Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

A few weeks ago, when the Ferguson, Missouri, protests were well underway, a few crucial facts emerged from the tumult.

A graph showed that Ferguson led the state — by a wide margin — in arrests per capita.

While it’s true that Ferguson could be that much more violent and criminal than every other city in the state, somehow that possibility doesn’t seem very plausible.

When we learned that “86 percent of stops, 92 percent of searches and 93 percent of arrests were of black people — despite the fact that police officers were far less likely to find contraband on black drivers (22 percent versus 34 percent of whites)” … well, the whole thing stank of something other than a mere crime problem.

It’s a policing problem.

And, of course, a “war on drugs” problem.

Another fact, from the same source: “Ferguson receives nearly one-quarter of its revenue from court fees; for some surrounding towns it approaches 50 percent.”

No way to run a government. Journalists and activists call such regimes “for-profit policing,” and cite the rise in civil forfeiture practices as encouraging and solidifying the method.

But “for-profit” is a bit of a misnomer.

It’s more like rapine (an old word you might most often see paired with “pillage”) than “for-profit.” It’s a looting system, while “for-profit” suggests selling a service freely on the market and earning rewards for filling consumer needs. Ferguson basically engages in shaking down a population of people, repeatedly profiling and harassing them, extracting as much of their wealth as can be had —  Frédéric Bastiat’s “legal plunder” comes to mind — and leaves them to … protest, later.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Rick says:

    Looks like the root word there is “rape”. Totally appropriate.

    They should regain control of their city. Time will tell if they can run it but they should regain control and become represented. Kind of like what’s happening in Scotland, Catalonia, Venice. The government fails to represent and it is totally appropriate for Scotland, Catalonia, Venice and more to revolt and form their own government. Just like states should continue to push back from the Feds and regain control of education, medicare, etc, etc.

    Remember “Taxation without representation…”?

  2. JFB says:

    There should be no means by which a government can profit, or even produce revenues, by harassment of its citizens or the population generally. The moral hazard is too great.
    Imagine the effect of a system where the police and courts could not be enhanced by forfeiture and ordinance violations. Where there were no “inspection fees” or license fees.
    The incentives and the dynamics would be totally different, and bettered.

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