Keeping the Peace

  • July 15, 2023

If police concerned themselves exclusively with keeping the peace – that is to say, dealing with people who have caused harm to others or their property – then no one who isn’t a criminal would ever have to deal with them. Would not have any reason to fear them.

As it ought to be.

It’s not as it ought to be, because “offenses” have replaced crimes – and “crimes” now encompass “offenses” against the state.

These range from the petty to the serious. Examples of the former include traffic “violations” – which are considered “offenses.” You are issued a piece of paper demanding money as punishment – for what? For having offended the authority of the state.

The same goes for serious “offenses.”

If the state charges you with a “crime” that is in fact just another offense writ large, the attending paperwork will so describe the facts. The indictment will read: The state of (insert here) vs. John Smith. It is a confession before the proceedings even begin that there is probably no victim; i.e., no human being who has been harmed by the accused.

But the proceedings proceed, regardless.

This is bizarre, even hallucinatory. If no one has been harmed, then what is the offense? More finely, is it not an offense – a crime, properly speaking – to harm people (as by fining, indicting, prosecuting and jailing) people who’ve not caused any harm?

Consider what goes on in traffic court as a case-in-point:

You are called before the judge. The charge is read. You are accused of, let us say, “speeding.” This offense is defined in law as exceeding by even 1 mile-per-hour whatever the statute says the “speed limit” is.

You are already damned – assuming you are “guilty” of having driven even 1-mile-per-hour faster than whatever the “speed limit” is. The only legally relevant question is: Did you – or did you not – drive faster than whatever the “speed limit” is?

Not whether anyone was harmed. Whether there is a victim or even a  plaintiff (other than the government).

You can question the witness against you – who is the government agent who issued the so-called “ticket” and whose version of events is taken at face value as true (whereas your version is “hearsay”). What cannot be questioned is whether it matters that the state has produced no victim of the alleged “offense” – beyond the state, itself.

And the nature of that offense is solely that its authority was affronted – its rules (“statutes”) disobeyed.  Put more finely, it is irrelevant – legally – that you caused no one any harm. It is no defense. And it can be conceded in open court.

It does not matter.

The only thing that does – as far as “the law” is concerned – is whether the facts support the accusation that you transgressed the rules. It is a game – played by pedants with degrees most of us lack, organized by the pedants to render us largely helpless before its arcane procedural legerdemain.

It is the same with the higher “crimes,” too.

The state will assert – in its indictment – that you have done (or not done) something the state posits as “the law.” It does not matter whether “the law” is right – morally speaking, which would be (again) defined by the fact (or its lack) of someone who has been harmed in some way by the actions of the accused.

All that matters is whether “the law” was “violated.” It is like “violating” the rules of a children’s board game, except the consequences are often much more serious than paying a fine of $50 – in Monopoly money – before you roll the dice on either of your next two turns.

These consequences include the potential that you will be assaulted – perhaps murderously – by one of the state’s agents. They are styled “police” but this is disingenuous in that rather than policing they are enforcing. Their primary job, in plain language, is not to keep the peace. It is to actively seek out people who have “violated” a “statute” or committed a “crime” – irrespective of their peaceful actions.

And this is why they are a threat – implicit as well as actual – to the vast majority of peaceful people, who are not criminals in any moral sense. It is why people who’ve done nothing to cause harm to anyone – and know it – are nonetheless uneasy and often alarmed when they see one of these enforcers behind them or beside them. It is easy enough to understand why, for they know that the enforcer could gin up an excuse – there is always an excuse when there are so many “laws” and “statutes” and when innocence of having caused any harm is no defense – to “pull them over” and possibly, worse.

It is a kind of Jungian collective conscious instinctive affirmation of the understood danger of the situation.

This danger would disappear at a stroke if the “police,” as they are styled, were replaced by keepers-of-the-peace.  And these would not even need to be “official.” It could simply be every man who is willing and able to act defensively when the need for such arises. Those who fret that such would engender abuses sidestep the officialized abuse of “police,” which is systematic and far worse. They also forget to to remember that, in a moral society, it would be considered a crime to abuse anyone – that being defined as threatening to or actually harming someone who had not harmed anyone.

It it will take a kind of Great Reset – of consciousness as well as conscience – for this transition to take place.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t.

. . .

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