Last evening, in order to pass the time while sheltering in place, I watched an old movie called Ishtar starring Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty. Often described as “the worst film ever made,” it is one of those wacky, slapstick movies where all kinds of zany things can happen. It immediately brought to mind the latest in a series of bizarre events surrounding the current crop of riots, namely the zany notion being circulated that our police forces should be disbanded.
As part of the fallout from the George Floyd incident, the Minneapolis City Council is considering the possibility of getting rid of the city’s police department. No, that is not a scene from Ishtar. The proposal is supported by Rep. Ilhan Omar, who tweeted, “The Minneapolis Police Department has proven themselves beyond reform. It’s time to disband them and reimagine public safety in Minneapolis.” Other cities have come up with the same idea. Camden, New Jersey, which is considered to be one of the country’s most dangerous cities, will reportedly disband its police department, laying off nearly 270 officers as a part of an austerity measure. After thousands of protesters chanted “Defund the police” outside his home, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he is supporting substantial budget cuts for the LAPD.
Christopher Rufo in city-journal.org reports that activists are building a case not just to reform policing—viewed by them as an oppressive, violent, and racist institution—but to do away with it altogether. “When I first heard this slogan, I assumed that it was a figure of speech, used to legitimize more expansive criminal justice reform,” says Rufo. “But after reading the academic and activist literature, I realized that ‘abolish the police’ is a concrete policy goal.”
A site called “aworldwithoutpolice” asks us to “imagine a world without police. What if we found other ways to solve our issues? What if we rolled back police power, and abolished the institution entirely?” The answer is that all hell would break loose. “If anything like police abolition ever occurred,” says Christopher Rufo, “it’s easy to predict what would happen next. In the subsequent vacuum of physical power, wealthy neighborhoods would deploy private police forces, and poor neighborhoods would organize around criminal gangs—deepening structural inequalities and harming the very people that the police abolitionists say they want to help.”
Where does this nonsense come from? The out-of-control hatred for cops can be traced back to Obama. His injudicious comments about Trayvon Martin and others inflamed racial hostility and led to riots and anti-police protests. Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder pushed the “cops are racist” argument, a massive lie whose disastrous consequences are evident in this week’s mayhem. “Recent studies not only find no ‘systemic’ abuse of black suspects by the cops,” says black talk show host Larry Elder, “but if anything, cops are more hesitant, more reluctant, to use deadly force against a black suspect than against a white suspect.” Heather Mac Donald, author of The War on Cops, writes, “Regarding threats to blacks from the police: A police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.”
While some criticisms of the police may be justified, we need to remember that every profession has bad apples. Just because a small number of physicians are incompetent does not mean that we ought to eliminate the medical profession. The same thing goes for the police.
Watching videos of vandalism and murder around the country, I am amazed that anyone would seriously want to make the cops disappear. The Left is rooting for the breakdown of civil society as part of their strategy of “divide and conquer.” Then they can take over and impose their version of a socialist paradise. It goes against the bulwark of our republic—the rule of law. The US Constitution and our legal system give us a set of rules that we can depend on. The Constitution protects us from anarchy. “Without laws to create civil societies,” population expert Frosty Wooldridge writes in Sonoran News, “no city, no state, no nation, no people and no civilization can long endure the vagaries of lawlessness.” Civilization and anarchy are mutually exclusive. A civilized society cannot tolerate lawlessness. For that reason, and that reason alone, the current violence on our streets is completely unacceptable. The failure of city and state governments to prevent this week’s riots represents a movement away from civilization toward a new dark age.
Our society has slowly but surely been slipping away from law and order. An alarming example is the existence of over 240 sanctuary cities that invite contempt for federal immigration laws. As a result, illegal aliens “enjoy immunity from laws that prohibit illegal migration, murder, rape, and non-payment of income taxes,” says Frosty Wooldridge. “Lawlessness is an overwhelming fact of American life,” according to political activist Ralph Nader. “How many times have we been told that our country is under the rule of law and that nobody is above it? Yet the country’s legal life is defined instead by major zones of lawlessness created by noncompliance and lack of enforcement.” A lawless society has no rules to govern behavior, says Donald Boudreaux, chairman of the economics department at George Mason University. “It is a society in which the physically mighty and the deviously clever prey upon others.”
I don’t care to live in that kind of society. Spineless mayors and governors, by their cowardly unwillingness to stop the looting, have encouraged lawless notions of the “disband the police” variety. We need a forceful response to Antifa and others who would deconstruct America. That includes support for our friends in blue.