Don’t just abolish the police

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve slowly come to realize something –  the government is a pointless entity. These people in positions of power are not only a waste of taxpayer money, but they also are a huge source of harm. The government’s net value to society is negative – not even net neutral, which would have been more acceptable. The reasons I am going to lay out in a bit are both shocking and depressing because if being ruled by a government is wrong, what is the right way to live? I know if my dad were to read this blog, he would say, “Government systems have prevailed for a long time. That definitely means there is some form of benefit to them. People are not dumb. Can you even imagine a world without laws and regulations?” To this I say, we have never been able to break free of the bounds of the status quo. We all go through life riding the system, rarely ever questioning if everything we know is truly right. Thinking of an alternative, and on top of that, executing this alternative, persuading people, and instituting change is far too much effort. We just learn to suck up our fears and feelings of injustice because the system in question is much too large and ingrained in the human psyche to change. 

In “The Color of Choice – White Supremacy and Reproductive Justice” from The Color of Violence, Loretta J. Ross makes a powerful statement:

“Fears of being numerically and politically overwhelmed by people of color bleach meaning from any alternative interpretations of the constellation of population control policies that restrict immigration by people of color, encourage sterilization and contraceptive abuse by people of color, and incarcerate upwards of 2 million people, the vast majority of whom are people of color.”

Ross forwards the argument that people of color are intentionally excluded from the population. Commonly read authors and activists emphasize the exclusion of POC from decision-making seats, and their writing makes the exclusion appear as an unfortunate consequence of uninformed choices. However, Ross’ text is striking because she explicitly highlights the intentional attempt to decrease the numbers of POC bodies in our country. She pushes the idea that non-POC crave a nation without people unlike them. 

Immigration, sterilization/contraceptive use, and incarceration – who is in charge of these things? Individuals making decisions for the rest of the population – the government. I used to have a very idealistic mindset that every decision the government makes is a good one. Every law is for the best of the people, and the government can never cause harm. These optimistic thoughts were a result of our school system’s teachings, including that the government is divided into 3 branches to avoid abuses of power and to make sure decisions are made with the people’s best interest in mind. Our K-12 schooling never bothered to teach us about voices that don’t get a say in these 3 branches.

The priorities of our country are misnumbered. We focus on things like trade wars, creating/scaling conflicts outside our country, and building an economy supporting the top 1%. What about building better school systems, economic empowerment programs, and healthcare systems for the rest 99%? What about helping the woman who is battered every night by her husband and continues going to work with bruises to feed her family? Who is helping them? This is the problem with a decision-making body that isn’t composed of people that know what it’s like to be on the outside, to not have a piece of the pie that keeps them healthy. Especially in a democratic system, only individuals with access to resources, campaign managers, sufficient capital, and a relatively privileged lifestyle will be able to successfully run for office. Growing up poor means you don’t have the same capital that your competitors have, so no one hears your name nor votes you in. The damning outcome of this is that low income people have no representation, leading to laws which are never made with their interests in mind. Other interests are prioritized. What is the message of this system? Not only are your wants as a poor person discardable, but so is your life (highlighted even more by the current pandemic – low-income minorities are the ones disproportionately affected). 

The central issue with any form of governance is that some people are deemed more worthy than others. If we take the most basic example, the president’s extensive security system, this becomes abundantly clear. The value of the president’s life is greater than any civilian. His security force is expected to lay down their lives for his safety. This level of a strict hierarchy in living importance is abhorrent. The idea dictating that the president deserves to live more than someone else has no natural basis. Unsurprisingly, the starting point for this system is that one human life is greater than another. Not only is this framework morally arbitrary, but it is created by those at the top. 

The homogeneous demographic of our governing system – from

Our ruling party decides on the basis of the birth lottery who deserves a better quality of life. If you are born poor or are an immigrant, no one cares that your neighborhood doesn’t have a proper education system. No one cares that the rate of students that dropout of high school is triple that of a wealthy district. But your government does care about spending time on crafting and discarding immigration laws every couple years, giving reproductive rights then rolling it back, and constantly debating the cost of healthcare. These useless discussions and debates do nothing positive for the general well being of the population.

The general lack of purpose of the extensive legal system became clear to me through my time with Sanctuary. I’ve been attending the orientations for legal interns at Sanctuary for a couple weeks. In these presentations, everyday there are new topics and their legal backgrounds discussed. Sessions explained things such as the laws governing divorce, child custody, immigration rights, and cybersexual safety. It bothers me a little more everyday that the laws behind these subjects are so complex. There are loopholes and difficult, unclear language that a lay person would never understand. The difference in utility between legal standards such as “clear and convincing evidence” and “preponderance of the evidence” appear randomly assigned and even change from time to time. The entire basis of the legal industry was created to leave out everyone except those who spend years learning law. This is problematic for two reasons: first, we once again make it near impossible for people to defend themselves properly, they are dependent on a third party, and if they can’t afford a skilled third party, they are already behind; second, the purpose of these legalities and specificities are self-assigned. There is no purpose to keep an extensive legal system that people have to swim through to, for example, achieve citizenship or be allowed to live in a country. 

The social contract dictates that we give up some rights and liberties for the protection of the government. If the government fails to provide this protection to a large body of individuals, they are not fulfilling their duty, and therefore, we have no reason to submit to a ruling party. 

\Stay tuned for next week’s blog which will include the moral reasoning to select a world without rulers and what this alternative looks like!

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