The Horrific Life of the Police Officer
by Mark R. Crovelli
by Mark R. Crovelli: The
Trouble With Rick Santelli
in the world seem to appreciate just how awful it is to be a government
police officer. It’s not that the job involves particularly physically
demanding work, or that the job is particularly dangerous. In fact,
the work is not nearly physically demanding enough (as the
cop fatness problem
demonstrates), and neither is it particularly dangerous (being a
cop doesn’t even make the top ten
most dangerous jobs). Nor is the job terrible because of the
unstated obligation to wear a tawdry mustache in public. Instead,
what makes the job so horrific is the fact that it requires living
a completely contradictory moral life.
human beings, whose jobs require adherence to the same moral standards
that apply in their private lives, police officers are required
to act in ways they would never even consider in their private lives.
For forty hours a week (or more, if they are trying to milk
their departments’ overtime rackets), police officers are required
to forget the moral standards that govern their private interactions
with their own friends, families and neighbors and adopt the moral
outlook of the sociopath and the gangster.
the job of the police officer involves giving orders to strangers
and locking them up in cages if they choose not to obey. Unless
the police officer is a complete sociopath, he would never consider
acting in such a way in his private life. With his blue polyester
in the closet, for example, the off-duty police officer would never
consider putting his grandpa in a cage if he refuses to obey orders.
He would never consider electrocuting
his children or his grandmother
for refusing to do what he tells them. He would never consider beating
up his neighbor if she refused to stop her car and show a picture
of herself embossed on government plastic. But he is expected to
do precisely these types of things to people he doesn’t even know
in his "professional" life if they refuse to do what he
and his bosses tell them.
The fact that
police officers are indeed complete
psychopaths should thus not come as a particular surprise. Indeed,
the job is tailor made for the psychopath and the sociopath who
is comfortable with feelings of cognitive dissonance. People with
normally calibrated moral compasses would shudder to think that
they would be required to lock people up in cages, electrocute them,
or beat them with clubs for not doing as they are told. It would
confuse and trouble the normal person to think that by putting on
a blue polyester suit, mustache, and riding boots it was suddenly
morally acceptable to order people around at the point of a gun
(not to mention the icy shudder they would feel at the thought of
wearing the ridiculous kit itself). It would horrify the normal
person to think that part of his job involved smashing down strange
people’s doors, taking their children, shackling them, locking them
in cages, stealing their drugs and guns, and shooting them if they
happen to resist.
The man with
a normally calibrated moral compass is equally disturbed to contemplate
that the purported justification for acting in these barbaric ways
was that politicians, of all people, told them to. It is not as
though God Himself or the Pope gives the police officer sanction
to lock people in cages and to order them about. Quite the reverse,
the sanction comes from people of such sterling moral character
as the coke-snorting
driver, Bush II, and the drug-cartel-connected
perjurer, Clinton I. The sociopath and the psychopath are not troubled
by the fact that their only justification for ordering strange people
around is that a pack of corrupt millionaires
in Washington or Denver told them to, which is what makes such people
sociopaths and psychopaths in the first place. The normal person,
in contrast, is not willing to do things to other people that they
clearly resent or despise, or to order them to do things they oppose,
just because a politician says so.
with a normally calibrated moral compass would begin to wonder why
the moral standards that govern his private life with friends and
family, and which produce relative peace and harmony in that sphere
of his life, do not apply to all situations. Why, the normal person
will inevitably wonder, is there any peace in his family, when no
one wears a special blue suit or has the right to order everyone
around and shackle resisters? How is it possible that he can get
along with his friends at the bowling alley, when none of them is
assigned to break into cars to search for substances the politicians
dislike, and none of them has a right to steal anyone else’s children?
In short, the normal person will begin to wonder why the people
who claim to "protect us" are not held to the same moral
standards as everyone else.
to these questions is simple, even if the person with a normally
calibrated moral compass often cannot see it through the clouds
of propaganda that have been spewed over police officers and politicians.
The answer is, quite simply, that the defense of people’s lives
and property is a job just like any other, and it ought to be provided
on the free market just like every other good and service by people
who are held to exactly the same moral standards as the rest
of the civilized world. The uneasiness that the normal person feels
when confronted with the existence of a group of fat blue-polyester-clad
thugs who are not bound by normal moral standards is completely
understandable and justified. There is no need for these thugs at
all, and there is definitely no justification for exempting them
from the moral standards we hold every other person to.
provision of bread and chairs and computers does not require exempting
anyone from moral standards, or empowering them to beat people up
and order them around. All that is required is to open the door
to competition, and people fall over backwards trying to please
customers in their quest to make money. The
same is just as true of defense services, which can and ought
to be opened to competition
between private providers so that consumers of these services
can choose what kinds of defense services they want to purchase.
In that case, the providers of the services can be held to exactly
the same moral standards as everyone else. Their sole purpose would
be to protect their customers’ lives and property – not to enforce
arbitrary and unjust rules written by rich politicians on unwilling
The key to
liberating the police officer from the contradictory and perverted
moral life he currently leads is simply to privatize the provision
of defense services. Freed from the need to push arbitrary and unjust
rules written by rich politicians on strange people, the police
officer would then be a moral equal to everyone else in the world
who was striving to make money by serving consumers. He would also,
one hopes, be liberated from the requirement to wear the most ridiculous
bureaucratic costume ever devised by man.
Crovelli [send him mail]
writes from Denver, Colorado.
© 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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