Saturday, October 15, 2011

How Archy Handles Heinous Crime III: Default

This week the US power establishment revealed a new tool for dealing with heinous crimes that initially had me shaking my head but eventually asking why this should be a surprise to anyone.

Any small-government conservative or libertarian will tell you that government is necessary to protect people and property: protection of people and property is government's primary responsibility, and government, and only government, can do it. But now one polity has walked away from this responsibility, and there's every reason to believe that others will soon follow.

It seems that the city of Topeka, Kansas, no longer has enough money to prosecute perpetrators of domestic violence. So the city fathers have came up with a great idea for solving the problem: they repealed the statutes outlawing domestic violence. No solution, no problem!

The "good news" is that domestic violence is illegal in that county, so perps can still be prosecuted under county statutes. But the bad news there is that the county doesn't have the money to prosecute them either.

I'm not a good lateral thinker, so I can only come up with two ways domestic violence will be handled in Topeka, absent the resources to prosecute: either those accused will be put in jail and wait forever for trial, or they will simply be released. In the former case, simple accusation will be the equivalent of conviction; if you don't like someone, you can come up with a believable accusation of domestic violence, and he might never get out of jail, depending on what the powers that be deem expedient. In the latter case, even the most obviously guilty perps will be set free to continue their depredations. Either way, it's not anarchy, but it certainly is chaos.

The irony, of course, is that while the prosecutors and judges won't prosecute domestic violence cases, they will be plenty busy prosecuting those whose activities, according to the Bible, are nobody's business but their own: druggies (including purveyors of raw milk?), prostitutes and their customers, and owners of "assault weapons," to say nothing of people who exceed posted speed limits on empty roads and creep through empty intersections without stopping at stop signs. And the schools, libraries, parks, counseling centers, and other distributors of "entitlements" will continue apace.

As the currency is inflated (by our current archy), people's buying power diminishes, which means they patronize fewer businesses, which in turn hire fewer employees, who then patronize fewer businesses, and the cycle continues. All this results in reduced tax revenues, which means that government has to cut back on its "services." The government of Topeka is not facing the need to redefine essential government functions alone.

The fundamental question for any society is, "Who gets what at what expense to whom?" In a free society, the answer is, "You can have anything you want and can persuade someone to give you voluntarily." The answer in any political system is, "You get what those in power consider expedient to give you, and you give them whatever they consider expedient to extract"; that is, might makes right, or at least it makes policy, and justice is incidental.

So which services get cut, as with which services are provided, is always a product of political expediency. If more voters benefit from schools than from prosecuting a perpetrators of violence, law enforcement will be cut and the money will go to the schools.

As the economy continues its collapse, the Topeka syndrome will spread, and with it government at all level becoming increasingly chaotic, showing itself to be Bastiat's "fiction by which everyone seeks to live at everyone else's expense" keeping itself in power by buying votes through promises to dispense entitlements, and less an agency decent people look to for the maintenance of order.

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