Libertarians have historically been very critical of the police. With the recent major headlines, questions about the police and their tactics have finally begun to be discussed by the media and public. Yet most members of the public are not exactly interested in hearing libertarian criticisms—or solutions. If a conversation does happen, it usually goes something like this:
“Okay, you’re complaining so much about the police, so what’s your libertarian solution?”
“I think it’d be much better if we used a free market approach to the police. Socialism doesn’t work.”
“Socialism? What does socialism have to do with the police?”
Socialism has everything to do with how the police are currently organized. The government collects money through taxes and uses those funds to provide law enforcement services to the people. How you would describe that as anything but socialism, I do not know. Substitute the words “law enforcement services” with anything else and it becomes easier to see.
Considering that the most fervent police supporters are usually conservatives, this is a bitter pill to swallow. These are the people who are so outspoken decrying socialism (especially “Obama socialism”) and praising the merits of capitalism. There really is no way to deny that this is a socialistic system, so people will have to rationalize their beliefs with something like, “Well, some socialism is necessary.”
Hopefully this admission makes people think about what they actually believe. If you believe that free markets are the way to go, that’s great, but you have to consistently have that view. If you believe that some markets should be socialized, you ought to have a better reason than “that’s what I think.” Just remember, if that’s a good enough reason for you, then it’s also a good enough reason for someone who wants to socialize, say, the healthcare industry.