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What is the biggest illusion of civilized society?


That police officers and lawyers do good. They do not. They do not protect the good guys from the bad guys. They protect the bad guys from the good guys.

With local law enforcement, they appear to do good, because they are in fact keeping the peace; they are getting cats out of trees, pulling over speeding motorists, and the like. But they are not doing good. Almost all of the time, the problems they are addressing are self-generated, being by-products of mistaken policies that they themselves are responsible for keeping in existence.

In my limited experience, police officers are not bad people and are actually well-meaning. They tend to use what little discretion they have in a manner that they believe to be just. But, sadly, they merely enforce laws, and 95% of the time, those laws are not good.

As for other branches of law enforcement, the FBI and DEA, for example, they are enormously destructive. If your child is kidnapped, there is a literally a 0% chance that the FBI will find them before they are dead. Why? Because there is a 0% that they will try. (Local police will give it the old college try, although their success-rate with that sort of crime is equally totally bad.) But if somebody spray paints an ‘offensive’ epithet on the side of back-alley dumpster, there will be thirty of them at the scene within hours.

They are excellent at breaking up gambling operations and tax-evasion schemes, and they are giants when it comes to preventing the trafficking of unstamped cigarettes across state lines. But when it comes to dealing with actual crime, their success-rate is pretty much zero.

As for the DEA, their greatest accomplishment is seeing to it that over a million people were collectively sentenced to over 500 million years in jail for non-criminal activity.

No civilization can survive without laws and without police. But most of the laws and law-enforcement agents that we have now do more harm than good.

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