Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Ragged Bill of Sale

When the otherwise meretricious, obsequious DoJ releases a report that basically confirms everything Radley Balko's been working on for the past several years, I worry. If that's all the news that's fit to print, imagine the emanations and penumbras.Just how much was redacted?

The jurisprudence of anti-trust legislation is something like this: protected monopolies can get away with treating customers abhorrently because shoppers have no recourse, no alternatives. Therefore, some sort of state oversight is required to prevent abuse.

Nowhere is this analysis more apt than in the monopoly provision of violence. If your local PD is an overbearing nuisance, there's precious little you can do about it. They enjoy powerful de facto if not robust de jure protection against both criminal and civil action. Unless you're willing (and unconstrained by wealth limitations) to move to another jurisdiction, you are obliged to accept the transaction that the constituency has made on your behalf. Your regrets are immaterial, even if your family pet lies in a shallow backyard grave, even if your grandfather was gunned down in the middle of a no-knock raid at the wrong address, even if your toddler was seared by a flashbang grenade.

DoJ oversight is one technology to prevent the abuse of local tax- and forfeiture-funded banditry. But it ain't the only one.

Also of interest, picture for a moment the iterated game theory here. How does the sovereign benefit from this report? Consider carefully your answer.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?