In an article I recently wrote explaining why I don’t support the institution of policing here in the United States, I argued that modern police work has very little to do with protecting life liberty and property.

The police serve to enforce the edicts of the state—laws and statutes that increasingly infringe on your liberty, property, and sometimes even your life.

Instead of protecting you, the cops use force to ensure you don’t consume unapproved substances. They seek to keep you from engaging in unauthorized transactions with other willing individuals. They enforce laws to ensure you don’t possess certain types of weapons. Cops stop you from consuming unapproved foods and use the threat of violence to ensure you utilize approved safety equipment in your car. They serve as the gun behind the grasping hand of the tax man, and the billy club backing up the government regulator.

A number of readers took issue with my refusal to “support” law enforcement, saying I shouldn’t blame cops for “doing their jobs.” These defenders of the police argue that cops don’t make the laws and therefore I can’t blame them.

One police officer put it this way.

Police are not law makers. They are law enforcers. If you have a problem with certain laws, take up your grievance with your legislators. Cops can’t enforce laws which don’t exist.

This sounds like a reasonable argument on the surface, but it falls completely flat for one simple reason.

Institutionally, cops support the laws they enforce.

Now I’m sure some individual police officers oppose some of these laws, but my argument focuses on the institution of policing, and that institution actively opposes virtually every effort to reform laws that infringe on liberty and property.

I’ve spent the last five years working with the Tenth Amendment Center and OffNow at the state level to limit federal power by ending state cooperation with unconstitutional actions. Guess who always steps up to oppose our legislative efforts.

The law enforcement lobby.

They oppose reining in the NSA and laws that would require states to refuse provision of material support to federal agencies collecting data without a warrant. They oppose any efforts to end or curtail the drug war. They oppose measures to stop states from enforcing unconstitutional federal gun laws. They oppose prohibiting cooperation with the feds in executing indefinite detention without due process. They oppose reforms to asset forfeiture laws. They oppose any restrictions on their cooperation with the feds – even when those federal actions violate the Constitution.

Do you know why?

Police departments want the grants. They want the asset forfeiture money. And they want the military toys. The federal government created the militarized warrior cops we find lurking in cities across the United States, and those institutions now obediently bow before their masters.

I’ve locked horns with the law enforcement lobby and it serves as the strongest evidence that the problem with the police in America goes far beyond a few “bad apples” and finds its roots in the culture of policing.

As long as law enforcement leadership primarily focuses on the “war on drugs” and the “war on terror,” with all of the goodies and cash that comes along with it, and insists on supporting the federal government in its unconstitutional actions, the institution will remain deeply flawed, and quite frankly – dangerous.

Mike Maharrey

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