This image is a powerful one. It’s caused bit of a weird polarization. It’s been a dynamic of “down with the police!” and “protest police brutality.” My thoughts are summed up pretty well as follows.
Are there problems in law enforcement? Yep. Are all police bad? Nope. Are there abuses of power? Absolutely.
Those questions apply to anything and everything because…people. Laws and the enforcement of those laws is essential in a civilization our size.
In early civilizations, when the social contract was no more than a hundred or so people, it was different. You could maintain the social contract purely for reasons of survival. They still, however, had tribal elders to maintain the law, serving the law enforcement function.
In society today, we’re far too large for a tribal social contract, and we have far less reason to follow it, as survival really isn’t much of an issue in the first world. Because of this, we need to appoint larger numbers of people to enforce the law, and have more diverse laws. This is essential for the social contract to be maintained in the modern world.
Will there be problems because of this? Of course. Does that make it any less necessary? Absolutely not.
We SHOULD protest and monitor abuses. That’s the duty of any ethical citizen. Throwing out law enforcement, however, is short sited at best, though most appropriately, wantonly ignorant of history and how society works.
Contributor: Robert Sacerich
Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.
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