Okay so let’s think about two words for a second. Private police. *Insert gasps here*
We all know that government is inefficient and downright uneconomical in basically every area, from running the post office to the DMV to the healthcare system. Why is it that conservatives and libertarians alike agree with Ludwig von Mises’ assumption that, “The democracy of the market consists in the fact that people themselves make their choices and that no dictator has the power to force them to submit to his value judgments”, yet they are unwilling to search for market alternatives and accept the fallacy that government is a “necessary evil”?
This is why we, as lovers of freedom, love the free market. It is about incentives and the choices that correspond. We vote with our dollars, and changes are able to be made instantaneously. If a company like BlockBuster no longer serves our interests and its products become outdated and inefficient, we are able to take away our votes in the symbol of money. The flip-side to that is if we have a company like Apple that offers superior productization and technological advances that serve us most beneficially, we are able to vote by giving them our business. Imagine if we were forced to, in 2015, use VHS only because the government said so. Why is this model of the free, uninhibited market seen as superior in every aspect of life, but is deemed unreasonable, radical, and extremist in the realms of defense and protection?
Libertarians agree that aggression will always be found in the marketplace. This means there is an incentive for protection from aggressors. The market however will provide you with choices. Choices inspire competition. Competition is what fuels innovation and quality. In our current monopolistic system, we have no choices. For example, if the police department in Chicago is seen as outdated and inefficient, or worse, as corrupt, the consumers of this service have no where to turn to except to the politicians who are writing the corrupt and outdated laws in which the police are enforcing! It is a truly incestuous relationship and the incentives are not seen for the police to improve their product.
In a free society, if a number of people fear the act of aggression, there will be an incentive for a defense agency to arise in the market. The agency will be accountable to their customers because they rely on their contributions in order to stay in business. If the company begins to act outside of its means in the form of inefficient or corrupt service, people can vote them down by removing their dollars immediately rather than wait four years and hoping the majority of people agree.
So you’re saying okay, okay i get it, but what about if you can’t afford it? Then impoverished people and communities will be in chaos right!? Wrong. Again we have to look for incentives. Would it be easier for a defense company to protect a customer in Fallujah or in Connecticut? Obviously the latter. Why though? Because it is going to be so expensive to protect a customer in a warlike, criminal zone rather than in a place that has stable conditions. There would be an incentive to keep crime low in all areas. Also, the company could receive just compensation from the aggressor and crime committer rather than just the customer. However unlike today the defense agency would be held to high standards of accountability to make sure they are operating justly and within their bounds.
Another scenario would be something like that is happening today in the abominable city of Detroit. The Detroit Threat Management Center started in 1995 to combat the high risk of murder and home invasions that had been occurring. That accompanied with rampant corruption in the police department led to the formation of a private defense company. An excerpt from their website reads, “In 1995, on the Eastside of Detroit, Commander Brown officially formed the V.I.P.E.R.S. (Violence Intervention Protective Emergency Response System). A bodyguard tactical training program that emphasizes the importance of mission motivated altruistic community service. The organization became known for helping the community, by stopping home invasions and murders that had been a problem for many years prior. This resulted in a good quality of life for the residents who lived in the community. The byproduct of which meant that the building owners went into the black for the first time in twenty years and the police department received accolades for a 90% reduction in violent crime and 911 calls.” Their protection agency has only since become better and more efficient, and here’s the kicker, they have never accepted a dollar of public funds. This service was provided to the community completely free! Why? Because the incentives for the businesses to protect their communities and their customers was evident! To look at their history, hear testimonials, and for more information, I highly recommend visiting their website which is threatmanagementcenter.com
In addition to this, we have to look at history. Most big city police departments were started as private defense companies, from San Francisco to Boston. The government then cajoled them into becoming government services in order to better carry out laws that were passed. For example, the Pinkerton’s were a private defense company that operated nationwide. They were known for their superiority, innovation, and efficiency. The government took note and basically forced them to work as a governmental agency. The Pinkerton’s are now known as the Secret Service.
Libertarians realize the world is not going to be perfect. There will always be problems in the marketplace. However competition will provide better service than monopolization 100% of the time. Even if you are still not convinced, I have this last bit from independent.org which seeks alternatives to monopolization. “It is important to mention that even though a market may fail to provide optimal results, government intervention will not necessarily improve the situation. Suboptimal private provision will still be superior to public provision, which often involves inefficiency and other problems. Public provision normally entails a government monopoly that has a not-for-profit motivation (for example, not operating as a profit center) but is susceptible to bureaucratic and political pressure.”.
But what about if people differ on what the rules should be James!? What if some people believe abortion is just and others think it is murder, what if some people think heroin should be allowed and others don’t? Answer: well, what happens currently? If people believe abortion is murder, people still act civilized enough to respect the “law” and act civilly in their disagreements. If they can act civil enough by going to a voting booth to change rules, what makes you think that is going to change in a market where there opinions will be truly heard?
Finally, imagine how much more money could be pumped into businesses and charities if people weren’t paying 40% in taxes. Think about the growth in opportunities a free society will provide for safety and security, and the advances that could be made in technology without government restrictions. Think about how police will be incentivized to operate for the people, by the people, and of the people. And think about how much more difficult historical atrocities such as Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, or Mao’s China would be to ever exist again.