Regime-Based Policing: Another Progressivist Legacy

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One of the
many themes of the Progressivism that has been the governing "model"
in the United States since the late 1800s has been the emphasis
upon "training" and "professionalism" in the
various occupations. (I mean, who can be against "well-trained
professionals" doing their work?)

For all of
the praise given this particular model — which has been absolutely
absorbed into American work and education, not to mention politics
— it is based upon the false notion that a society, from its economy
to all of its institutions, not to mention families, can be managed
through centralized administration. Thus, people really come to
believe that the President of the United States "runs the country."

Whenever there
is a breakdown in this model, the mantra that comes from modern
Progressives is "training, training, and more training."
For example, when two elderly women recently were strip-searched
by Transportation Security Administration officials, the TSA's public
relations machine Pavlovian response was to declare that officials
acted according to how they were trained (which is to say their
actions were "proper"). Later, the
TSA gave a conditional apology
, claimed it was in the right:

Lenore Zimmerman,
85, accused the TSA in December of taking
her into a private room and removing her clothes
. Days later,
Ruth Sherman, 88 came forward with the charge that over the Thanksgiving
holiday, TSA agents made her remove
her clothes so they could inspect her colostomy bag
.

In Zimmerman’s
case, officials insisted proper procedures were followed
but issued an apology for the inconvenience. (emphasis mine)

Unfortunately,
as things went, it also turned out that officials were lying about
what happened, but lying, too, is part of "professional conduct"
in Progressive America. However, the TSA hardly is the only entity
these days that violates rights of individuals; indeed, government
brutality, and especially brutality toward helpless people, has
become the norm, not the exception in American life.

This is not
due to the existence of "rogue" officials, "rogue"
prosecutors, and "rogue" cops, as the defenders of these
people might claim. Furthermore, abuse and brutality is not the
result of a "lack of training" or anything else in the
Progressivist mantra. There really is rhyme and reason to what is
happening, and in this piece, I want to deal with the increasing
incidents of police brutality, and especially police brutality toward
women.

As I will point
out, the brutality that male police visit upon women is a direct
result of Progressivism and the supposed government protections
of women that have been presented in various laws such as the Violence
Against Women Act
. (And, yes, the VAWA is squarely within the
realm of Progressivist thinking.) Furthermore, I believe that the
very things that the "experts" claim make the police more
"professional" actually is what makes them more brutal
and less likely to abide by the law. In the end, what we have to
understand is that the police in this country, for all of their
claims to "protect and serve" communities actually "protect
and serve" only one entity: the state.

Worship of
the state has long been a centerpiece of Progressivism in the United
States. As Samuel
Blumenfeld has noted in his works
that deal with the history
of public (government) education in this country, the Unitarians
like Horace Mann — who were the early "Progressives" —
that led the early common school crusades saw government education
as a means of "socializing" children in order to make
them into "obedient servants of the state." Throughout
the works of John Dewey and others who gave us modern government
education, one will find the theme of "serving the state."

Americans today
have fully absorbed the view that their existence is to further
the American state, including its empire. Witness the bile and hatred
that both conservatives and liberals have heaped upon Ron
Paul in his current presidential campaign, as Dr. Paul is the only
person running for the government's highest office who says that
government should protect individual rights, not squash them.

That being
the case, one should not be surprised that American police no longer
view their jobs as protecting other Americans from being assaulted
by others, including their government. Instead, American police
as a whole today believe that their job is to protect the state
and themselves from individuals who will not submit to their authority.

In watching
the very disturbing video
that appears here
, I came to realize that what we were seeing
is the very microcosm of government in the USA. Here is a woman
who was falsely arrested, beaten by a cop before she was put into
a police car, dragged into a cell, stripped naked by both male and
female police officers, and then left naked in front of male officers
for six hours.

This was law
breaking at its worst, yet the telling thing is not the brutality
of what happened, but instead its aftermath. We witness crimes —
serious crimes — being committed by officers of Stark County, Ohio,
yet the only person who was convicted of anything was the woman
being sexually assaulted. Prosecutors hid the tapes from the woman's
defense attorneys and other incriminating police videos were made
to disappear.

Furthermore,
police lied during the woman's trial, and they lied to the media
and to everyone else. After a Cleveland television station made
the whole thing public, there was an outcry, but nothing
was done. Yes, the Ohio Attorney General's office claimed to investigate,
but in the end the police were "exonerated," and government
authorities quietly "settled" with the woman for an undisclosed
sum of money, and no one in authority lost his job.

Stark County
is not a backwater by any means. It is the home of the National
Football League Hall of Fame, and every year the national media
visits Canton when players are indicted into the Hall. Most likely,
the police performing that brutal act at least had attended college
and very well were college graduates.

This case hardly
is the exception; it is the rule. Male police officers today routinely
beat up women less than half their size and never face even a whit
of discipline for their brutality. Police regularly lie under oath
(police jokingly call it "testilying"), and female officers
never complain and often are complicit in the beatings and lying.

When I was
growing up in the 1950s and 60s, any male who would beat up a woman
was scorned as a coward or worse, and that scorn extended to any
police officer who would do the same. I recall a friend of mine
who was protesting abortion in Rome, Italy, in the 1990s being arrested.
When she refused to cooperate with the police, the males sent the
female officers out of the room and then proceeded to beat up my
friend.

However, unlike
American female police officers who seem to enjoy brutality against
women as much as their male counterparts, the Italian women officers
screamed and beat against the door and demanded that the beating
stop. The men ultimately were shamed by the women into stopping
their assault; something like that simply could not and would not
happen in the USA.

(My friend
spent six weeks in the Rome jail, and said it had a wonderful library
and one could purchase wine at the commissary to have with the evening
meal. If an inmate were misbehaving, she said, the authorities would
come down with what they believed was a most severe consequence:
withholding that person's wine for the night.)

The question,
of course, is why American authorities, be they police, TSA agents,
prosecutors, or others dressed in "official" costumes,
are protected from any consequences when they brutalize innocents
and weak people, lie under oath, break the law, and more. I believe
the reason is simple: Americans today who are placed in positions
of authority know from the beginning that their job — their
sole job — is to protect the regime, be it local, state, or national.
(The fact that most local and state agencies dispense with local
and state symbols and display eagles or the American flag, or at
best they make the local symbols subservient to nationals ones is
most telling about their regime mentality.)

Who is a threat
to the regime? Anyone who is not employed in those state agencies
whose members carry weapons. Everyone outside those entities exists
for one reason and one reason only: to provide the continued funding
for those "inside" to carry on with their careers. What
Will Grigg calls "mundanes" have as their sole purpose
in life to finance and to obey those that "protect" the
regime. There is no other reason for our existence.

How, then,
does one explain the existence of this brutality toward women and
the existence of the VAWA? One must remember that the VAWA is a
political act, and so anyone who allegedly perpetrates a
violent act against a woman has not harmed an individual, but rather
has harmed the state. Likewise, given that the state now
takes responsibility for determining what is violence and what is
not, there is much leeway to be given to state agents that make
such decisions.

Furthermore,
everyone who is not part of the "law enforcement" class
is seen as a potential or real enemy of the state, and that includes
women who don't wear blue or brown costumes and carry Glocks and
Tasers. When TSA agents strip down elderly women, they don't do
it to protect other passengers, but rather to "protect America."
(The 9-11 attacks themselves are seen as an "attack on America,"
not the destruction of the Trade Towers and the killing of nearly
3,000 people. We use collectivized terms like "national security"
to describe attacks on American individuals as opposed to calling
them what they are: assaults upon the rights of individual Americans,
not attacks upon an entire country.)

After the Bush
administration launched its "War on Terror" in the wake
of 9-11, it became clear that every American individual who was
not employed either by the U.S. Armed Forces or in an American police
agency was deemed as a "potential terrorist." And "terrorists"
are, of course, the enemy, and enemies deserve no protection. Since
it is conceivable (I guess it is conceivable) that terrorists
would recruit elderly Jewish ladies to carry bombs in their colostomy
bags, those ladies must be strip-searched in order to prevent such
dastardly deeds from happening.

So we see the
ultimate end of the Progressive movement from more than a century
ago: the United States is divided into those people who are part
of the regime, and those who are not. Those who are not employed
by agencies that protect the regime are viewed with suspicion and
distrust and outright hatred by their regime counterparts. The mundanes
exist to obey and serve, period. Those employed as protectors of
the regime are called "trained professionals," thus fulfilling
the Progressivist dream of having such people in control of everyone
else.

In Stark County,
Ohio, the regime protection mechanism moved full gear. The woman
being brutalized was demonized and shown by the police to be someone
who was a danger to others. The prosecutors covered for the police
and the Ohio attorney general covered for police and prosecutors.
The U.S. Attorney General's office, despite the fact that it had
videotaped evidence of federal crimes being committed, instead covered
for everyone else.

Who paid? The
taxpayers of Stark County, the mundanes whose job it is to fund
the police and prosecutorial machine and to accept police beatings
and wrongful prosecutions all the while praising their tormentors
ultimately paid for the settlement of the lawsuit. None of the perpetrators
lost his or her job; none of the prosecutors who lied and withheld
evidence faced a job loss or even a whit of discipline.

Alas,
we see the dream of the Progressivists run headlong into the Laws
of Nature and especially the laws of human nature. People
who are not held accountable for their actions ultimately are very
likely to abuse their privileges and the more it becomes clear that
certain lines of employment will offer protection for the worst
among us, the worst among us will be those who take such jobs.

Progressivists,
like their socialist counterparts, believed that "training"
and "professionalism" would negate any tendency of individuals
to abuse their powers. What we are finding is that not only was
it impossible to create the
New Socialist Man
, but that all of the formal education, training,
and "professional attitudes" cannot keep a bully from
acting like a bully. The Progressivists have claimed they have been
producing a "kind and compassionate" government, but what
they have actually created is a brutal regime that destroys anyone
deemed to be in the way.

January
30, 2012

William
L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him
mail
], teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland,
and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig
von Mises Institute
. He
also is a consultant with American Economic Services. Visit
his blog.

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