Police misbehavior thread

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:07 am UTC

Coyne wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Personal property isn't the same as private property.

Not exactly. ...private property is broader than personal property.

And "rectangle" is broader than "square", so I'd be correct in saying "squares aren't the same as rectangles", no?
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:13 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:There's always two sides in every reform movement: The side that argues for what good can be achieved right now through compromise, and the side that argues for what good must be achieved in principle. Reform works best when both sides agree on what can be done to satisfy both ends. Principles are nothing without practical hands working to achieve them, and practicality is nothing without principled beliefs to set the goal.


I guess I'm looking at this from the perspective of "sell reform, and you will compromise on reform; sell abolition, and you will comprise with reform." I'm kind of sick of "the left" in America proposing piecemeal reforms like the ACA further torn to shreds in the name of even more gradual reform. It makes me wary of any call for moderation.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:23 am UTC

Thesh wrote:I guess I'm looking at this from the perspective of "sell reform, and you will compromise on reform; sell abolition, and you will comprise with reform." I'm kind of sick of "the left" in America proposing piecemeal reforms like the ACA further torn to shreds in the name of even more gradual reform. It makes me wary of any call for moderation.
Okay, I will at the very least grant you that ACA is a pretty clear example of what happens when moderates and centrists push compromise over principle: You end up squabbling over lukewarm half-measures that fail to even address the fundamental problem (that health-care is treated as a commodity, rather than as a utility or a right).

Still, in this case, I don't think (I hope?) many people in this thread would disagree with the steps we should take toward comprehensive criminal justice reform. And that's a very good thing: We might not agree on where we're going, but if we all support the same policies? We don't have to.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:48 am UTC

Something I coined to sell anarchism to statists seems like it befits this discussion as well: “anarchy is the limit of good government”, in the mathematical sense of “limit”. Take an ordinary state and make it do fewer bad things and more good things and eventually it will cease technically being a state at all, while never actually getting rid of all government. The aeries of better and better governments converges towards anarchy.

The “police”/“community defense” distinction seems like it may be a subset of this. If you could reform police as we have them now to make them do less bad and more good, you will eventually get something that people like Thesh would not call police anymore, while never actually getting rid of there being some people who will stop assholes from being assholes, even with violence if that should prove absolutely necessary to stop more violence.

And I don’t see why those who want to carry that process all the way to its end would fight against those who just want to take it somewhere further than we already have, at least until we get to that point where the latter oppose further progress. Until that point, the same changes move both factions closer to their goals.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gd1 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:59 am UTC

Zohar wrote:
gd1 wrote:Actually, I'd say that's probably from a lack of fear of accountability.

I'm not sure what your standard is for "being fearful of god" is if priests don't fit that category.


It's not they aren't fearful of accountability, it's they might not be fearful enough of accountability.

Someone mentioned above (don't want to look for it with my phone browser) that you just have to accept JC into your heart to be saved. Not sure if that's the way it works for the religion of the priests in question though. In Islam, we believe that if a Muslim has even an atom's weight worth of faith in their heart they will eventually get into the good afterlife, but we aren't guaranteed to get in immediately just by being Muslim. Thus, we may have an increased incentive to not do bad deeds like these ones. Of course, people are still people, so Muslims may not pay enough attention to the details as we should all the time.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby natraj » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:45 am UTC

gd1 wrote:
Zohar wrote:
gd1 wrote:Actually, I'd say that's probably from a lack of fear of accountability.

I'm not sure what your standard is for "being fearful of god" is if priests don't fit that category.


It's not they aren't fearful of accountability, it's they might not be fearful enough of accountability.

Someone mentioned above (don't want to look for it with my phone browser) that you just have to accept JC into your heart to be saved.


that is not remotely the way it works in catholicism.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gd1 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:48 am UTC

natraj wrote:
gd1 wrote:
Zohar wrote:
gd1 wrote:Actually, I'd say that's probably from a lack of fear of accountability.

I'm not sure what your standard is for "being fearful of god" is if priests don't fit that category.


It's not they aren't fearful of accountability, it's they might not be fearful enough of accountability.

Someone mentioned above (don't want to look for it with my phone browser) that you just have to accept JC into your heart to be saved.


that is not remotely the way it works in catholicism.


That was exactly what the next sentence was supposed to be a precaution for. Since I wasn't sure and I didn't want to just assume outright. Though maybe I should have put it first or worded it better?
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:22 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
True, but the Soviets still executed/tortured theft of personal property

[citation needed] on the executed/tortured part


Here's some history of the Gulags. They weren't just for political prisoners, but thieves and rapists and so forth, and if you don't think that the Gulag system wasn't torture or that there weren't executions... Not everyone a brutal dictatorship makes disappear was innocent, but even a guilty person didn't deserve what happened there.

but in any case protecting personal property isn't at odds with wanting to abolish private property.


The Russian police definitely arrested people for theft of personal property, as do the North Koreans, the Cubans, the Venezuelans (if the police even bother to show up at all), the Chinese, etc. Every single communist country treats theft as a crime, private or personal or communal or whatever. So arguably, their police still put property rights before people.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:05 am UTC

CU, you get that Marxist-Leninism (which is the ostensible theoretical underpinning of all extant “communist” states) is a different thing than libertarian socialism aka anarchism (which I think is the only kind of socialism anyone here advocates), right? Those states are all still states, while the people here who are against police are generally against states. That means also being against capitalism because capitalism requires a state to support it, but being against capitalism doesn’t mean wanting what Korea, China, or Venezuela have.

From a libertarian socialist viewpoint, state capitalism is obviously the worst, anarcho-capitalism effectively doesn't really get rid of the state at all even though it claims to, and state socialism (like all of those state you list) effectively doesn't really get rid of capitalism at all even though it claims to, as you illustrate.

Although, to Thesh et al, my fellow libertarian socialists: you do still want there to be someone who will stand up to some asshole who keeps, say, stealing the toothbrushes of people he doesn't like, and refuses to be reasoned with, and tries to fight anyone who tries to stop him, don't you? Obviously you want to prevent that from happening first if you can, and to peacefully dissuade him from further assholery if not, but if he really presses it and won't stop, eventually someone should make him, right? Not by just shooting him off the bat, of course, but some force may eventually be warranted?
Last edited by Pfhorrest on Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:12 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:12 am UTC

My point is that Natraj's complaint that the police "put property before people" is a ridiculous/nonsensical complaint of the current system given that virtually every system ever tried on a large scale has the police or police-equivalent putting "property before people", not that Communism is some kind of ideal.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:32 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Right, but the function of police IS to arrest people.
No, it is not. The function of the police is to enforce the law. To do that, they have the power to arrest. But having a power doesn't mean it's their purpose to use it.
The Great Hippo wrote:do you know how many of the thousand-plus people killed by police every year are treated as homicides that result in arrests and prosecutions? Again, we're lucky if that number breaks single digits.
That's why it's misbehavior. First, the cop (presumably) did bad, and then the police force did bad by covering it up. That's what misbehavior is. Even if the (broken) system doesn't treat it as wrong, that doesn't make it not wrong.

Yes it's a bug. Yes it can be fixed. Yes it should be fixed. No it's not as simple as twerking a value. Yes it will meet resistance.

No, throwing out the very idea of law enforcement is not the answer. Not until you can change people so that they are good all the time.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gd1 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:43 am UTC

ucim wrote:No, it is not. The function of the police is to enforce the law. To do that, they have the power to arrest. But having a power doesn't mean it's their purpose to use it.

Jose



From my required business law intro class a while back (paraphrased):

The purpose of the law is to reduce/limit revenge.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:53 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Although, to Thesh et al, my fellow libertarian socialists: you do still want there to be someone who will stand up to some asshole who keeps, say, stealing the toothbrushes of people he doesn't like, and refuses to be reasoned with, and tries to fight anyone who tries to stop him, don't you? Obviously you want to prevent that from happening first if you can, and to peacefully dissuade him from further assholery if not, but if he really presses it and won't stop, eventually someone should make him, right? Not by just shooting him off the bat, of course, but some force may eventually be warranted?


In a society built around positive reciprocity and social ownership, status seeking becomes about not what you can aquire, but how much you can benefit those around you, which gets people into positive habits. It usually takes mental effort to deviate from norms and people imitate the people around them, so reducing violence as a response reduces capacity for violence. Most antisocial behaviors can be corrected by withdrawal of positive reciprocity or mediation - restorative justice puts the victim and offender together to come to a mutually agreeable resolution. If mediation doesn't work, take their shit or break something of theirs. If things are really bad, maybe there is a mental health issue; some people might need medication, therapy, or a care person. Worst case scenario, you can publicly shame or ostracize them.

I only support violence in the most extreme circumstances.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:19 am UTC

gd1 wrote:
ucim wrote:No, it is not. The function of the police is to enforce the law. To do that, they have the power to arrest. But having a power doesn't mean it's their purpose to use it.

Jose



From my required business law intro class a while back (paraphrased):

The purpose of the law is to reduce/limit revenge.


Funny, the "Microaggression And Moral Culture" paper also said something similar. Not in the purpose itself of the law, but in terms of the effect the law had on ethics and such.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Sableagle » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:32 am UTC

Thesh wrote:The point is, ucim and Sableagle are centrists; they don't want to do any of that gradual stuff that would be necessary to empower people. They want to pretend that the world today is a meritocracy so they can feel superior.
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The Great Hippo wrote:I guarantee you that the American police unions will fight tooth and nail against every single one of them (heck, they already DO oppose a lot of this stuff).
I've noticed that. I've seen a few articles about police officers sacked for getting drunk on the job, trading sexual favours for non-arrests, extortion, racial harassment and gratuitous violence being re-hired after the union campaigned to get their dismissals overturned.

Those unions need telling to fuck right off at times like that.

Thesh wrote:In a society built around positive reciprocity and social ownership, status seeking becomes about not what you can aquire, but how much you can benefit those around you, which gets people into positive habits.
Try raising a kid that way.

See what happens next.

I believe the phrase "take advantage of" will be needed to properly describe what happens next.

If you've got a way to raise 300000000 people that way, let's hear it.

.....

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:15 pm UTC

Sableagle, the fact that you aren't a good enough parent to raise good children shouldn't be projected onto all the rest of us.

CorruptUser wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
True, but the Soviets still executed/tortured theft of personal property

[citation needed] on the executed/tortured part


Here's some history of the Gulags. They weren't just for political prisoners, but thieves and rapists and so forth, and if you don't think that the Gulag system wasn't torture or that there weren't executions...
Right, so you mean tortured/executed much the same way it happens in American prisons.

No one here is going to argue that the gulags were good, but it's naive to act like they were so infinitely worse than the labor camps we have here just because we call them something different.


but in any case protecting personal property isn't at odds with wanting to abolish private property.

The Russian police definitely arrested people for theft of personal property
How is that making a point in response to mine?
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:30 pm UTC

ucim wrote:No, it is not. The function of the police is to enforce the law. To do that, they have the power to arrest. But having a power doesn't mean it's their purpose to use it.
You don't think arresting people is enforcing the law?

What do you think enforcing the law means? How do you enforce the law? Can you give me an example of enforcing the law that doesn't involve punitive action?
ucim wrote:That's why it's misbehavior. First, the cop (presumably) did bad, and then the police force did bad by covering it up. That's what misbehavior is. Even if the (broken) system doesn't treat it as wrong, that doesn't make it not wrong.
If a system is so broken that it treats the systematic murder of hundreds as lawful action, is it really right to say that the system is lawful?

Anyway, if you agree the system is fundamentally broken, you agree with what we're saying; we're just quibbling over semantics.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:42 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
ucim wrote:No, it is not. The function of the police is to enforce the law. To do that, they have the power to arrest. But having a power doesn't mean it's their purpose to use it.

What do you think enforcing the law means? How do you enforce the law? Can you give me an example of enforcing the law that doesn't involve punitive action?

How about 'having a quiet word'?

Let's say that, for example, a youth is being a bit unruly in the streets and swears at an officer. The officer could choose to enforce the letter of the law and arrest, but, as ucim says, that's not their purpose.

A big part of the problem with US policing is its huge reluctance to attempt first to deescalate.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:50 pm UTC

elasto wrote:How about 'having a quiet word'?

There may be times when zero tolerance policing is necessary, but there are definitely times it isn't. A big part of the problem with US policing is its inability to deescalate.
I mean, I agree -- but that's not what police are intended to do. Police are intended to enforce the law, and you enforce the law by punishing people. Again, police sometimes have *arrest quotas*. They're *supposed* to be ruining people's lives. That's their function.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Sat Mar 23, 2019 12:59 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I mean, I agree -- but that's not what police are intended to do. Police are intended to enforce the law, and you enforce the law by punishing people. Again, police sometimes have *arrest quotas*. They're *supposed* to be ruining people's lives. That's their function.

That's their function in the US maybe, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Quoting from the UK government's official website, our police are instructed to 'police by consent'. Here's a few choice segments:

When saying ‘policing by consent’, the Home Secretary was referring to a long standing philosophy of British policing:

1) To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to ... [the] severity of legal punishment.

2) To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.

5) To seek and preserve public favour ... by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.

6) To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.

9) To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.


link

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Sableagle » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:05 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Sableagle, the fact that you aren't a good enough parent to raise good children shouldn't be projected onto all the rest of us.
The other children with whom your children are doomed to share a classroom are not my children. They are other children. I did not raise them, and in some cases nobody else did either.

None of those other children is mine.

I've heard that when we have children, we turn into our parents.

None of those other children will ever be mine.

I was offered a position and husband and father a few years ago. I turned that position down.

.....

Years ago, I met someone who "goes into schools and works with troubled children."

She goes a school and finds the children who are disrupting lessons, throwing other children's projects in the toilet, stealing lunch-money, pushing other children downstairs and that kind of thing, and she buys them new music and tells them they're good people, and if that isn't enough, she buys them new clothes and flashy new trainers too and tells them they're very good people, and if that doesn't help she takes them on adventure sport holidays.

That kid who went hungry all those times, the one who couldn't take part in sports because his wrists were sprained from being pushed downstairs, the one who gave up on trying to do projects at all, the one whose memorial page they were rewarded for defacing? She never bought them a damn thing, because they were well-behaved in class.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:10 pm UTC

Pro-tip: When someone refers to police killing hundreds of people a year, they're probably talking about a country where police kill hundreds of people a year.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:14 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Sableagle, the fact that you aren't a good enough parent to raise good children shouldn't be projected onto all the rest of us.
The other children with whom your children are doomed to share a classroom are not my children. They are other children. I did not raise them, and in some cases nobody else did either.


So what you are saying is that the family and school systems are broken, and we should unschool and raise children as a community instead of isolating them as families?
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:50 pm UTC

elasto wrote:That's their function in the US maybe, but it doesn't have to be that way.
I agree; that's what I was saying to ucim.

The governing by consent thing is pretty neat. I particularly like the one about not mistaking police action for actual good policing. A good police force is one which strives to make itself unnecessary.

American police do not strive to make themselves unnecessary.
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:51 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Sableagle » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:51 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Pro-tip: When someone refers to police killing hundreds of people a year, they're probably talking about a country where police kill hundreds of people a year.


Amateur-tip: when someone acknowledges a problem in one country and then says it doesn't have to be that way and backs that up with information about another country, they're probably aware that they're discussing more than one country.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:59 pm UTC

Gmail, my point, once again, is that Natraj's complaint that American police "put property before people" is a nonsensical complaint given that virtually every police force in every country ever have "put property before people", whether it was in capitalist society, or communist, or feudal, etc, all the way back to the code of Hammurabi.

Almost everyone is ok with a thief getting punished, we dont agree on what that punishment should be, but you come off sounding like a nutcase when you suggest it's somehow wrong to restrict the rights of a thief. And while the nordic system of rehabbing thieves is probably better than the psychological torture that is American (or gods, French) prison, their rights and freedoms are still severely restricted by virtue of being in prison no matter how comfy said prison is.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:06 pm UTC

All of those countries were objectively terrible, and ignored the well being of the people to focus on the accumulation of wealth for the ruler. Consider also that people existed before formal law. Consider that some countries use more police violence than others, and ask what the difference is.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:12 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Gmail, my point, once again, is that Natraj's complaint that American police "put property before people" is a nonsensical complaint given that virtually every police force in every country ever have "put property before people", whether it was in capitalist society, or communist, or feudal, etc, all the way back to the code of Hammurabi.

Almost everyone is ok with a thief getting punished, we dont agree on what that punishment should be, but you come off sounding like a nutcase when you suggest it's somehow wrong to restrict the rights of a thief. And while the nordic system of rehabbing thieves is probably better than the psychological torture that is American (or gods, French) prison, their rights and freedoms are still severely restricted by virtue of being in prison no matter how comfy said prison is.
When a country doesn't permit poverty to happen, thieves are not thieves out of necessity; they are thieves out of choice. It makes some sense to punish them.

When a country not only permits poverty, but mandates its existence? To punish a thief can be to punish someone for being poor. By making them even more poor.

Capitalist societies like America value the right of a rich man to own a single loaf of bread more than they value the right of a poor man to not starve. Any sane country would not punish him; instead, they would ask: "Why are we forcing this man to steal bread so he can eat?"

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gd1 » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:43 pm UTC

I think taxes might have been meant to fix that? Could be wrong.

Christianity has tithing. Judaism might have something? Other religions too? The one I know of is called Zakat, which is 2.5% of total wealth per year in charity. Some restrictions like a minimum income requirement and wealth used for business purposes (with rules about that which I also don't know). These charity setup things are good because they improve money velocity in the economy as well.

I think I covered all my bases this time in trying to be fair in my statements?
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby elasto » Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:31 pm UTC

Judaism also had forgiveness of debts every 7 years, and something even more special every 49 (the freeing of all slaves too maybe?)

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby gmalivuk » Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:37 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Gmail, my point, once again, is that Natraj's complaint...
If your point was about something Natraj said, perhaps repeatedly quoting me and pointing out things that didn't contradict what you quoted was not the best way to make that clear.

But in any case, no one here is saying Soviets had the right way of doing things.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby Thesh » Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:59 pm UTC

I mean, outside of Marxist-Leninists and capitalists, pretty much no one agreed that the Soviet Union was socialists.

https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/soc ... -analysis/

Lenin’s greatest positive achievement was getting Russia out of the bloody futility of World War One, something that the Socialist Party acknowledged at the time. The Socialist Party was the only British organisation to publish the Bolsheviks’ anti-war declaration during the war. The trouble really started when claims about the “socialist” nature of Russia began to be aired, first within Russia then in the Communist parties being formed around the world. (See http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/arch ... ution(1918).pdf) The false claims about Russian “socialism” are largely derived from Lenin’s opportunism as he distorted Marxism – working class socialist theory. In [Great Britain], the Socialist Party always denied that socialism existed in Russia (or anywhere else) or that Russia was on a transition towards socialism.

For its anti-democratic elitism and its advocacy of an irrelevant transitional society misnamed “socialism”, in theory and in practice, Leninism today deserves the hostility of workers everywhere. Lenin seriously distorted Marxism and thereby severely damaged the development of the socialist movement. Indeed, Leninism still continues to pose a real obstacle to the achievement of socialism.
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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:25 pm UTC

gd1 wrote:From my required business law intro class a while back (paraphrased):
The purpose of the law is to reduce/limit revenge.
Is this referring to "the law" (as a whole) or to a specific law under discussion. If the former, it still makes sense, as absent state law, people take the law into their own hands. That's usually considered a Bad Thing. Settling/de-escalating a situation is well and good but doesn't always happen.

The Great Hippo wrote:You don't think arresting people is enforcing the law?
No, not in and of itself. It is a tool that can be used to do so, and sometimes it's appropriate and sometimes not. A judgment call is made by the police officer. We can sit back and second-guess that judgment, and in many cases I agree that it was poor judgment (despite being backed by the police unions). But this is either a failure of accountability (police are accountable to the public, but the union gets in the way) or of society (if people really want {bad policing}, that's what they will get). It is not however a flaw in the idea that laws should exist and should be enforced.

I do not think they should be enforced mercilessly. Compassion, extenuating circumstances, and whatnot should come into play. That's for the courts and the juries to handle (and yes, they don't always handle it well). But if society has decided that these are the rules to live by, then, well, these are the rules to live by.

The Great Hippo wrote:Can you give me an example of enforcing the law that doesn't involve punitive action?
Elasto gave an example. Sometimes it's all that's necessary. Sometimes it's not.

We have a set of societal questions that lead us here - to wit: If Fred sees somebody doing {bad thing}, should Fred confront the perp? Well, this depends on what that bad thing is, whether the perp is more powerful, better armed, or has a worse attitude than Fred. If the likely outcome is that Fred backs down in contrition, fine. But the situation could escalate, leaving Fred dead, or perhaps Fred wins this case of vigilante justice. That's the outcome police are supposed to avoid, and is the reason police get called.

As an example, what is society supposed to do about a bunch of junkies shooting up in the hallway? We've decided we don't want that. That's why there are laws against it. But if the junkies don't seem to care about that, a quiet word from the neighbor won't do much good. A quiet word from the cops may be more effective because they carry a big stick, even if they don't actually use it. But sometimes a quiet word, even from the cops, isn't enough. Then what? At some point, some situations require arrest if the law is to be honored. Because it's either "too bad about the junkies" or "too bad about the residents".

The Great Hippo wrote:Anyway, if you agree the system is fundamentally broken, you agree with what we're saying; we're just quibbling over semantics.
They are important semantics. They are the difference between "we need to fix this" and "we need to throw the whole idea of laws and let people just be nice".

The Great Hippo wrote:Again, police sometimes have *arrest quotas*.
That sounds like a bad policy, not a flaw in the idea of law enforcement. And it may not always be a bad thing. In a crime infested area, where we already know that there are a {large number} of people seriously violating the law and for whom a quiet word has not been sufficient, arrest is warranted. Given that, one would expect a certain number of arrests if the police are doing their job of finding these criminals. So in that case, it's not a bad measure of effectiveness.

The question is when and whether such sweeps are appropriate. And again, that's a judgment call. Police can make bad judgements just as well as you and I can, but that doesn't make it the job of the police to make bad judgments, which is what you seem to keep saying.

The excerpt from the UK police policy elasto shared is the way I think policing should be. Everywhere. We need to bring that to the US. But that's different from abolishing the police altogether.

And that is my primary point. The statement that "police exist for the express purpose of runing people's lives" is nonsense, and to keep spouting it deliberately muddies the water. It is however true that police are often the tool used by society to be callously indifferent to other people's lives.

The fault lies not in the police, but in ourselves.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:06 pm UTC

ucim wrote:They are important semantics.
No, they aren't.

ucim, your post has a lot of contradictions and misunderstandings in it. For example, you say that arresting people is *not* one way the police enforce the law, but you then go on to state that elasto's example (where police mediate without use of punitive measures) *is* one way they do it. This distinction makes no sense; there's no reason for it outside of maybe just supporting your argument.

Another example: You bring up how arrest quotas can be helpful in crime-infested precincts. ucim, are you aware that arrest quotas are *banned* in many crime-infested precincts? Because it's been determined they're *not at all* helpful? I feel like this is something you would know if you were a little more familiar with this issue (I suspect me bringing up arrest quotas is the first time you've even heard of them. Am I right?)

There are several more similar problems with your post; I can try to take you through them if you want, but I don't want to expend the energy here if you're not willing to try and understand how you might be wrong.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:09 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:you say that arresting people is *not* one way the police enforce the law, but you then go on to state that elasto's example (where police mediate without use of punitive measures) *is* one way they do it.
No, that's not what I said. What I said was that arresting people, in and of itself, is not the same as enforcing the law. My point is that there is not an equivalence between the two, any more than there is an equivalence between using a hammer and building a house. But (some) posters here are claiming that equivalence.

The Great Hippo wrote:You bring up how arrest quotas can be helpful in crime-infested precincts. ucim, are you aware that arrest quotas are *banned* in many crime-infested precincts?
Yes. They are easily misused, and lead to the very thing you complain about, to wit, that the purpose of policing becomes making arrests. This is why it's bad policy; the reason for the arrest becomes separated from the act the perp is being arrested for.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:29 pm UTC

ucim wrote:No, that's not what I said. What I said was that arresting people, in and of itself, is not the same as enforcing the law. My point is that there is not an equivalence between the two, any more than there is an equivalence between using a hammer and building a house. But (some) posters here are claiming that equivalence.
ucim, it is what you said. You said arresting people is not enforcing the law ("in of itself"). You then said acting as a mediator (elasto's example) *is* enforcing the law (not "in of itself"?). If you want to change your position, that's fine, but you should acknowledge that you're doing so -- or at least acknowledge the things you've previously said.

Besides, no one is claiming that arresting people is the *only* way of enforcing the law.
ucim wrote:Yes. They are easily misused, and lead to the very thing you complain about, to wit, that the purpose of policing becomes making arrests. This is why it's bad policy; the reason for the arrest becomes separated from the act the perp is being arrested for.
But you just said you thought arrest quotas could be a good idea in crime-infested precincts. Now you're saying it isn't. Which is it? It's really hard to discuss anything with you when you keep changing your positions from post to post. This is what I mean about not wanting to expend energy on discussing this with you (not unless you're going to work with me, here).

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:43 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:ucim, it is what you said. You said arresting people is not enforcing the law ("in of itself"). You then said acting as a mediator (elasto's example) *is* enforcing the law (not "in of itself"?).
It is not what I said. But I'll re-state it for clarity.

Acting as mediator is a tool used in enforcing the law.
Arresting someone is a tool used in enforcing the law.

Merely acting as mediator does not imply the law is being enforced.
Merely arresting someone does not imply the law is being enforced.

Enforcing the law does not inherently require mediation.
Enforcing the law does not inherently require arrest.

The Great Hippo wrote:Besides, no one is claiming that arresting people is the *only* way of enforcing the law.
That is what is implied by your statement: "Right, but the function of police IS to arrest people." Because that is not the function of police, any more than it is the function of a fireman to break doors with an axe. There is are circumstances where doing so is appropriate, and circumstances where it is not. Firemen are not vandals by virtue of the fact that sometimes they find that destroying a door is necessary in their work.

As to arrest quotas, I'll simply withdraw my comments as being peripheral to my main point and leave it at that.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:58 pm UTC

ucim wrote:Acting as mediator is a tool used in enforcing the law.
Arresting someone is a tool used in enforcing the law.

Merely acting as mediator does not imply the law is being enforced.
Merely arresting someone does not imply the law is being enforced.

Enforcing the law does not inherently require mediation.
Enforcing the law does not inherently require arrest.
wait, seriously? That's all you've been trying to say this whole time?

ucim, has it occurred to you that the reason no one really knows what you're going on about in this thread is because no one *actually* disagrees with what you're trying to say?

Like, what you're saying here is so trivially true that it's baffling you think it even needs to said?
ucim wrote:That is what is implied by your statement: "Right, but the function of police IS to arrest people." Because that is not the function of police, any more than it is the function of a fireman to break doors with an axe. There is are circumstances where doing so is appropriate, and circumstances where it is not. Firemen are not vandals by virtue of the fact that sometimes they find that destroying a door is necessary in their work.
Okay, I guess I should have said "a function" instead of "the function"? That would have been more clear. I'll own up to that.

But ucim, I'm sorry, but you've got to be pretty willfully oblivious to argue for this long without ever stopping once to say, "maybe this person doesn't *literally* think the only function of police is to arrest people. Maybe they were exaggerating. Maybe they misspoke. Maybe I should step back and check instead of launching full throttle into my sixty page thesis proving that police are physiologically capable of doing things besides arrests."

Because, and I swear I'm not trying to be hostile here, but honestly? This kind of thing seems to be a pattern for you.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby ucim » Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:59 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I'm sorry, but you've got to be pretty willfully oblivious to argue for this long without ever stopping once to say, "maybe this person doesn't *literally* think the only function of police is to arrest people.
That question has been asked, repeatedly. Sometimes by me, sometimes by others. The answer is usually some form of "yes, I mean literally, the only purpose of the police is to ruin people's lives". (After all, this is a thread about police ruining people's lives.)
The Great Hippo wrote: Okay, I guess I should have said "a function" instead of "the function"? That would have been more clear. I'll own up to that.
Yes. And not "function" (purpose) but "method" (tool). The difference is very important - it points to what the fix needs to be, and the wrong fix would be Very Bad.

The Great Hippo wrote:...thesis proving that police are physiologically capable of doing things besides arrests."
...which was not even related to the point I was making (which relates to the purpose of police, and whether or not we should have them in the first place).

The Great Hippo wrote:Because, and I swear I'm not trying to be hostile here, but honestly? This kind of thing seems to be a pattern for you.
Yes, I'll own up to that. Words are important. Words mean things. Word choice can inflame emotions, short circuit rational thought, and polarize a nation. Word choices, especially after requests for clarification, are the window into the thought behind the statement. Bad word choices can generate support for totally inappropriate solutions for misidentified problems.

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Re: Police misbehavior thread

Postby natraj » Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:45 pm UTC

ucim wrote:That question has been asked, repeatedly. Sometimes by me, sometimes by others. The answer is usually some form of "yes, I mean literally, the only purpose of the police is to ruin people's lives".


please show me the repeated answers that make this claim.
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