“There are no good cops.” — Robert Higgs

This page is a collection of individual Facebook posts about cops, from author and economic historian, Robert Higgs.

The most menacing people are those who know they can commit all sorts of crimes and get away with them. You realize, of course, that I am referring to the government’s cops.

The “good cop/bad cop” question can be disposed of decisively. We need only consider the following:

1) Every cop has agreed, as part of his job, to enforce laws, all of them.
2) Many of the laws are manifestly unjust, or even cruel and wicked.
3) Therefore every cop has agreed to act as an enforcer of laws that are manifestly unjust, or even cruel and wicked.

There are no good cops.

United States of America, a country where half the population is terrorized by the cops, and the other half like it that way.

In the past I have called attention to the fact that all cops sign up to enforce the laws, all of the laws, and many of these laws are evil; therefore there is no such thing as a good cop.

Some people have replied that good cops do exist because some cops decline to enforce evil laws, using their discretion to refrain from arresting or otherwise helping to punish people who violate those laws.

I do not deny that such cops exist, but their existence does not demonstrate that some cops are good. It demonstrates only that some cops are fake. They are not real cops, but cops who fail to do the job for which they were hired, the job they agreed to do when they signed on. They are still sponging off the taxpayers, who can only pray that when they violate an evil law, luck will be on their side and they will be noticed only by such a counterfeit cop and not by a real one.

When I rail against cops, people always tell me that there are some good cops. I am not persuaded. If the bad cops were only “a few bad apples” or even only a substantial minority of the force, the good cops would arrest them for their crimes. They don’t, because the good cops are as mythical as the unicorn. The cops are a heavily armed terrorist gang that enjoys the support of delusional citizens who have never had the bad luck to have a serious encounter with them.

A common excuse for a cop’s actions is that he “doesn’t make the laws, he only enforces the laws the government has made.” This is weak at best, because anyone who knows anything at all about how cops conduct themselves knows that they (along with the prosecutors) have great discretion in whether they enforce a law at all and, if they do so, in how they enforce it. Yes, bad laws are definitely a problem, but bad cops are at least equally a problem because they are where the rubber of bad laws meets the road of victimizing people by such laws’ enforcement.

BTW, a similar argument may be made in regard to the frequent claim that members of the armed forces should not be blamed for the evils that come from decisions made by the President or Congress with regard to engagement in military actions abroad. If no one were willing to enforce bad laws or carry out bad foreign military engagements, such laws and military engagements would be effectively null and hence harmless.

To side with the cops is to side with the forces that are tormenting the people and crushing their rights, to side with the cops’ paymasters, who possess the means of making these payments only because the cops guarantee that they can successfully plunder the people via taxes, fines, fees, forfeitures, confiscations, and other fruits of extortion.

Thus, the people are paying, under coercion, to reward their own oppressors.

Back in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteen centuries, pirates did not wander around in the south Atlantic Ocean. They went instead to the Caribbean Sea and nearby places where they could intercept the treasure ships laden with silver, gold, and jewels being carried from Peru and New Spain back to Spain.

Today’s cops are the same. They do not wander around wasting time trying to catch thieves, rapists, and murderers. No, they devote huge fractions of their time and other resources to handing out traffic citations to people who have violated no one’s natural rights and waging the drug war, where they can either steal drugs outright or use asset forfeiture laws to enrich themselves by snatching property that belongs to other people. In short, the cops tend in high disproportion to go where the money is and, in one way of another, to get it for themselves.

In sum, they are in large part simply pirates. The main difference is that they have much better public relations and political connections than Black Bart and Blackbeard had.

On the assumption that cops don’t want to get shot, here’s a proposal: cops should stop enforcing the drug laws. By doing so, they would simultaneously reduse their risks and promote justice. What’s not to love?

I have been struck while reading social media by the large number of people who, because they have never been attacked for no reason by a police officer, refuse to believe that cops attack inoffensive people; who, because they have never been murdered by a cop, refuse to believe that cops murder people; who, because their home has never been invaded by a SWAT team, refuse to believe that SWAT teams invade inoffensive people’s homes every day; and so forth. These people need to get out more. It appears that a huge class of Americans — mainly middle-class, suburban, white people — will never believe they live in a police state until they themselves are victimized by it.

People think you’re nuts if you say that steadfast resistance to the government’s demands — about anything whatsoever — will eventually get you killed. How often, they ask, do the cops gun down people because they fail to pay the taxes levied on them or fail to comply with some bullshit regulation? But this objection misses the point.

Government functionaries and their cops do not gun down people willy-nilly because people do not often steadfastly resist their demands. If people have capitulated to demands, there’s no need to kill them. Buy if they do steadfastly resist, they can be made an example of — and provide an occasion for sadistic cops to feed their demons.

Americans have many rights. Their national constitution promises to protect them from government violation of these rights. They write books and movie scripts about the defense of their rights. They talk about how other people in the world are not so blessed or did not have heroic ancestors who fought to establish and protect these rights.

The cops, however, didn’t get the memo. Nor did most prosecutors and many judges. What good are rights when the chief enforcers are the chief violators?

Suddenly many people are calling for defunding of the government police. I do not believe, however, that many of these people want to eliminate government policing altogether, and certainly a great majority of Americans would strenuously oppose privatizing the cops. Indeed, government as we know it requires cops, and a great many of them, prepared to intimidate and bully the populace. Without such cops at the command of government authorities, almost all of the existing laws and regulations would become dead letters, and the American people, with rare exceptions, would be appalled and frightened by that prospect. So don’t expect much real change to come out of the current fracas.

Almost fifty years ago the U.S. Supreme Court invented out of whole cloth the doctrine of qualified immunity. This was a kind of message to the American people, as follows: the cops can do whatever they like to you, up to and including murdering you in cold blood, and you have no legal recourse. We find them to be utterly unaccountable for their crimes against the people.

In the circumstances it seems to me that an appropriate reaction by the people at large would be for them to stand up as one and tell the Supreme Court: Fuck you. By this action, among many others, you have forfeited any claim you might ever have had to receive respect for and compliance with your rulings. Go to hell. You have made yourselves an irrelevancy. May God have mercy on your souls.

Anyone who has paid any attention at all knows that U.S. cops are unaccountable and have been for a long time. Yet people look to the political process to rein them in. Those who take this approach fail to understand that the cops do not exist and operate independent or outside of the political process. The cops are an integral part of the state, indeed, a key part because they act to ensure that resistance to the rulers will be smashed quickly before it threatens the system of plunder and oppression over which the state presides. Voting, appealing, going to court — these actions are bound to be more or less futile because they amount to pleas to the very political kingpins who rely on the cops to shield their entire rotten enterprise. Burning down police stations may be satisfying for a while, but genuine change will require that a great deal more be burned down, too.

Look across the USA and you will find cities that vary greatly in their politics. Some, such as Seattle and San Francisco, are quite leftish. Others, such as and Scottsdale and Montgomery, are quite rightish. Yet everywhere across the country, regardless of the political complexion of the local electorate and the elected local officials, the police department is brutal and seemingly impossible to discipline or control.

This uniformity across widely varying political situations tells me that the cops have become a force beyond politics, entirely on their own to carry on their savagery without fear of mayors, city councils, or judges. The USA is a police state in the most literal sense. Berkeley, California, is the most leftish city in the USA, but don’t count on the Berkeley cops for sweetness and light.

Questions: How will children be educated? How will people get healthcare? How will business fluctuations be prevented or moderated? How will people get personal security? How will people receive income when they can no longer work? How will the society’s distressed and disabled receive support and care?

Statist answer: Only by employing threats and actual use of the government’s force and violence. Pass laws, and send out the cops to enforce them.

Libertarian answer: By leaving people alone to deal with these matters through private, cooperative measures voluntarily arranged. Remove government obstructions and penalties, and get out of the way while people arrange their lives in the great variety of ways that suit their personal preferences without resort to force and violence.

For all those who posture as fair and reasonable when they defend the cops, let me ask you this: who exactly has waged the War on Drugs for the past fifty years if not the cops, with the prosecutors and the prison-industrial complex piling on? Given that the War on Drugs has been a hideously vicious and terribly destructive campaign, this one line of work by itself would justify classifying the cops as evil. Of course, it was by no means the only type of evil the cops have committed routinely. It is really impossible for rational, humane people to fall for this ostensibly “fair and reasonable” bullshit. People should be able to recognize unmitigated evil when it looks them squarely in the face.

No, I do not thank you for “your service.”
No, I do not regard you as one of “our heroes.”
No, I do not believe that you and your comrades in arms are now or ever were before protecting my freedom. If anything, it’s the other way around.
No, the government should not erect monuments to your selfless service in wholly unnecessary, highly destructive, and criminal wars abroad. At best, you were a fool for allowing yourself to be used as cannon fodder for lying, self-serving politicians; at worst, you were their criminal accomplice.

And as for you cops, may God have mercy on your vicious soul.

As long as people continue to worship the worst of the false gods, there is no possibility whatsoever that they will be able to free themselves from those who are plundering and oppressing them under color of “government.”

A few days ago the good people of Mahahual, a town about 60 kilometers north of us on the coast, formed a large crowd and demanded that the entire local police force get out of town, which they did under duress. What a heartwarming story. The people of Mahahual had simply had enough extortion and decided they would take no more shit from their cops. At present the town has no government police, which means it is a much better place than it was before.

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