In comments to this post, Aaron be Bruyn states that there are different “stratta” [sic] of libertarians. Of course there are. just like there are democrats that support guns, and republicans that support abortion. I am talking about the party, and the beliefs of the majority of them.

The point he goes on to make, that a person should be able to “opt out” of police and fire, while still saying that an army is necessary is pure hypocrisy. What makes an army, designed to deal with external threats to the citizenry, any more legitimate than a police force, designed to deal with internal threats to the citizenry?

What if someone were to rob you, and you had opted out? What if your house caught fire? Would you be OK with the fire department standing by while your house burned down because you “opted out?” Or would you all of a sudden want to “opt in” at that point?

You see, fire departments are a way of spreading a risk pool among a large population, thus taking a high cost/low probability event and diluting the cost across that large population. Waiting until you need it to pay for it does not pay for the time that the fire department had be there during the times that you didn’t need it.

Same goes for the police. If you “Opt out” and someone rapes and murders your wife, is it acceptable if the police don’t enforce the law, because you “opted out?”

This is why I find your libertarian position to be ridiculous. Of course, the national party says:

1.5 Crime and Justice
Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property.  Criminal
laws should be limited to violation of the rights of others through
force or fraud, or deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at
significant risk of harm. Individuals retain the right to voluntarily
assume risk of harm to themselves. We support restitution to the victim
to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the
negligent wrongdoer. We oppose reduction of constitutional safeguards of
the rights of the criminally accused. The rights of due process, a
speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of
innocence until proven guilty, must not be denied. We assert the
common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the
justice of the law.
 How do you plan on enforcing the law, protecting people’s rights, and having a speedy trial without police and courts?
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Aaron C. de Bruyn · July 4, 2012 at 2:13 am

My distinction between police, fire, and EMS verses military is easily missed–but it's constitutional. The constitution specifically provides for a military. But not federal police like DHS, Border Patrol, FBI, etc…

On the local level–sure it's up to the city/county/whatever.

I am well aware of 'for-pay' fire departments and the 'issues' that go along with them.

In my current situation, I am *forced* to pay taxes. (Let's not hold back–if I were to stop paying my taxes, eventually guys with guns will show up to forcibly remove my from the property that I 'own' and 'sell' it to someone who will better fund the guys with guns.)

Part of these taxes give me a fire department. In the 30ish years of my life, I have *never* needed them. I have never had a fire, never been injured or critically ill. But they have fined me once for an 'illegal' burn. They decided the pile of yard debris was about a foot past their arbitrary '6×6' rule. Funny how no one was hurt, yet they forced themselves upon me and my property to demand money. Meh.

Anyways–back to the issue at hand. If I were in a 'for-pay' area, rather than being taxed by force, I would have the choice to pay or not.

On one hand, not paying would mean significant savings in property taxes over the last 10 years but a higher risk of a fire destroying my house and property. Maybe even higher home owners insurance.

On the other, well–you get the idea.

The part where all sorts of issues crop up is:
* Personal responsibility
* Public image

If I were to say "hell no–I'm not paying for 'fire insurance' and my home burns down, I could easily make the fire department (who is standing by to protect my neighbor's house who did pay) look bad by shouting "How could you?!?!?!one1"

Well–it's easy. I was given the choice, and I chose to have the fire department stand by and watch it burn. Personal responsibility sucks sometimes.

At one point in my life, I lived one small city over from one of those for-pay departments. They had a great policy in my opinion:

* If the structure is occupied or the status is unknown, we fight the fire no matter what.

* If the property owner paid the department, fight the fire.

* If the property owner didn't pay the fire department, give them the option to 'verbally contract' with the engine company and be sent a bill for double the entire cost of the firefighting operation, or let it burn.

What's the problem with that?

The same can be applied to police.
I have *never* needed an officer.
I can defend my home adequately, thank you very much. So can my wife.

But they've been there plenty of times to say I was going 5-over. Or that a 'california stop' at 3 AM on a road where you can see over a mile in every direction (and has very light traffic) doesn't count.

Sure–there might be a time when I need them, and I'd be happy to pay for their services. But I would (wildly off the cuff) estimate that at least 75% of what police do is not necessary or actually crime-related. Tickets for jaywalking would be counted as non-crime-related.

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Aaron C. de Bruyn · July 4, 2012 at 2:13 am


Anyways, yes–there are times when the police are needed. One such horrific example that popped into my mind was the BofA robbery in California years ago where the robbers were all wearing bullet proof armor and had automatic weapons. Ok, what then?

I see no reason why BofA, any surviving criminals, and the hostages couldn't be billed for the response.

Of course that opens up the door for individuals and businesses to have their own security who is actually accountable to the laws. Think for a moment if BofA hired their own security and started searching every person and vehicle that came on their property for guns…

They might get more customers because they (incorrectly) think they're safe while banking there.

They might lose more customers because their customers want to carry and protect themselves.

And what if one of those BofA security guards thought a guy holding a cell phone was actually a guy with a gun and shot him? He probably wouldn't get off with the standard police chiding of "Officers are under a lot of pressure to rapidly identify threats blah blah blah he acted according to department policy." He'd probably go to jail for manslaughter.

Personally, I'd like that system better than the unaccountable police forces we have today around the country.

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