08 May 2013

Another Point in Favor of Private, Competing Police Services

private law 115 Comments

The stuff coming out about the Cleveland police department on these abducted girls is pretty damning… Here’s just some of it:

Lugo said about two years ago his sister told him she heard a woman pounding on a window at Castro’s home as if she needed help. When his sister looked up, she saw a woman and a baby standing in a window half covered with a wooden plank. His sister told him and Lugo called the police.

Later, Lugo’s mother called the police because Ariel Castro would park his school bus in front of their home and bring bags full of McDonald’s and drinks into his home. They wondered why he needed so much food. Police again responded but didn’t enter the home.

A third call came from neighborhood women who lived in an apartment building. Those women told Lugo they called police because they saw three young girls crawling on all fours naked with dog leashes around their necks. Three men were controlling them in the backyard. The women told Lugo they waited two hours but police never responded to the calls.

115 Responses to “Another Point in Favor of Private, Competing Police Services”

  1. Daniel Kuehn says:

    So what could a private police force do if the men did not submit to their authority?

    • joe says:

      The 4th and 5th Amendment do not limit the private sector, only govt. So a private police force could just kick down your door any time they wanted. Maybe you could complain to their competitor and the competitor could arrest the other police force for trespassing and vandalism.

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        Is that really how it works?

        I thought there was some deal about people agreeing to a mutual arbiter because it was in their own interests. If what you say is accurate the case is even weaker than I thought, but I don’t think it’s accurate.

        • Daniel Hewitt says:

          The arbitration would likely occur between the respective private police forces. Since they both want to minimize costs, a search seems more reasonable than a war between the two police forces.

          The Machinery of Freedom is free online, and well worth reading. It has a few chapters on this topic.

          • Daniel Kuehn says:

            But how do you get into the house where things are suspected of going on with a private police force that the residents may not have submitted to?

            When I just get a book reference it makes me more curious what the answer really is.

            • सुनिल says:

              The answer doesn’t matter. You think ancap is a stupid cult anyway.

              Please, don’t read any books and don’t use your imagination. Just argue with commenters on the internet, that accomplishes a lot.

              • Daniel Kuehn says:

                Oh shut up. I’ve never said ancap is a stupid cult. The fact that there are other books competing for my attention doesn’t imply that I’m not interested in talking seriously about it. Grow up.

                What Daniel Hewitt suggests about police forces just doing their thing and then having their arbitrators (not the parties arbitrators) sort it out does not sound at all like the things from Bob that I have read.

                And if you have read a book and can’t summarize it’s argument on the internet that ought to give people pause about whether you’re really communicating the argument (not saying that’s the case with Hewitt necessarily).

              • Ken B says:

                Snort. Most of us get that grad students read. And DK defends Krugman against charges of partisanship; that takes imagination.

              • Gene Callahan says:

                “You think ancap is a stupid cult anyway.”

                Well, you’re probably thinking of me, but that is still not right: I think ancap is a very intelligent cult.

            • Porphy's Attourney says:

              On the one hand I see what you’re saying re. ‘just getting a book reference,’ but on the other hand surely you know that not every complex argument can be summarized in a combox, especially when they stem from premises that aren’t conventional wisdom (such as “our wise government will make better investments than private persons.” or “Duh, only the government, in its wisdom, can protect us, since it is operated by people motivated only by the common good.”)

              When your conclusions are alien from what “everyone knows,” they’re difficult to sumarize without being simply ridiculed & dismissed. Which I suppose is why people ask for them to be sumarized in comboxes in the first place instead of digging into the literature which Robert “Bob” Murphy has already provided links to and which are even available for free download, such that only philistinism would prevent one from reading them oneself if one was interested in the topic. (Plus, their being available for free download contradicts the common beliefs that “capitalist libertarians are only motivated by greedy self-interest,” all by itself.

              • Daniel Kuehn says:

                Forget I said the book comment.

                What’s the answer to my question? I’m still not sure this works the way Hewitt suggests it works in ancap society.

              • guest says:

                What’s the answer to my question?

                Surveillance. Watching people doesn’t violate other people’s individual rights.

                And in a free market, the courts couldn’t exclude evidence. Evidence is evidence.

                These days you would even be able to use your own drones for surveillance, if the government wasn’t attempting to prohibit their use.

        • Daniel Hewitt says:

          If what Bob posted is accurate, the case for a public police force is even weaker than I thought.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9KZBULT0mo&feature=player_detailpage

      • Major_Freedom says:

        If a monopoly on violence can somehow find a way to constrain itself in accordance with certain rules, such as the 4th and 5th amendments, then surely institutions that are faced with potential violence from other institutions would have an even greater incentive to constrain itself to just laws.

        • Tel says:

          It is strange, but you often find cases of nations that went to war for apparently irrational and frankly self-destructive reasons. I’m tempted to think the average private police force wouldn’t be much smarter.

          • Anonymous says:

            Remember, the average private police force cannot tax!

          • Major_Freedom says:

            An-capistan requires an improved enlightenment (knowledge) in the general population.

            You’re talking about past history. Except one cannot infer trends from non-ergodic systems.

            Just ask Lord Keynes :)

          • Robert Fellner says:

            The costs of going to war are not borne by the rulers of the nation, but rather the subjects they rule over. The rewards of war, however, are reaped by the rulers. This set of incentives makes irrational warmaking by nation states not that unsurprising.

            Private actors have a different set of incentives as they must bear the full cost of war themselves, and not on the population they systematically exploit. This set of incentives would make irrational warmaking less likely than under govt actors.

      • Porphy's Attourney says:

        Um, Lulz? A private police force could just come into your property any time they wanted? Are you sure that’s what Rothbard et al were arguing?

        Are you really sure?

        Are you really really sure?

        P.S. I think Robert “Bob” Murphy is wrong in his OP, too. This incident might be taken as an argument against the “protection” of the State (government), but that does not mean it constitutes a point in favor of private competing police services.

        I mean, Neighbor A contacts his PPA and says he heard screams in Person B’s home. So? Did he insure against that? On what grounds does Neighbor A’s PPA go into Person B’s home, since Neighbor A has no personal complaint against Person B (Person B has not, in this instance, aggressed against Neighbor A. He has, perhaps, aggressed against some person N, but Neighbor A’s contract with his PPA almost certainly doesn’t specify “insure my protection against aggression, plus those of anyone else,” because this would be too expensive: Neighbor A almost certainly couldn’t afford to pay the PPA the amount that would be required.

        P.P.S. I am highly – highly – sympathetic with Rothbardian Libertarianism, but I remain a vile minarchist because I keep getting tripped up on issues like this. I mean it is quite possible that Person N (or her parents) had a contract with a PPA when they were kidnapped, but Neighbor A may not be contracted with that PPA, and in any case there is no way for a PPA to know it is one of their clients who is being held as a kidnap victim in instances like these, until after the fact. Thus they have no reason to respond to every phoned-in tip/complaint about screams emanating from someone’s house.

        • Tel says:

          That’s not what he said at all.

          A private police force could come onto your property any time all of these were true:

          [A] You were not signed up with any other protection agency.

          [B] They had better weapons than what they thought you had.

          [C] Some justification existed that made it worth their while.

          Violence is a commodity, it can be bought and sold like any other commodity, the only question is whether a “natural monopoly” exists or not.

          • Major_Freedom says:

            Tel, violence isn’t a commodity. Violence is an unjust use of one’s scarce body and resources.

            When someone “buys protection”, they are buying a particular use of commodities and labor.

            • Jonathan Finegold says:

              Not everyone believes violence is unjust, especially if we consider context.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Sure, but then we’d just be arguing over definitions.

                I define violence as constrained to aggression.

                A potential rape victim stabbing or shooting at their attacker, I would not consider violence, but defense.

                Having said that, I do tend to switch definitions and use your definition.

              • Ken B says:

                MF “I define violence as constrained to aggression.”

                Then why not say aggression rather than violence?

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Most often it is to emphasize the fact that it’s a physical aggression, as opposed to being verbally or emotionally aggressive, which is often permitted under libertarianism (free speech subject to private property rights).

                Like I said, I go back and forth between them depending in part on how others understand the terms.

                If someone else uses the word violence to mean the same thing as what I understand in terms of aggression, I might use violence instead.

                Tel used the word violence, so I used it too.

            • Ken B says:

              1. As JF notes, sometimes violence is just. Pulling a rapist off his victim for instance.
              2. Tel’s point is that you can hire people to do violence like you can hire people to give haircuts or teach economics. If haircutting or teaching can be commodities so can violence.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                1. Isn’t that a reduction/removal of violence?

            • Tel says:

              Sadly, justice is also a commodity to be bought and sold. You don’t see too many lawyers begging in the streets, nor judges for that matter.

      • Blackadder says:

        The 4th and 5th Amendment do not limit the private sector, only govt. So a private police force could just kick down your door any time they wanted.

        I hope this is a joke.

      • Gene Callahan says:

        Yes, the alternative is the war of all against all. Good point, Joe.

    • Jonathan Finegold says:

      Vigilante justice.

      • Porphy's Attourney says:

        ^ Probably this would be the only AnCap way to handle it: someone would have to have the balls to transgress the homeowner’s property and check it out, and then their trespass would only be vindicated retrospectively, if they were proven correct.

        If it turned out the screams were just from consensual S&M, for example, then the would-be rescuer would be the one committing an act of aggression. So probably most people would just learn to tune out screams coming from other people’s houses. Especially in a society like today’s where consensual perversions are commonplace.

        Thus, I’m not really certain a private law society would have actually handled incidents like this one better. Not that this is in any way a justification for the modern beamtenstaat, or for the feckless indifference of the state-run police forces when it comes to things like this (Nicholas Glenn, below, is correct: if you really want action, phone in a tip on something they care about, like not getting their cut from dope dealing).

        • Jonathan Finegold says:

          I also think there would be a lot of retributional murder. I mean hired assassins have a significant market in societies like the U.S. It makes sense that they would have an even bigger market in a stateless society.

        • Tel says:

          So probably most people would just learn to tune out screams coming from other people’s houses. Especially in a society like today’s where consensual perversions are commonplace.

          Exactly the same as life under Statism then?

          • RPLong says:

            If it’s exactly the same, then why switch systems? The transaction costs alone would be a sufficient argument against an-cap-ism.

            • Major_Freedom says:

              Because there are *other* “it” activities that would justify it.

              • RPLong says:

                Then that’s where the argument should be. I never hear those arguments, I only hear claims that private police forces would be better (no evidence supplied), and then when objections are raised, I hear responses that it’s no different than the state.

                We can’t just go in circles like that. If an-caps want to win me over to the idea of eliminating public police, they should provide strong evidence for its efficacy. The stakes are too high to tolerate anything less than incontrovertible evidence. You are essentially asking non-an-caps to undertake an existential threat to see whether it would work. That’s fine, but then you shouldn’t wonder why we’re not convinced.

              • Ken B says:

                RPLong +1

                While I realize that many here see public sidewalks as oppression I think that if you look at the broad span of history over the whole worl, most western governments work pretty well and and over all largely tamed. Not that there aren’t a lot of abuses, and the potential for abuse is huge, and not that I don’t want to reduce its size and scope, but that we have, with constitutions and cultural practices, partly tamed the beast. We should toss that away on a maybe?

              • Major_Freedom says:

                RPLong:

                Given that Ken B gave you a +1, I suspected there would be some problems in your post, and lo and behold…

                “Then that’s where the argument should be. I never hear those arguments, I only hear claims that private police forces would be better (no evidence supplied), and then when objections are raised, I hear responses that it’s no different than the state.”

                In some respects it would be no different, but in other respect, it would. I can’t take you at your word regarding your discussions, because in my experience, it’s the exact opposite. I rarely if ever hear about the similarities.

                “We can’t just go in circles like that. If an-caps want to win me over to the idea of eliminating public police, they should provide strong evidence for its efficacy.”

                How can they possibly provide you with such evidence in a world without anarcho-capitalism?

                It would be like asking evidence for the theory that slave emancipation would do such and such, while living in a world that has seen slavery everywhere.

                “The stakes are too high to tolerate anything less than incontrovertible evidence.”

                So if the slave cannot prove to you he would be more productive and happy if free, then because he cannot show you “incontrovertible evidence” for his pleas, that he should remain a slave so that you can sleep at night knowing that large-scale changes were not made to his or his master’s life?

                “You are essentially asking non-an-caps to undertake an existential threat to see whether it would work. That’s fine, but then you shouldn’t wonder why we’re not convinced.”

                Spoken like a true thug.

                Here’s some advice, if you want to be ABLE to be convinced, you cannot continue to cling to the flawed epistemology you have adopted for yourself.

                You are demanding that a particular method be used even though it is the wrong method to use for this particular question, and would prevent you from even understanding or recognizing a sufficient argument even if you saw it.

                Ken B: Your response is passive aggressive, churlish garbage top to bottom, as usual.

              • Ken B says:

                Priceless.

                MF to RPLong: “Spoken like a true thug.”

                MF to me: “Your response is passive aggressive, churlish garbage top to bottom, as usual.”

                both in the same comment!

              • RPLong says:

                @MF – While there are no perfectly an-cap conditions from which to draw evidence, there are plenty of examples of private police forces doing effective work and co-existing with public forces.

                I would expect that if one were so inclined, one could study the various blend of conditions out there and conduct analyses of situations when there was comparatively more public police effort compared to private police effort.

                If it really turns out that there is a trend toward better conditions when less public policing is involved, then that would be good, solid evidence in favor of the an-cap position.

                Otherwise, what incentive do I have to take your word that abolishing public police would make my life better?

              • K.P. says:

                I don’t really understand Ken B, do you have a certain percentage or point that the government should be cut to but never any further?

                It seems like eliminating it entirely could be considered in-line with cultural practices, at least, depending on the process taken.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Ken B:

                And?

                RPLong:

                “While there are no perfectly an-cap conditions from which to draw evidence, there are plenty of examples of private police forces doing effective work and co-existing with public forces.”

                These are not even imperfect examples of anarcho-capitalism. This is more a test of the performance of fascism.

                “I would expect that if one were so inclined, one could study the various blend of conditions out there and conduct analyses of situations when there was comparatively more public police effort compared to private police effort.”

                This is like saying you can measure the quality and behavior of private money producers in anarcho-capitalism, by being an observing in a statist society whereby “private” bankers are given a state enforced monopoly privilege to create as much money as they wanted, “according to market demand for credit” or some other “market” oriented “private” solution, and then comparing it to a monarchical realm whereby a totalitarian King, for whatever reason, puts a strong limit on the amount of currency he creates, then, inferring that socialism is better than anarcho-capitalism because just look at the empirical results!

                Private police who are paid for by the state, regulated by the state, who must obey the state, but are “owned” privately and for profit, are in fact fascist organizations, not private anarcho-capitalist ones.

                “If it really turns out that there is a trend toward better conditions when less public policing is involved, then that would be good, solid evidence in favor of the an-cap position.”

                Horrible experimental set-up, sorry.

                “Otherwise, what incentive do I have to take your word that abolishing public police would make my life better?”

                Reason, not my word. Praxeology and thymology, not my opinion.

                History is not a valid constraint on what we can know and do in the future.

                Like I said above, if you continue to cling to the flawed method you have adopted for yourself, you will never be convinced in the way you are claiming you can be, because the actual basis for conviction is going unanalyzed, and your convictions in this sphere will remain flawed if they are in fact flawed.

                It’s your epistemology that is the problem here, not anarcho-capitalists who allegedly have insufficient, inferior, or unconvincing arguments.

                Imagine a King fully controlled and owned a territory of land, with say 1 million inhabitants.

                Suppose this King introduced a new rule that allowed certain individuals to start doing whatever they wanted, except overthrow the King of course, and the King will protect them from any and all aggression that is inflicted on them by any of the other inhabitants.

                Would these events be sufficient “evidence” for you to “test” anarcho-capitalism? For here we have one period of time where there is a certain amount of freedom, and a subsequent period of time where there is additional freedom given to certain individuals.

                This “evidence” is sufficient for us to “test” the theory of libertarianism, isn’t it?

                Or is it?

                You need to dig deeper dude. You’re just eliciting a self-contradictory positivist epistemology, and demanding that his own flawed method be used by others to prove him wrong.

                I can’t prove to you the superiority of anarcho-capitalism by using the method you demand I use.

              • RPLong says:

                MF, you are either completely unaware of the many various and truly private police forces that exist out there in the world, or you are conveniently ignoring them because it makes it easier for you to dismiss me as a fascist.

                In either case, this discussion isn’t going anywhere. I was asking for an-caps to supply evidence for their case. If your response is to throw up your hands and refuse to play nice – and to by the way call me a thug, a slave, and a fascist, then all I can tell you is that you are a terrible advocate for your cause.

                I really enjoy reading your comments. There is no denying that when you are good, you are the best. You know a lot more about economics than I do. But here’s a pro-tip: when someone asks for a more convincing argument, you should take them at their word, or at least abstain from calling them fascists.

                I’d rather be curious student with epistemological problems than an undeniable expert who refuses to advance a debate.

              • Seymour says:

                Major_Freedom, would you say that you’re a supporter of polycentric law?

              • Major_Freedom says:

                RPLong:

                “MF, you are either completely unaware of the many various and truly private police forces that exist out there in the world”

                Really? In a world of states, you’re saying there exists institutions that can be used to “test” anarcho-capitalist security and protection?

                “or you are conveniently ignoring them because it makes it easier for you to dismiss me as a fascist.”

                I called “private police forces” paid for by the state, regulated by the state, fascist organizations.

                Whether or not you support them, is up to you. I did not dismiss you as a fascist.

                But I can say that if you do support such institutions, then you are a supporter of fascist organizations. Take that for what you will.

                “In either case, this discussion isn’t going anywhere. I was asking for an-caps to supply evidence for their case. If your response is to throw up your hands and refuse to play nice – and to by the way call me a thug, a slave, and a fascist, then all I can tell you is that you are a terrible advocate for your cause.”

                You see? THAT is why you are, and will remain, ignorant, and why you are really full of BS when you claimed to be open to be convinced otherwise.

                Instead of realizing the actual core argument I am making, which is that you are going to have to change your epistemological convictions, you instead chose to jump on the word fascism, slavery, and thug, and claimed that the mere mention of it is justification for you to throw YOUR hands in the air.

                I did not call you a fascist, nor a slave, nor a thug.

                I said the institution is fascist, the slavery mention was in a thought experiment, and the thug comment was in reference to what you said.

                “when someone asks for a more convincing argument, you should take them at their word, or at least abstain from calling them fascists.”

                What do you mean “take you at their word”? I never take people at their word unless I know them enough to make taking their word a better solution than questioning their entire core convictions.

                I don’t know you, so I can’t take you at your word.

                “I’d rather be curious student with epistemological problems than an undeniable expert who refuses to advance a debate.”

                Well then show it, instead of demanding that anarcho-capitalists play by your epistemological rule that cannot even allow anyone to show you the “evidence” you require!

                Sounds like you had a recent, horrible debate with someone, and bringing that baggage with you into this thread, just looking to be hostile with someone.

                If you need to get something off your chest, then fine, I’ll be the scapegoat. It’s not like you’ll be the first to use me in this way anyway.

                I once had a debate with someone and said that our “private” prison system is in fact fascist, not capitalist, and you know how he responded? Something along the lines of “Your argument failed because Godwin.”

                I take a lot of crap from a lot of people, as do many others, so I hope you will understand that my skin has developed a certain thickness, and I expect that in others too.

                You are being awkwardly sensitive, and giving up too easily.

                I’d actually rather you say I’m a stupid moron, but accompanied by some good ideas, than to foist praise on me, accompanied by demanding, sensitive, exasperated pleas to I don’t know what.

                Seymour:

                Yes. But not unconstrained into relativism. There is an ideal, and polycentric law would be superior in perfecting and advancing ideal law, than centralized law.

              • RPLong says:

                MF, if you think walking out on a debate that can only proceed if I “change my epistemological convictions” is “awkwardly sensitive” and “giving up too easily” then you are a very puzzling person indeed. Do you frequently engage in debates in which the other side changes their epistemological convictions? And are you prepared to follow suit?

                BTW, I am pretty sure the phrase “epistemological convictions” is a contradiction in terms since the first word pertains to knowledge and the second to belief. But anywayzzzz… keep on fighting the good fight.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                RPLong:

                “MF, if you think walking out on a debate that can only proceed if I “change my epistemological convictions” is “awkwardly sensitive” and “giving up too easily” then you are a very puzzling person indeed.”

                Good thing I don’t think that.

                It was not your walking out on the basis of the epistemological question, it was your belief I called you a fascist, a slave, and a thug (when I called you none of those things).

                “Do you frequently engage in debates in which the other side changes their epistemological convictions?”

                Of course. It’s how I came to change mine.

                “And are you prepared to follow suit?”

                Not if I am convinced that not all epistemological claims are made equal.

                “BTW, I am pretty sure the phrase “epistemological convictions” is a contradiction in terms since the first word pertains to knowledge and the second to belief.”

                I’m pretty sure that’s incorrect, because epistemology is not a mere belief. That’s your epistemology (positivism) rearing one of its hydra heads again.

                Epistemological convictions are convictions concerning how we come to know things about the world. Self-reflective analysis can critique, compare and contrast various epistemological assumptions. In this way, we turn mere “beliefs” into convictions, or, at the very least, necessary methods of thought to learn about the world as it is and us as we are.

                “But anywayzzzz… keep on fighting the good fight.”

                Seagull managing. Swoop in, squawk some “helpful” advice, then swoop out.

              • RPLong says:

                haha… Oops. Better re-read what I wrote there MF.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Don’t know what you mean RP. I only see what you wrote and what I responded with, which I am happy with.

                Is there something there that is wrong?

            • Tel says:

              Transaction costs?!?

              In this day and age… don’t you buy stuff online? Are you still lugging those gold bars around with horse and cart?

              Seriously, transaction costs are microscopic. Please compare to the cost of government tax collection, and the paperwork involved in running departments to spend that tax.

      • Giovanni P says:

        There has been a long tradition of private investigators in America, and that has been destroyed by the existence of the police and the laws of the State. Without these, these people would exist and do a better job than police (which probably didn’t even try to investigate the subject).

        Also, private institutions of cooperation between private security agencies and private investigators could emerge and give birth to a system of arranged information which would make easier to, for example, link the 3 cases of the missing girls and help to solve them. Something that the State couldn’t do.

        • Tel says:

          Yes, that’s a good point. The families of the kidnap victims can post a bounty, and charitable fund raising in their communities can boost up those bounties of popular cases. Very much like the Murphy/Krugman phantom debate.

          Suddenly it becomes worthwhile for all sorts of private security groups to get involved… including individual investigators.

    • Chase Hampton says:

      Daniel Kuehn, given the third phone call described in the above post, would you be calling for punishment against anyone who used the least amount of force that they could reasonably be expected to use in order to enter the home and free the girls?

      I am assuming the answer is no, and that is the key point. Neither society nor a judge/arbiter would condemn such actions, because they were justified. After all, no one is calling for the punishment of Charles Ramsey who, against the will of the owner of the house, opened the front door in order to free the women inside.

      I think that most would agree (which is what really matters) that an aggressive act, which uses the least amount of violence that the actor can be reasonably expected to use while still being effective and which is reasonable in relation to the degree of violence involved in the initial act of aggression, taken against an initial aggressor in order to defend the victim of said aggressor, is no act of aggression at all (or at least not an act of aggression worthy of condemnation).

      Now, going back to our example, what if they were wrong and there was actually no one being held against their will?

      Then, I am guessing you, I, and the owners of the trespassed home would agree that those engaged in the trespassing should be punished.

      What if a government police force forcibly entered the home only to find no criminal activity? Should they be punished? Would they be punished?

    • K.P. says:

      Daniel,

      I don’t know if your question has been answered sufficiently, so I’ll give it a shot. There are actually several different ways it could be handled. So I’ll go over a few.

      1. Restrictive Covenant: The conditions to buy/rent the home require you join the HOA. The HOA could in turn have specifications about police searches.

      2. Ostracism: Perhaps there isn’t any covenant and the homeowner refuses arbitration, instead the his utility companies could cut him off unless he complies with the police. You can probably see how far that can be taken in a completely/mostly private society.

      3. Vigilantism: As already stated, one could convince themselves of the homeowners guilt and break in himself. If he turns out to be mistaken, he’s guilty of trespassing. The likelihood of that probably rests on the severity of the punishment.

      Obviously, libertarians and anarchists disagree as to whether all or any of these are truly libertarian and anarchist respectively, and I’m not certain if there is a unique mutualist resolution, but you just can’t please everyone.

      • Daniel Kuehn says:

        Great – this is helpful. See I wouldn’t have thought vigilantism would meet NAP standards at all – that the initiation itself had to be sanctioned by a mutually agreed upon authority. It sounds like there may be some disagreement on that.

        Certainly vigilantism can get the job done in some cases – whether it’s consistent with NAP or not. I’d figure that we get modern police departments by taking the vigilante effort and institutionally constraining it – and that’s exactly why we (well, most of us) like public police departments.

        If you just have to rely on #1 and #2, they both make a lot of sense but I can’t imagine they’d have addressed this kidnapping case any better – and potentially they’d be worse.

        • K.P. says:

          Thanks.

          I believe the argument is that once you’ve initiated aggression (in this case, kidnapping) you’ve basically – voluntarily even – given up your “right” not to be coerced.

          Obviously, some disagree, perhaps completely or about proportionality. But it’s important to realize that there are different definitions of “aggression” and even non-libertarian conceptions of anarcho-capitalism, so it isn’t a rigid idea or set of rules.

          • Major_Freedom says:

            Vigilantism is sometimes the only way the NAP can be defended.

            • K.P. says:

              While that may be true, I think libertarians should definitely emphasize other forms of justice, at the very least, to not sound too much like Robespierre.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Huh? Robespierre murdered innocent people because he hated their religious beliefs and practises.

                NAP vigilantism would have been a good response to Robespierre!

                There is nothing inherently wrong with vigilantism that would make it an incomplete or insufficient method of people protecting other people and themselves.

              • K.P. says:

                Sound like, not act like.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Sounds like? Oh come on.

                Anything can “sound like” anything else with enough mental gymnastic and spin.

                You like to paint? Do you know who you sound like? HITLER!

              • K.P. says:

                So what? That doesn’t mean somethings require more mental gymnastics and spin than others.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Because as long as you can point to a worse case of mental gymnastics, it means your mental gymnastics are justified.

              • K.P. says:

                I can’t make heads or tails of what you just said.

                The more mental gymnastics one goes through to attack another the more ridiculous one appears.

                So the harder you make it the better.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                Bingo. That was my impression from the linking an advocacy of NAP vigilantism with sounding like Robespierre.

              • Daniel Kuehn says:

                re: “Huh? Robespierre murdered innocent people because he hated their religious beliefs and practises.”

                MF – but that’s the whole problem.

                If you are prepared to accept vigilantism, then the vigilante is judge, jury, and executioner. In other words – Robspierre decides if Robespierre is in the right or not until some other vigilante comes along and makes another decision.

                You all talk about states as “monopolies on violent force”.. think of vigilantism as monopolistic competition of violent force!

              • Major_Freedom says:

                “If you are prepared to accept vigilantism, then the vigilante is judge, jury, and executioner.”

                OK.

                “In other words – Robspierre decides if Robespierre is in the right or not until some other vigilante comes along and makes another decision.”

                OK, but that doesn’t mean we can’t establish who is right and wrong based on a standard other than their personal say so’s.

                “You all talk about states as “monopolies on violent force”.. think of vigilantism as monopolistic competition of violent force!”

                You mean think of a contradiction? OK.

                Monopolistic competition…

                That’s like saying singular plurality. Or unitary diversity. Or centralizing decentralization.

                Monopoly. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

                States are not just monopolies of force. They are coercive territorial monopolies of final arbitration who impose taxation on already existing private property owners.

                Vigilantism is just another word for extra-legal use of force.

                I can support it as long as it is constrained to protecting private property rights.

                I don’t have to support arbitrary uses of force just because some self-professed vigilante is using force.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          “I’d figure that we get modern police departments by taking the vigilante effort and institutionally constraining it – and that’s exactly why we (well, most of us) like public police departments.”

          Institutional constraints does not imply monopolies, for who would constrain the constrainers? That answer is why monopolies are the wrong conclusion to make.

          The ultimate constraint is individual liberty. It’s why individuals who do not want themselves to be so constrained, form and maintain states, and why other individuals who don’t want everyone to be so constrained, but are fine with others not wanting being so constrained, because they hope to get what they want through such unconstrained individuals’ activity, support the state.

          Freedom (in the general, abstract sense) seeking is a part of human activity. Eliminating constraints in the abstract. Scientific inquiry can be viewed as eliminating constraints.

          We live in a world where some people want to eliminate not only (external) material constraints, but (external) egoistic ones as well.

          Anarcho-capitalism is an ethic that holds ALL individuals ought to be free to eliminate 100% of their material constraints if they can, and 0% egoistic constraints.

          Totalitarianism is an ethic that holds a single individual ought to be free to eliminate 100% of their material constraints and 100% of egoist constraints if they can.

          Social democracy is somewhere in the middle. Not one individual, and not all individuals, ought to be free to eliminate egoistic freedom. Only some should be free to do that (politicians supported by 50% plus 1 of all individuals), As a result, not all individuals ought to be free to eliminate their material constraints either, whether this is intended or not. For they cannot do so without having 100% egoist freedom.

    • Jared Lynch says:

      When thinking of all the possibilities, why do we have to rely on a police force in this situation? Clearly we do not have to rely on a professional handyman if a ceiling fan needs installed. We can attempt to install it ourselves. If a disturbed neighbor witnesses 3 woman being led around a yard while leashed by 3 men and she waits for any type of police force (one that obviously didn’t respond) something is wrong. Shouldn’t the police be a somewhat last attempt to resolve a matter? Are we not adult enough think of a solution ourselves and then go for help when all else fails? Is a police force the only solution to any type of conflict? If so, we might be doomed and deserve the inadequacies.

    • rayray says:

      Same thing anyone can do–escalate.

      Currently, if the police decide to kick in your door, they will kill you if you resist them. This is profitable because the entire government operates on the same principles as any other group of robbers. A private group could decide to become robbers. Heck, it happens all the time. Nothing will ever stop it. In the case of a private force, you could terminate the contract. They could decide to attack. They could decide to force you to remain a “customer” through an ultimate threat of summary execution if you failed to comply with their demands.

      They could decide, in other words, to act like the government.

  2. nicholas glenn says:

    They should have told the cops that there was drugs in the house. They would have busted his doors down pretty quick then.

  3. Bob Roddis says:

    1. The streets should/could/would be private. The private schools would be located on private roads. Entrance to the neighborhood should/could/would be restricted and vetted.

    2. The ability of the “authorities” to search homes should/could/would be negotiated by contract. But there would be little crime because no strangers would be wandering the streets.

    3. The events in Cleveland and the Boston Marathon can be blamed on anti-Ancap bias. Apparently, they hate the children.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      I should/could/would agree with that.

  4. Carrie says:

    I am intrigued by this idea of private, competing police forces, and can see its advantages over a system of incompetent bureaucrats.

    In the case described above, I’m wondering who would pay for a proper search? Would the good samaritan neighbor have to pay for the service, especially if nothing turned up and it was a false alarm? Would the agency rely on the victims and their families to pay for being rescued, after the fact? I worry that many neighbors would be less likely to call a private force to help someone in trouble, if they were held responsible for paying for it.

    • skylien says:

      Couldn’t such an incident be a huge image boost for a PPA? I mean they could use that as perfect advertisement that they care about people and it shows that they are able to handle such issues in the first place.

      I really do think that people care a lot about this stuff and they would rather be a customer of a PPA who even protects people not insured by them.

      • skylien says:

        I mean just look at the world wide media response…

    • Jake says:

      That’s a good question. Private police could potentially be paid for in a fee-for-service arrangement, but I think a subscription service is more likely. For instance, you pay an annual fee and then there’s no additional charge if you actually need to use the service.

      I think firms would prefer that model as well, because it makes better business sense.

    • Matt M says:

      Well, presumably if we had private protection firms, when the girls first went missing, their families would have hired a company to find their children. These companies then would be very interested in doing so, to fufill their obligation and to earn their revenue.

      There might be firms that specialize entirely in missing persons. In addition to the standard “Have you seen me?” posters that the government police put up for a brief time after a kidnapping, such a firm might have giant billboards that say something like “See any suspicious behavior that might indicate trapped or kidnapped people? Call us for a potential reward!”

      So the neighbor sees the billboard and calls up, describing the circumstance, at which point the firm starts investigating. Maybe they don’t just kick the door down, maybe they sit on the guy’s house for a week or so and observe the habits. Maybe they notice him bringing in a whole lot of food but nobody ever leaving the house besides him. Maybe they go to a private judge and get a warrant of some kind (as Dr. Murphy describes in Chaos Theory, no reason you couldn’t have separate enforcement and judicial companies), or maybe they wait until they believe the evidence they have makes it worth it to just kick down the door.

      Maybe the perp carries an insurance policy similar to malpractice insurance to cover any crimes he might commit (another idea I learned from Murphy) and the missing persons firm goes directly to that insurance company with the evidence, and the company itself tells the perp “You will let them in to inspect your house or we will drop you.”

      There are plenty of ways this could work. I tend to agree with a poster above. Those who are really curious need to either read some books (start with Murphy’s own, you can get it for free on mises.org) or just use your imagination for awhile.

    • Carrie says:

      Thanks, everyone. These are some good points.
      One thing I had not considered is that the existence of private protection agencies would have affected the entire context leading up to the rescue in the Cleveland case. The average person might also be more aware of his/her surroundings and more invested in contacting a PPA, since we’d have an active responsibility for selecting effective, just PPAs.

  5. Tel says:

    The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, …

    But who did comment publicly anyhow, just like they always do, so you just know everything you hear must be completely kosher (presuming this untraceable official exists at all).

  6. RPLong says:

    I think this is a bad example for an-cap-ism. The police could not forcibly enter Castro’s home because they had no legal justification to do so. That means that the limitations imposed on the state were working. That’s a mark in favor of minarchy.

    Just because Castro was a bad guy doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve his human rights to due process and protection against unlawful search-and-seizure. If we are making the argument that an-cap is preferable to minarchy because it would have resulted in expedience in this one case alone, then we are torching about 300 years of libertarian theory.

    • Bob Roddis says:

      1. Under Ancap, the neighborhood could contractually agree in advance to an annual full sweep of everyone’s home to hunt for drugs, porn, guns, kidnap victims and/or Austrian Economics books*.

      2. I would think that a report of three young girls crawling on all fours naked with dog leashes around their necks would be probable cause to search for kidnapped girls under any circumstances.

      *for those living in the “progressive” private neighborhoods

    • Matt M says:

      Actually, private police *could* forcibly enter a home, they would just be liable for some certain amount of damages if they were wrong. So say they kick down the door, restrain the owner, search the house and find nothing. He’s totally innocent. Now he can sue them in a private court. Assuming they don’t settle (and you would think an entrenched company would be more than willing to settle generously in situations like this), what would he get? 20 million dollars for pain and suffering? Not likely. Probably a new door and maybe a few hundred bucks for the inconvienence or something. It would also be bad publicity for that particular firm (far more important in an AnCap society).

      On the other hand, if they’re right, the good publicity gains would be huge. Increased business, profits, etc. Maybe even direct financial incentives written into their contract (if we have to put ourselves at risk to solve your case, you pay an additional fee if we’re successful).

      So the company would have to look at the evidence they have and make a risk/reward decision. Does the potential reward justify the risks? Is the evidence sufficient to make them believe a positive outcome is likely? I know in this particular case, the instinct is to say “If only the police kicked down more doors these girls would have been saved,” but is that really what we want? Is there anyone out there whose complaint about the police is that they don’t kick down ENOUGH doors?

      Government police never have to make a risk/reward decision becuase there is no risk. They hold a monopoly over the market, so their reputation is irrelevant. They are immune from prosecution themselves so there is no risk personally to anyone involved.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      “The police could not forcibly enter Castro’s home because they had no legal justification to do so.”

      Suppose there was? Suppose that the contract stipulated that if a report is made by a neighbor, the police do have a just cause to enter, and suppose frivolous, vendetta claims and accusations are also contracted to be punishable?

      You’re just arbitrarily making up a certain set of laws, and pretending that anarcho-capitalist can only enforce those particular laws.

      There is no barrier against contracting to allow police to enter homes if certain criteria are met. If an anarchic law is insufficient to stopping a certain violent act, then the laws can be changed, but without introducing new violations of property (since anarcho-capitalism is founded on non-aggression).

  7. Jake says:

    Have you guys ever played the video game “Deus Ex: Invisible War”? It’s a first-person RPG that was released on the original Xbox (and also PC, I think).

    For those who haven’t, it depicts a future where governments have collapsed and the whole world is essentially stateless. The player visits Seattle, Cairo, and Trier, which have morphed into independent cities dominated by private interests. One interesting thing is that the SSC (Standard Security Corporation), a private security firm, is pretty much ubiquitous around the world. They perform a typical police function but are essentially apolitical, even in an environment where many different factions are vying for power.

    Anyway, it’s not all that relevant to the topic at hand really, but Bob’s post made me think of this game. It’s one of the few examples I can think of where an-cap is depicted in non-print media.

    • Matt M says:

      I prefer the first Deus Ex game, where one of the major bad guys is a cyborg who the illuminatti planted as the director of FEMA, where he proceeded to genetically engineer a deadly plague in order to control the masses. This came out in the late 90s before people really knew much about FEMA, but having a video game where the director of FEMA is a major villian still makes me smile.

  8. Andrew says:

    Bob – There are some doubts about the validity of these reports. The Plain Dealer, Cleveland’s daily newspaper, never ran them because they could not be verified. Reportedly, the kidnapped women said they only went outside of the house twice in 10 years, and even then, they were taken to the garage in disguises.

    Regardless, this seems to be a colossal failure on the part of law enforcement. Many neighbors have been on local news saying their concerns were dismissed – you can even hear a bit of that in the 911 calls from the day of the rescue.

    This from today’s paper:
    http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/05/fbi_previously_investigated_th.html#incart_river_default#incart_maj-story-1

    This comes on the heels of another embarrassment for the Cleveland police, where they shot and killed two after a high speed chase. About 140 rounds were fired at the victims, who ended up being unarmed.
    http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/02/cleveland_police_chase_and_shooting_scene.html

  9. Yancey Ward says:

    The basic point was that the Cleveland police were shockingly inept and uncurious. Why does the city need them, again? As a commenter above pointed out, if the neighbors had claimed to see drugs being dispensed there, the house would have been raided immediately, and on just as little cause.

  10. MG says:

    If the last sticking point is the one on the power to arrest being easier to grant as a monopoly than to negotiate multi-laterally, then government should help grow the market for private investigation (which is in fact where a case like this shows gorss incompetence). Look at licensing laws that are onerous, cut back funding for public police (to the extent that a private market for some of its traditional functions would emerge to fill holes), use savings to offer incentives/prizes for solved crimes.

  11. Ken B says:

    Pulling out from all the iondentation. KP asks a purist’s shibboleth question
    “I don’t really understand Ken B, do you have a certain percentage or point that the government should be cut to but never any further?”

    I want to cut it now, and as long as it seems to big I will want to cut it more. I expect I would cut further than the vast majority. But I will not commit now, before any experience or data, to any particular stopping point or lack of stopping point. I want to see the effects, hear the arguments, and I reserve the right to rethink later as the facts change.

    If my house is aflame I want to put water on it. As long as the flames flicker I will probably want more. I am not going to say in advance I won’t be satisfied until all of Lake Erie has been pumped onto my house.

    • K.P. says:

      I really can’t see much of a difference between you and an anarcho-capitalist, perhaps you’re more pragmatic in tone, but I’m unfamiliar with any saying that they are closed to rethinking things. Even Murray Rothbard contemplated the possibility of being wrong.

      • Ken B says:

        Well you are right that my preferences lead, for now, in the same direction. I have some serious philosophical differences and expect eventually that will matter in practical terms. But for now I think there is so much room to cut govt, and so many places where markets could help, that in marginal terms I agree with the crowd here on a lot of issues. I am vastly more cut oriented/small govt oriented than LK or DK for instnace.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          Who are your biggest philosophical influences, in terms of philosophy of science? What “school” or “schools” most closely describe your core convictions?

          • Ken B says:

            Feynman and Wolpert and Dawkins. All of whom are skeptical about “philosophy of science”, the first two especially.

            Someone once asked the composer Virgil Thomson what one had to do to write “American music”. His answer was “1. Be an American. 2. Write music.” Science is what scientists do, not what philosophers tell them to do.

            • Major_Freedom says:

              “Feynman and Wolpert and Dawkins. All of whom are skeptical about “philosophy of science”, the first two especially.”

              Except they all utilize a particular philosophy of science, particularly all three!

              All three adhere to positivist-empiricism.

              “Someone once asked the composer Virgil Thomson what one had to do to write “American music”. His answer was “1. Be an American. 2. Write music.” Science is what scientists do, not what philosophers tell them to do.”

              Scientists are doing what philosophers of science say they are doing, and sometimes scientists are doing what scientists say scientists are doing, but that’s relatively rare.

              Most positivist scientists don’t even realize they’re contradicting themselves in practise. Philosophers of science can help them understand why.

              • Ken B says:

                “Scientists are doing what philosophers of science say they are doing”

                Said philosophers being omniscient and infallible, who can dispute this? Some scientists of course, but what would they know? Still scientists do do different things from time to time, new ideas and paradigms arise from time to time, new questions are considered, new techniques employed, old notions challenged, and so from time to time what counts as science changes. Odd that.

              • Major_Freedom says:

                “Said philosophers being omniscient and infallible, who can dispute this?”

                No, just Earthly philosophers who closely scrutinize the scientist’s behavior, writing, and argumentative logic. It does not require omniscience or infallibility.

                “Some scientists of course, but what would they know?”

                When it comes to philosophy of science and philosophy of mind, typically very little. But there are some who aren’t put off by the philosophy label and understand how they come to know the things they know, rather than just accepting what they were told is “the” method by their profs years prior.

                “Still scientists do do different things from time to time, new ideas and paradigms arise from time to time, new questions are considered, new techniques employed, old notions challenged, and so from time to time what counts as science changes.”

                Scientific knowledge cannot progress but on a rationalist foundation of knowledge objectively grounded on prior knowledge. It was rationalism the whole time, buddy boy.

                If scientific laws of knowledge and of reality constantly changed, nothing could be built over time. The old would make way for the new in a series of total creative destruction acts.

                General relativity did not eradicate Newtonian physics. It modified and advanced our knowledge of gravity and spacetime.

                Likewise, calculus did not eradicate discrete mathematics, it added to it.

                Folks like Kuhn (paradigm) and Feyerabend (epistemological anarchy) misconceive of scientific propositions as merely verbal concepts abstracted away from their practical, praxeological foundation, and instead choose to arbitrarily manipulate them according to arbitrary rules and games, nothing is ever objective.

                So it’s not surprising that they would view the history of science in a relativistic manner, despite the fact that all along, the knowledge was grown on a foundation of practical activity.

                See Lorenzen’s “proto-physics”.

    • Major_Freedom says:

      “KP asks a purist’s shibboleth question”

      Attacking purism is really just advancing ones own convictions as the standard of purity, or oneself as the standard of purity.

      “But I will not commit now, before any experience or data, to any particular stopping point or lack of stopping point. I want to see the effects, hear the arguments, and I reserve the right to rethink later as the facts change.”

      Suppose there is a reduction in government activity, and afterwards, you observe “the effects”. It actually doesn’t matter what happens after.

      How can you know that the subsequent history occurred because of the reduction in government activity, rather than despite the reduction in government activity?

      For example, suppose you consider the obvious historical facts that A. Governmental activity has increased since 1776, and B. Living standards have increased since 1776. How can you know whether B occurred because of A, or despite A?

      Ken B, you may not fully grasp this yet, but your positivistic approach invariably leads to skepticism and social engineering.

      Why do other people subjected with violence have to wait for your positivist mind to be satisfied first, before such violence can end? Who are you to hold your fears of potential destruction based on faulty reasoning, over the heads of others who are being subjected to violence and can be identified as such using a “NOW” reasoning?

      The problem with having a “wait and see” positivist approach is that the subject matter you are studying cannot reveal constants of nature through observing history.

      It goes even further. You are also presuming a consequentialist ethical doctrine that says the ends justifies the means. That we should judge the means by the ends that result. If government activity was reduced, and you don’t like the outcome, then that somehow means the government should not have reduced its activity and should have kept up its aggression.

      It’s actually a fallacy to appeal to consequences, because it denies a moral analysis of the means themselves.

      Even if you observed a slave society being emancipated, and afterwords you saw an increase in murder, a decreased output, and a rise in “worker idleness”, that would have zero bearing on the question of whether or not slavery should be abolished. It would not justify enslaving everyone once again, and go sorry, oops, we made a mistake.

      • John B says:

        Great point about positivism. I would add that utilitarianism is weak as a philosophy as well because it just begs the question: what approach would bring the most overall happiness? Responding to the question of what is the best moral philosophy by saying utilitarianism is really just arguing in a circle.

        The more of this I see, the bigger a fan I become of the Natural Law idea of saying that humans beings have inalienable rights to life, liberty, and property. It is really just a bonus that the also tends to produce the best results. Likewise, the more naive positivism I see, the bigger a fan I become of a priori reasoning in social sciences. Anyone who thinks there is another way is just deluding themselves.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          The answers of unlocking the FULL mysteries of the universe, and especially of ourselves, is in self-reflection.

  12. Major_Freedom says:

    Just to make clear, historical failures of statism are not an actual foundation for how we come to know that anarcho-capitalism is superior, both ethically and productively, than statism.

    These failures can emphasize and serve as points of increased understanding, but from historical failures of statism it does not follow, strictly speaking, that anarcho-capitalism is superior.

    • Tel says:

      History may be an imperfect way to judge the future (as you point out above) but it’s a pretty good start when you don’t have much else to go on.

      I’m not opposed to theoretical models, simulations, and constructs… those can also be useful, but they aren’t real. History is at least something that really happened (well, our records of what happened are imperfect too).

      • Major_Freedom says:

        Dude, if you say mental constructs are not real, then you can’t say history is real, because your mind is the only link you have to knowledge of history.

        There are some a priori mental constructs that are nevertheless empirical.

        Economic history is unique.

        The fact that economic history is observable, whereas mental constructs are not, does not mean economic history is on a “higher” epistemological plane than mental constructs. Not only is that a rather arbitrary assessment, if not bias, but the very concept of observation itself is a mental construct that is not derivable from observation (naturally). Observation is actually grounded on a priorism. That would put mental constructs as “higher” than economic history.

        And indeed that is precisely why economic history cannot be meaningful or coherent unless it is interpreted by a priori theory. When you observe economic history, you are, whether you realize it or not, carrying with you a particular theory that was settled before you even observed history. Without it, economic history would appear no clearer than a kaleidoscopic chaotic mess of random symbols.

        Some mental constructs are “really happening”, in the sense that they are purely empirical and mental at the same time. Constructing models is an activity, and activity is empirical. Activity is the bridge that connects mind and reality, or more accurately, activity is mind and empirical reality.

  13. skylien says:

    Imagine the hostage keeper is protected by a PPA. I am also sure that any contract with a PPA states that the contractual agreed protection terms only are valid if you don’t violate certain rules (like murdering, stealing, kidnapping etc…).

    1: Would a PPA really try to protect people who are obviously some kind of monster? Even if they had a ton of money that might not be a very good image maker should this ever become public…

    2: Couldn’t the PPA of the neighbors contact the hostage keeper’s PPA and either ask them to act on their own or if not demand a search warrant which would need to be granted by an independent arbitrator. Of course any such procedure will likely be defined in advance between such PPAs. You ask why would your PPA act in such a case in the first place? Aside the in my opinion very good reason for great publicity if they are correct, also as a neighbor of a kidnapper would definitely demand action of his PPA. How could he feel safe with such a neighbor? If they don’t act he will switch to a different PPA.

    • skylien says:

      forgot to delete the “as” at the end of the last paragraph..

  14. Bala says:

    I don’t know if I am right in reading it the way I am, but I find many people reading the “Private, Competing Police Services” in the title as “Private, Competing Police Forces”. As I see it, the issues get resolved if the focus is on the “services” rather than on the “forces”.

    • Tel says:

      It is amazing the way constant exposure to euphemisms changes the way people interpret what they read.

      Given the level of confusion, maybe you could explain what you see as the difference? Are you saying that private police “services” would never be able to use force? In which case, what do they do exactly?

      • Bala says:

        Police Services refers to the variety of services that would be provided to secure individual rights. The term “Police Forces”, however, conjures up images of organised systems to enforce the law. Even in the current situation, the answer to the question “What would a police service provider do?” would be different from the answer to the question “What would a Police Force do?’, especially if, in your mind, the Private Police Force is a mirror image of the current monopoly Police Force albeit with private ownership of the resources used.

        And I am not saying that private police “services” would never be able to use force. Instead, I am saying that the question is utterly redundant. The critical question is whether a private competing system of provision of a police service such as tracing a missing person is more likely than a monopoly provider of police services is to have incentives leading to successful and quicker tracing of said missing persons. Bob’s point in response to that question is a resounding YES.

        “In which case, what do they do exactly?”

        Many things like looking around for clues, gathering evidence leading to identification of the whereabouts of the missing person and working with other private police service providers towards identifying and rescuing the missing person. What that work would be would depend on the specifics of the case and would not exclude using force while fully cognizant of and ready to take on the risks of doing so.

  15. Joseph Fetz says:

    Has anybody checked to see if Bob is still alive?

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