Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What We Have Lost

If you haven't read Albert Jay Nock's classic Our Enemy The State, I recommend that you read it. One of the more interesting portions of the book is a discussion of how the State accumulates power at the expense of personal liberty, with an example. Nock wrote:
It is unfortunately none too well understood that, just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. All the power it has is what society gives it, plus what it confiscates from time to time on one pretext or another; there is no other source from which State power can be drawn. Therefore every assumption of State power, whether by gift or seizure, leaves society with so much less power; there is never, nor can there be, any strengthening of State power without a corresponding and roughly equivalent depletion of social power. 
Moreover, it follows that with any exercise of State power, not only the exercise of social power in the same direction, but the disposition to exercise it in that direction, tends to dwindle. Mayor Gaynor astonished the whole of New York when he pointed out to a correspondent who had been complaining about the inefficiency of the police, that any citizen has the right to arrest a malefactor and bring him before a magistrate. “The law of England and of this country,” he wrote, “has been very careful to confer no more right in that respect upon policemen and constables than it confers on every citizen.” State exercise of that right through a police force had gone on so steadily that not only were citizens indisposed to exercise it, but probably not one in ten thousand knew he had it.
That is where we stood in 1935 when Nock wrote his book.

Think of that while you read the article "Defending Innocent Life: A Perilous Choice At Best" at The Truth About Guns and the comments (particularly from those who believe the legal risk is too high to intervene and defend someone that is not a member of your family), and compare what will happen to you versus the suggested guidelines for handling an officer-involved shooting in "Lethal Aftermath – Are You a Second Class Citizen?" at Ammo Land. And I will add my own anecdote: in a conversation with an assistant city prosecutor several years ago, she indicated her belief that a person could not legally use force to expel a trespasser from his or her property, but was required to call the police. The point isn't whether she was correct or not, but that it shows the general attitude of many of those tasked with enforcing our laws.

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