23 May 2016

New York Police: Intoxicated by Power


The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has long shown their disdain for the Constitution and the rule of law. Though they fell under some criticism for 'Stop and Frisk' they continue to abuse their authority and believe they are the totalitarian masters of the Five Boroughs.

Perhaps even more disturbing than random and arbitrary frisking of people walking down the street is this home invasion business.

Just today as I listened to yet another report of a family dying in a house fire, I was struck by the strained and pleading voice for smoke detectors. Indeed, anyone who doesn't have one is foolish, but how long (I wonder) before NYC or perhaps some other jurisdiction demands home inspection? It will start just in homes with minor children and branch out from there. There are people who sit around and dream of such things. Then they can always find someone to implement them, like the pedantic and priggish (and supremely pompous) bureaucrats who walk around measuring the grass on people's lawns and issuing them citations.

The irony in the Rust Belt is that this often done under the shadow of belching smokestacks that violate the law... the refineries and other industries will just pay the fine. Or, it's adjacent to some Brownfield Site or other dilapidated and polluted industrial zone. The corporations can walk away. The board members sail off into the sunset with impunity and a bonus. But the working class hack living in the dilapidated house...you had better mow your lawn or else.

The one hope for the defeat of such programmes (and all like it) is the impending implosion of local and state governments. Their budgets have been pushed to the point of crisis and in the end many will end up functioning like Mexico or Italy. There will be laws on the books but no one to enforce them and thus they become ineffective.

Let's hope so, but I don't think that will happen in America. At least not right away. I foresee a different path, but I hope I'm wrong.

As far as the police go, I imagine a day in which they will privatised, wielding tremendous arbitrary authority and will be able to utilise deadly force when it serves their interests, or their corporate masters. Even a basic investigation will involve paying some kind of fee or 'joining' the department via membership or something along those lines. Certain facets of society should never be privatised but many already have been. When the police are privatised and work exclusively for profit... watch out.

Contrary to the Libertarian dream, it actually guarantees tyranny. At that point there isn't even a modicum of democratic accountability. Corporations function as tyrannies and if they are given power over society than woe to those who cannot pay. We're not that far away from such a place.


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