A different coworker jokingly followed up that conversation with a comment, “People might think you're a Muslim, you hate pigs so much.” Which, while hilarious, was cause for contemplation. Do I hate cops? I mean, I'm an anarchist, so clearly the idea of laws and enforcers raises my hackles. But do I hate cops? Cops, like everyone else, are individuals living out their lives... so, as people, I would have to get to know each one individually before determining whether or not I hate them as a person.
Looking at the psychology of what would entice one into becoming a cop would likely illuminate the situation. In the interest of determining the truth of the matter, I will try to give everyone the benefit of a doubt. From people I know and stories I've read, many people who become cops do so “for the right reasons”. They want to protect the weak from criminals, want to protect society from the chaos of lawlessness, they want to carry on the family tradition, and they want to help those that can't help themselves. It seems that the origin of these desires would be the warrior spirit and inculturation. The warrior spirit drives men to pursue virtue, lead others, and protect one's community. The state has, in a history of calculated genius, always attempted to monopolize the ability to fulfill that telos. Within the confines of the state, in order to pursue the warrior's path, one must become a soldier in service of the state. All other options are either outlawed or regulated out of existence. Before you tell yourself, “Wait, I thought he was talking about cops, not the military,” the only categorical distinction betwixt the two (and now, even a superficial one, given the equipment and “authority” they employ) is who they are aimed at. Military for citizens of other nations, cops for citizens of the same nation. When a young man has the warrior spirit burning within his chest and a DARE officer comes to his class and he watches G.I Joe on TV, it is only natural that they would pursue such a career; all other options for fulfilling that telos have been eliminated by the state.
These intelligent, driven, and virtuous men become cops. Unfortunately, helping protect the weak from the strong, protecting the community, and generally doing the warrior thing are not the only items in the job description. To be honest, I don't even think that these are in the handbook, let alone the job description. These good people are trained, take an oath, put on a badge, and set out to do good. Their intention does not match their actions. The moral reality is such that one cannot both be a good person and be a good cop: one is a good cop at the expense of being a good person and vice versa.
What makes a cop a cop? A cop is a law enforcement officer. Contained within that statement is all of the material I have and likely ever will write about anarchy. Fore example, it contains the question “what is a law?” amongst many others. This question, though, is one that needs to be addressed in part, right here. Many of my friends have brought up laws of physics (aka: natural law) in discussions with regards to the tragedy of enforcement. There is little that can be said to deny that the universe has a natural order to it; gravity works, things live and die, the universal speed limit is 299,792,458 meters per second, and the lowest thermostat setting is 0° K. All in all, it seems logically consistent and can easily encompass the metaphysical. We call this whole of natural order “natural law”.
Of course, even the most staunchly Thomist theologian will deny a claim that God just sat in the clouds and wrote: “Article 1, Section 1, Paragraph 1: No particle shall travel at a velocity exceeding 299,792,458 meters per second. Any particle found exceeding such a velocity shall be charged with a misdemeanor...” In all reality, natural law is either a brute fact or an expression of the logically consistent nature of the divine. We use the phrase “natural law” allegorically, applying our common experience of the irresistible and pervasive desires of a king to our common experience of the irresistible and pervasive pull of gravity. This allegorical use of language is one-way. One can say that the natural order of things is similar to the laws of man, but the laws of man bear only a superficial resemblance to the natural order.
This one-way comparison is such due to one simple element: enforcement. Jesus and/or Carl Sagan don't sit in a heavenly courtroom, sentencing those pesky neutrinos for speeding and anti-gravitons for obstructing the law. The natural order simply is. Every aspect of the material world simply behaves in a consistent manner, despite how much one may wish it to be otherwise. The laws of man, on the other hand, only exist insofar as there is a man willing to enforce it. One can argue that moral maxims are a part of the natural order. I do. For example, “Thou shalt not murder,” seems to naturally fall out of a rational understanding of the nature of the human person. For one to recognize and pronounce such a truth is to do a service to all men. However, to say, “Thou shalt not murder, or a man funded by public theft will hunt you down and lock you in a theft-funded cage for the rest of your theft-funded life (or, just kill you if he's having a bad day)” is a crime. As will be addressed in future posts, the law of man is nothing more than an opinion backed by a gun.
Unfortunately for the good people who become cops, a law enforcement officer is that gun backing the opinion. Rather than protecting the weak from the strong, in becoming a cop one makes the strong stronger and the weak weaker. Whether it be a king demanding taxes, a representative setting an arbitrary speed limit, the democrats demanding Socrates' death, or a mafioso selling “insurance”, the only way such a goal is accomplished is by way of armed enforcers. One who has internalized slave morality in its totality may say, “I pay my taxes voluntarily, I follow laws to uphold the social contract, and when a cop pulls me over I comply because I clearly fucked up.” The stark reality, though, is one of armed coercion. What happens if one chooses to disregard the opinion being enforced? If one fails to pay their property tax, will not cops come and tell him to leave their own property? If one refuses to have their land stolen, will he not be locked in a cage or shot? If one disregards the opinion that he has to drive 65 MPH on the open road or that he must stop for a car with flashing plastic lights, will he not wind up dead on the side of the road?
The truth of the matter is that every interaction one has with the law is one of coercion. If you don't do as you are told, regardless of the moral quality of your actions, a cop can kill or cage you. This reveals one more reason why one could make a rational choice to become a cop. If one is intelligent enough to discover this truth, but lack the moral compass that many posses, they may want to become a cop. If one has few marketable skills, self-esteem issues, violent tendencies, and no scruples being paid with stolen money, there is a particular form of welfare available to these people, called law enforcement. One doesn't need to look far to see evidence to bolster this claim.
I've brought up stolen money twice now. All I mean by it is that all forms of government payroll and protection are welfare, including police “authority” and paychecks. Welfare is stealing from those deemed “too well off” in order to give it to those who have been deemed unable to care for themselves.
So, do I hate cops? Yes, but only in the same way I hate all criminals. That is to say, all of the rules outlined in the post titled “What is the State of War?” apply no more or less to cops than any other person (http://madphilosopher.weebly.com/blog/what-is-the-state-of-war). I don't hate them as people, I'm sure they're generally nice, good natured, and virtuous people... when they aren't committing crimes in the name of the king. It's simply tragic that they find themselves daily caught in the balance between paying the bills and being a good person.
TL;DR: A man cannot both be a good person and a good cop. Insofar as he is one, it is at the expense of the other. Every action a cop takes is done in a manner that is backed by the threat of death or imprisonment. This makes all cops criminals. I have already made my opinions on criminals clear.