Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Martial Law

Listening even to a few minutes of cable news is enough to make me despair of American democracy.  Today, obviously, the topic was the tragic execution of two NYPD officers by a psychopath.  And the immediate politicization of that act.

Josh Marshall strikes to the heart of the troubling problem demonstrated here.  The police are public servants who feel themselves immune to the public they serve.  They see the populace - especially the black populace - as an enemy that must be subdued.  And this creates tensions, especially when a mayor like De Blasio basically points out this tension and gets eviscerated in the media by the police union head.

I would and have argued that police need a strong sense of legitimacy to do their jobs well.  Most white people feel the police are legitimate, so they usually comply with police requests (unless they're libertarians).  If police lose that sense of legitimacy, their jobs become much harder and what's more they become more dangerous.

I am putting myself squarely in the "I want fewer dead people" camp.  That includes kids with BB guns and police officers sitting in their squad car.  I don't distinguish.

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