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Liber Question Time - Ask a Libertarian

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    (Original post by ukebert)
    I'd be very worried about where that might lead. I ask again, isn't having PCSO's around better than having a private security service?
    In the way that they're free to the community, yes. But as said in response to Ian Blair's comment, what benefit is there from banning private security services? It doesn't reduce coverage in poorer areas.

    This isn't either/or, a community can have both.
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    (Original post by Drogue)
    This isn't either/or, a community can have both.
    Don't you think this sets a dangerous precedent. It effectively says: the police aren't good enough so we have to hire in the heavies. Therefore you poor communities who cannot afford private heavies are stuck being reliant on something we rich consider beneath us.

    It's as abhorrent as private education and private healthcare.
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    Don't you think this sets a dangerous precedent. It effectively says: the police aren't good enough so we have to hire in the heavies. Therefore you poor communities who cannot afford private heavies are stuck being reliant on something we rich consider beneath us.

    It's as abhorrent as private education and private healthcare.
    As long as the state-provided solution is good enough, I don't have a problem with people using their own money to purchase more. To me it's the same as spending money buying branded food, a more-expensive car or more comprehensive insurance. If somebody cares about extra security more than these, then unless it reduces the quality others receive, I don't have a problem with them buying it.

    The key for policy, to me, is how good provision is in areas that don't pay for it. If this were widespread I'd consider it a good argument that we need more police. For example were it about the rich considering it beneath them, it may mean you need to improve the quality provided by the state. But being in a very small number of communities though, I don't think it is saying that and I think the level of policing is adequate. That's the issue though - the level of policing and whether it's adequate.
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    Adorno - You claimed that these private security forces were "allowed by law to circumvent the policing legislation of the country". Can you explain and justify this comment? burningnun asked this but you ignored him.

    Paperclip - you're argument is nonsensical hysterics. If a rich person can afford to fit an alarm to his house would you argue that that alarm should be banned because the poorer people cannot afford that extra protection?

    Those who argued that these private forces rely on fear as they have no actual power - what do the police rely on if not fear? Fear of their truncheon, fear of the courts and fear of imprisonment. Adorno, you said "These security firms have no power and operate on the basis of fear and that is not how law and order is maintained." Actually, that is precisely how law and order is maintained - through fear and force.

    Ukebert - the reason why the Tories (and I was with them at that time) wanted to get rid of PCSO's is that they are paid for by the State and yet are not proper police officers. We felt that paying people to walk around the streets was not a useful or correct use of State money. That doesn't mean that private people cannot agree to pay someone to do precisely that.

    I can see why the police aren't happy, this is the public saying, with their pockets, "we don't think you're doing a good enough job so we'll get someone else to do it".
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    (Original post by UniOfLife)
    Adorno - You claimed that these private security forces were "allowed by law to circumvent the policing legislation of the country". Can you explain and justify this comment? burningnun asked this but you ignored him.
    I shall do no such thing because I claimed no such thing. Read my post again before quoting out of context and shortned for your own biased purposes.

    And I disagree that the police maintain law and order through fear.
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    I shall do no such thing because I claimed no such thing. Read my post again before quoting out of context and shortned for your own biased purposes.

    And I disagree that the police maintain law and order through fear.
    Here's your post:

    (Original post by Adorno)
    I'm sorry that is complete and utter ********. If you want a friend to walk you to the bus stop because you're afraid, fine. If you want a privately employed security force to walk you to the bus stop then that is another matter. This has precious little to do with virtue or terror (but hey let's drag Robespierre into it) it has a lot to do with the ridiculous libertarian notion that just because it sounds cool to have your own flack-jacketted security force to patrol your street it should be allowed by law to circumvent the policing legislation of the country. It's wrong, it's unnecessary, and if you fail to see that then yes: you are blinded by your ridiculous ideology.
    Were you talking about some hypothetical scenario? I assumed that since we were discussing the presence of private security firms on UK streets now in Nov 2009 you were referring to them when you made this post. If not then I apologise but I hope you can see where I might have got the idea that your comments were indeed about the matter under discussion.

    As for the police and fear I think it is clear that if a potential criminal is deterred from committing his crime by the existence of a police force it is because he fears being caught and imprisoned. What is your take on it?
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    (Original post by UniOfLife)
    Were you talking about some hypothetical scenario? I assumed that since we were discussing the presence of private security firms on UK streets now in Nov 2009 you were referring to them when you made this post. If not then I apologise but I hope you can see where I might have got the idea that your comments were indeed about the matter under discussion.
    It was in reference to Anony Mouse's hypothetical situation in which she might want to have a private security force to walk her to the bus so it was entirely about a hypothetical situation.

    As for the police and fear I think it is clear that if a potential criminal is deterred from committing his crime by the existence of a police force it is because he fears being caught and imprisoned. What is your take on it?
    My take is that it is mixed. The law itself exists to deter, the police are there to enforce the law (though they tend not to use massive force save, as seems to have been the case through history, against the working class) through as peaceful a means as possible. Hence the no guns thing and a uniform that marks them out as being different from a militia or army.
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    It was in reference to Anony Mouse's hypothetical situation in which she might want to have a private security force to walk her to the bus so it was entirely about a hypothetical situation.
    And how is her hypothetical security force circumventing policing legislation?

    I'd walk Anony Mouse to the bus for free anyway.
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    It was in reference to Anony Mouse's hypothetical situation in which she might want to have a private security force to walk her to the bus so it was entirely about a hypothetical situation.



    My take is that it is mixed. The law itself exists to deter, the police are there to enforce the law (though they tend not to use massive force save, as seems to have been the case through history, against the working class) through as peaceful a means as possible. Hence the no guns thing and a uniform that marks them out as being different from a militia or army.
    If your comments in that post were about the hypothetical situation, then what is your objection to the current real situation? In another post you mention a problem of undermining the police? Is that your objection?

    As for what maintains order. You say that "the law itself exists to deter" yet clearly the mere existence of a law is not a deterrent. Simply someone writing down somewhere that mugging old ladies is "illegal" will not alone stop me if I plan to mug old ladies for money. You go on to state that "the police are there to enforce the law...through as peaceful a means as possible." They may well attempt to use as little force as possible, but by nature of their job (to enforce the law) force is an essential ingredient. I can think we can all agree that the police holding me down and binding my hands, then pushing me into a vehicle and locking me in a room could well be described as the use of "force". And yet, we can also all agree that if I mugged an old lady and the police did not take the actions described above and did not threaten to take them then there would be nothing to deter me from mugging other old ladies.
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    (Original post by UniOfLife)
    If your comments in that post were about the hypothetical situation, then what is your objection to the current real situation? In another post you mention a problem of undermining the police? Is that your objection?
    I should have thought my use of the word vigilante provides an insight into my objection... no?
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    I should have thought my use of the word vigilante provides an insight into my objection... no?
    Well, no, because you redefined the word to fit into your - as yet unknown - objection. These people are not breaking the law. They are not meting out justice, they are just making citizens' arrests and helping out the real police. They're not vigilantes and if your objection is that they are vigilantes your objection is wrong.
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    ^What 'e said. Also waiting on an explanation of how police enforcement doesn't involve force...
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    (Original post by burningnun)
    Well, no, because you redefined the word to fit into your - as yet unknown - objection. These people are not breaking the law. They are not meting out justice, they are just making citizens' arrests and helping out the real police. They're not vigilantes and if your objection is that they are vigilantes your objection is wrong.
    My as yet unkown? My objection is three-fold: I object to private firms undertaking law and order enforcement; I object to the undermining of the legitimat law and order enforcement agency - the police; and I object to the inherent class bias which affords the rich as much protection as they like and the poor that which is provided by the state.

    The position of the libertarians seems simply to be, as per usual, to **** the people who hav no choice in favour of enabling the rich to take their pick of the crops. There is no need, absolutely no need, for private security firms to do the job of the police. There is need for reform of the police to ensure that they are free to actually do police work rather than filling in forms but that is a different question.

    And I use the term vigilante perfectly correctly. As defined by the OED:

    n. a member of a self-appointed group undertaking law enforcement but without legal authority.

    These private security firms have no legal authority or status. They perform citizens arrests and that is it. Your or I could do that. So pray tell, in what sense have I "redefined the word to fit into [my] - as yet unknown - objection"?
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    (Original post by UniOfLife)
    ^What 'e said. Also waiting on an explanation of how police enforcement doesn't involve force...
    Wait all you like, you never explicitly asked for one and I am under no obligation to provide one.
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    Erm.

    May I direct you to Peelian Principle #7:
    Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
    So let us approach Anony mouse's hypothetical scenario again. We've established that it's not a problem if Miss Mouse asks a friend to walk her to the bus stop. Would it be okay for her to ask a stranger? If she gives her friend a hug of thanks is that bad? or does it become immoral if she gives her friend some money and tells him to buy himself a drink?

    At which point does it stop being Miss Mouse asking her Nice Friend for some help and start being Dagny Taggart circumventing the policing procedures in this country, hiring an evil army of Vigilante Ninjas?

    Also, can we please dispense with this silly notion of class bias? If we should ban private schools because they're unfair on the poor, should we not brain-damage the smart kids, because they're unfair on the stupid?

    Clearly not. If indeed this is a "problem" it ought to be solved by improving the quality of the police, schools, or public healthcare, so even those who can afford to have no need of it.
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    (Original post by sconzey)
    Erm.

    May I direct you to Peelian Principle #7:

    So let us approach Anony mouse's hypothetical scenario again. We've established that it's not a problem if Miss Mouse asks a friend to walk her to the bus stop. Would it be okay for her to ask a stranger? If she gives her friend a hug of thanks is that bad? or does it become immoral if she gives her friend some money and tells him to buy himself a drink?

    At which point does it stop being Miss Mouse asking her Nice Friend for some help and start being Dagny Taggart circumventing the policing procedures in this country, hiring an evil army of Vigilante Ninjas?
    Erm when said 'friend' is accompanied by a haggle of others dressed in flourescent jackets, walkie talkies, and the usual acoutrements of 'security'.
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    My as yet unkown? My objection is three-fold: I object to private firms undertaking law and order enforcement; I object to the undermining of the legitimat law and order enforcement agency - the police; and I object to the inherent class bias which affords the rich as much protection as they like and the poor that which is provided by the state.
    Well, you've made your objections known, and that's great, but you still haven't explained how anyone is circumventing policing legislation - hypothetical or otherwise.

    The position of the libertarians seems simply to be, as per usual, to **** the people who hav no choice in favour of enabling the rich to take their pick of the crops.
    If that is our position, then yours is to **** everybody in favour of there being no crop.

    Aside from that, calling something that costs a couple of hundred pounds a year the exclusive preserve of the rich seems like a rather hysterical strawman to me.

    There is no need, absolutely no need, for private security firms to do the job of the police. There is need for reform of the police to ensure that they are free to actually do police work rather than filling in forms but that is a different question.
    It's not a different question for the people who are suffering a police force which you admit needs reform to do its job properly. If an incumbent government can't solve their problem then they have to solve it themselves.

    And I use the term vigilante perfectly correctly. As defined by the OED:

    n. a member of a self-appointed group undertaking law enforcement but without legal authority.

    These private security firms have no legal authority or status. They perform citizens arrests and that is it. Your or I could do that. So pray tell, in what sense have I "redefined the word to fit into [my] - as yet unknown - objection"?
    They have the legal authority to do what they are doing. The police are pissed off enough by this that if they were operating outside the law they would have been arrested.
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    (Original post by Adorno)
    Erm when said 'friend' is accompanied by a haggle of others dressed in flourescent jackets, walkie talkies, and the usual acoutrements of 'security'.
    Okay, so if they dressed plainly and carried mobile phones instead, would that be okay?

    If you were to draft a law to ban the behavior you find objectionable, what would it say?
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    (Original post by burningnun)
    They have the legal authority to do what they are doing. The police are pissed off enough by this that if they were operating outside the law they would have been arrested.
    On this particular point: that's presumably why we're hearing about it. It's unlikely that the police would arrest the whole cabal of private security as it's not particularly efficient. The best thing to do is to lobby for their banning to strike em all down in one blow, as it were.

    Oh and look:

    Well, you've made your objections known, and that's great, but you still haven't explained how anyone is circumventing policing legislation - hypothetical or otherwise.
    You ask me a question, I answer it and you still get your knickers in a twist.
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    (Original post by sconzey)
    Okay, so if they dressed plainly and carried mobile phones instead, would that be okay?
    Well they could dress up like Elmo for all it mattered so long as they were not attempting to perform or to usurp the primary functions of the police.

    If you were to draft a law to ban the behavior you find objectionable, what would it say?
    In what sense?

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