Domestic Policy, Government

Abolish the Police, not the Policeman

Theodore Roosevelt as New York City Police Commissioner

If the police power is used oppressively, or improperly, let us by all means put a stop to the practice and punish those responsible for it; but let us remember that a brute will be just as much of a brute whether he is inefficient or efficient. Either abolish the police, or keep them at the highest point of efficiency.

The Works of Theodore Roosevelt (1917.) Scribner’s Mem. Ed. XXI, pg.73; Nat. Ed. XIX, pg. 63

After the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin case, I am republishing this article from 2020 on how Theodore Roosevelt might have approached the modern policing crisis. Unfortunately, the lessons still ring true even after a year.

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, this blunt observation of Theodore Roosevelt is particularly timely and provocative. As police commissioner of New York City, TR knew the difficulty of preserving the legitimacy of a police force in an ethnically diverse city.  Police corruption, whether in the form of bribery or brutishness, sapped that legitimacy and needed to be swiftly and certainly punished.  He also knew that such corruption often arose from systemic failures in society that were foisted on the average police officer to solve.  Whether the slogan is Roosevelt’s or today’s “defund the police” chant, any sustainable police reform movement must address these past policy failures.

The Militarization of Police Departments

After the 9/11 attacks, the federal government decided that every metropolitan police department needed to be prepared to deal with a terrorist attack. This ended a successful era of neighborhood policing based on increasing the number of police officers walking a beat or otherwise regularly connecting with city residents. Instead, cities stocked up on military-style equipment, which had the effect of separating the police from the public and glorified the use of force over early intervention. Hollywood then further glorified it through television shows like “SWAT” and a host of police buddy movies.  This resulted in a culture that ruled by fear instead of respect.  It is past time to reverse course and reinvent the policeman as a community problem solver and give him or her the necessary support and resources.  To do so, though, we must face another reality.

The Reduction in City Police Forces

The calls to abolish or reduce police forces are gratingly ironic in light of Bureau of Justice Statistics showing that two-thirds of the 50 major police departments reduced the number of officers per capita over the last two decades.  Smaller police forces were cheaper because of the lower personnel cost, as opposed to riot gear and other equipment that do not demand employee benefits. We cannot implement neighborhood policing without more policeman, which requires more funding, and soon.

It is equally ironic that the relevant model may be the “surge” in military force that temporarily pacified Afghanistan and Iraq.  The federal government should fund a similar surge in the number of city police over the next ten years subject to strict rules to insure it results in more and better-trained officers on the beat. Cities would then be expected to pick up the funding for this increase afterwards.  Accepting the higher federal and local taxes necessary to achieve this more humane and sustainable form of policing would be the most concrete way to show our commitment to remedying past police abuse of poor minority communities.  However, even this change will be insufficient if we neglect another crisis in law enforcement.

The Expansion of Criminal Law

Roosevelt’s police force was plagued by bribery caused by the attempt to enforce Sunday blue laws that were deeply unpopular among poor immigrants and which he personally opposed. Today’s police officers are asked to not only keep order, but also enforce a myriad of new financial and economic rules.  George Floyd was being arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, which is a federal, not local, crime.  Eric Garner of New York died while being arrested for failing to pay the state cigarette tax. If the police become identified with laws that have little legitimacy in their communities, they will inevitably face resistance and a lack of cooperation in enforcing other laws.  Many cities already refuse to assist in enforcing the federal immigration laws in order to encourage illegal immigrants to cooperate with police in preventing violent crime. 

The accretion of federal, state and local criminal laws over the years has placed all of law enforcement in an increasingly untenable position. All levels of government should conduct a thorough review of their criminal codes with the goal of either repealing minor criminal statutes, converting them to civil violations or developing new enforcement methods.  Local police could then return to enforcing laws that preserve neighborhoods rather than disrupt them.

Conclusion

For most of this year, our nation has been concentrating on breathing freely by avoiding the coronavirus.  Both the yearning to reopen and the George Floyd protests show that breathing freely is not enough for Americans. We must also be able to breathe free. Resisting arrest is never excusable, but resistance will occur more frequently if Americans believe they are not free.  Blaming the police without examining the policy failures that affect all of us regardless of color will only sow the seeds of more resistance and a less efficient police force.

Domestic Policy, Immigration

Time for Action, not Evasion

An old proverb advises there are two things decent people should never see being made –  laws and sausages. Both processes can be disgusting to watch.  Immigration legislation certainly falls into that category. For example, the crisis at the border should be focusing the attention of Congress on immigration enforcement and border control issues.  Instead, globalist Democrats and some Republicans in the House of Representatives sent two bills to the Senate with the transparent objective of avoiding the duty to enact any meaningful reform by creating two sets of amnesties.  This allows them to side-step the controversial, but necessary immigration limitation and enforcement issues.  The goal of legalizing some long – time immigrant residents is laudable and necessary, but should be part of comprehensive immigration reform.  

The first bill (HR 6) is the American Dream and Promise Act, which would legalize the so-called Dreamers, though it would extend this protection far beyond those currently covered by the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and associated programs. Currently, only those children who entered the United States without authorization prior to June 15, 2012 (and their parents) are covered by DACA and associated prosecution deferral programs. HR 6 would extend the program to cover 3 million children, including children of other visa holders that ordinarily would be required to leave.  Many of these are deserving of relief, but it again should be part of a comprehensive bill. 

The second bill is more problematic. The Farm Worker Modernization Act (HR 1603) would allow up to 1.5 million farmworkers who have worked without authorization for up to 10 years to obtain temporary status and the opportunity to attain a green card and then obtain other employment.  It would also grant amnesty to the employers who illegally employed them. The main saving grace of the bill is that it would require farm employers to use E-verify for their workers in the future.  It also updates the visa programs for farm workers and strengthens protections for their wages and working conditions. 

Again, both of these bills could be appropriate ways to bring these workers out of the darkness and give them the fundamental rights they need.  However, the Senate should not take up either bill now until it considers a comprehensive immigration bill with effective limitations and enforcement mechanisms. I  urge you to write or e-mail your state’s senators to ask them to table or vote against the two bills until it considers such a comprehensive bill.   

China, Defense Policy, Foreign Policy, Nationalist Theory, Politics

The Debut of New Nationalism News

Today marks the beginning of a new feature of this website called New Nationalism News, which will curate stories from the last week that illustrate world nationalism and the strategies American nationalism should use in response.  To those of you who are familiar with the RealClearPolitics site (www.realclearpolitics.com), think of this as RealClearNationalism.  You can also follow these posts in real time by joining the associated Facebook and Twitter sites where they are also posted. Simply click on the buttons on the bottom and then follow my New American Nationalism Facebook page or join my Twitter feed.  Please feel free to suggest articles for the week as well.  

This weeks stories illustrate the increasing nationalism in Asia and especially in China.  I provide a short introduction to each for better reference and to give you my interpretation of their significance. 

While US and Western globalists tout international fraternity, Asia is requiring its citizens to reject transnational ties and choose the nationalism of their countries instead.

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/asia-dual-citizenship-intl-hnk-dst/?utm_medium=40digest.7days3.20210315.rank&utm_source=email&utm_content=&utm_campaign=campaign

Meanwhile, China has built the largest navy in the world.  TR would understand the significance of this to our allies in Asia and have nothing but cutting insults for liberal globalists who suggest cutting the defense budget. https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/05/china/china-world-biggest-navy-intl-hnk-ml-dst/index.html

In contrast to the Biden Administration, China refuses to sacrifice its growth goals on the altar of the Paris Accord.  As the article points out, this will allow them to increase emissions through 2030 and practically prevent achievement of effective CO reductions.  Adaptation must become the most important element of our response.https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-06/china-s-top-leaders-leave-tough-climate-decisions-to-bureaucrats?srnd=premium

The final story for today is about how China is diversifying its imports of critical materials to allow it to use trade as a weapon.  In particular, it is concentrating on sourcing its imports from fellow autocratic regimes. The US needs to pay more attention to its supply chains of raw materials as well.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/18/china-is-building-up-its-ability-to-weaponize-trade-new-report-says.html?utm_medium=40digest.7days3.20210318.rank&utm_source=email&utm_content=&utm_campaign=campaign