Tag Archives: kenosha

The government was failing at law and order long before Kyle Rittenhouse was born

As of this writing, the news just broke that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in his Wisconsin trial. Let’s hope sanity prevails for a change following this verdict.

There has been a lot of ink spilled and warm air moved over this case. Both dominant political tribes have their story. The left are somehow painting this as a racial issue, even though all parties to the affair were caucasian. The right is saying the failure of law enforcement agencies under liberal political leadership led directly to Rittenhouse’s well-intentioned, if naive, attempt to protect  property.

That police being undermined by liberal mayors and governors has led to higher crime rates sounds plausible on its face, but it’s mostly fiction. First, it is not the job of the police to prevent crime. Philosophically, that proposition doesn’t work in a free society since by definition it constitutes using force against the innocent.

It doesn’t work in reality, either. It is physically impossible to put enough policemen on the street to be able to effectively stop crimes before they occur. And if it were possible, it would be a totalitarian nightmare. Not even the staunchest Back-the-Bluer would want to live in that world.

The measurable increase in crime over the past year probably has a lot more to do with the desperation and mental illness caused by the insane Covid-19 “mitigation” policies than it does with less policeman on the street (a decrease that is greatly exaggerated).

In any case, the government’s job isn’t to prevent crimes. It is to solve them after they’re committed and bring the perpetrators to justice. And to be honest, the government wasn’t even doing that very well before 2020. Less than half of violent crimes resulted in arrest and prosecution. For burglaries, arson, and thefts, the number dropped to 17%. This is while wrongfully convicting 10% of all people sentenced to death over the past fifty years.

That doesn’t mean every cop and prosecutor is evil or incompetent. On the contrary, most are probably ok. The problem is government. It isn’t good at law enforcement for the same reason the DMV isn’t good at regulating motor vehicles  and the Department of Education isn’t good at education. The incentives are all wrong.

Likewise, people in the private sector aren’t more noble or talented, but the incentives are right. If a person in the private sector produces a substandard product, they are punished. They suffer losses or lose their jobs. Failure in the private sector results in less funding to those who failed. The market says, “Stop sending money to this operation until it improves or is replaced by something better.”

But when the government fails, it receives more funding. “We just didn’t spend enough on what failed,” says the government, and for some reason people believe it.

That’s bass ackwards.

Conservatives just can’t seem to apply the very sound arguments they make against spending more on government education and healthcare to spending more on law enforcement or the military – not even after the 20-year debacle in Afghanistan was laid bare for all the world to see.

We do have an alternative to government when we’ve finally had enough failure and abuse. Read it for yourself here.

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Tom Mullen is the author of It’s the Fed, Stupid and Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?