistic depiction of what the police are up against. 

As I've remarked before, the job of the police isn't to protect the public but to enforce the law. If you have protective laws, then law enforcement will be protective. But that's a side-effect of policing. If you have oppressive laws, then law enforcement will be oppressive. To a great extent, the police are pawns of the political class. For good or ill, they do what the political class requires of them. 

In addition, you have for-profit policing (e.g. ticket quotas, civil forfeiture). That isn't to protect the public. Rather, that's a cash cow for City Hall. And it's a corrupting incentive. 

There aren't just two sides to the current debate over law enforcement. That's a false dichotomy. The alternatives aren't that logically partitioned. 

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