Defunding The Police Reminds Me of The French Revolution
Recent protestors across the nation and some leftists in some city governments have promoted the defunding of police departments. They appear to be pushing a continuation of the desires of the 44th President of the United States to “fundamentally transform” the country. Somehow, “tearing down the system,” as the leftist groups call it, includes defunding the police departments. I am not sure how to address crime in America with poorly funded police departments. I am reminded of the history of France when they wanted to tear down their system, and they stormed a prison and released the prisoners. In some ways, the present-day policy of no requirement for bail money is similar to opening the prison gates. Open borders policy also seems to fit nicely with this rhetoric of tearing down the system, for a country with no borders is not a country. With little or no police force and no Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE, does one live in a nation?
Here is a brief timeline to consider regarding France. They stormed the Bastille Prison in 1789. They literally chopped off the head of their King in 1793, and by 1804 they were ruled by a tyrannical emperor set on global domination. The very freedom they tried to achieve could not be held on to, without the rule of law, stewarded by virtuous souls. As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
The philosopher Aristotle stated, “Nature abhors a vacuum.” So, if we are not ruled by law, then we must be ruled by men. Something must fill the vacuum once the rule of law is removed. Once a man or a relatively small group of men consolidate the power to rule over the masses, we must pray they are virtuous, for we will be at their mercy.
Some of Lord Acton’s quotes seem applicable here:
- “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
- “Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.”
- “The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern.”
Thomas Paine pondered on America’s governance compared to that of the Greeks and Romans. In his work titled The American Crisis, he wrote:
“Greece and Rome are frequently held up as objects of excellence and imitation. … We do great injustice to ourselves by placing them in such a superior line. We have no just authority for it; neither can we tell why it is that we should suppose ourselves inferior.”
Had it not been for America, there had been no such thing as freedom left throughout the whole universe.
Paine continued. “America has summoned a greater variety and combination of difficulties, than, I believe, ever fell to the share of any one people, in the same space of time, and has replenished the world with more useful knowledge and sounder maxims of civil government than were ever produced in any age before. Had it not been for America, there had been no such thing as freedom left throughout the whole universe. … The Grecians and Romans were strongly possessed of the spirit of liberty but not the principle, for, at the time that they were determined not to be slaves themselves, they employed their power to enslave the rest of mankind. A good opinion of ourselves is exceedingly necessary in our private life, but absolutely necessary in public life, and of the utmost importance in supporting national character. I have no notion of yielding the palm of the United States to any Grecians or Romans that were ever born. ”If Mr. Paine were alive today, he would no doubt find inferior the government systems used by the Chinese, Russians, and any of the despots the Democrats and Marxists idolize.
The rebuttal of the radical Left is that the founding of America was illegitimate due to the fact many of her leaders were slave owners. The Left is promoting the tearing down of the system and erasing history rather than trying to improve the existing system. Again, Paine, one of the most radical thinkers of his day, wrote of people opposed to the American Revolution, and his description of his enemies describes the enemies we are presently facing. “We are not contending against an army of soldiers, but against a band of thieves, who had rather plunder than fight and have no other hope of conquest than by cruelty. … The necessity of always fitting our internal police to the circumstances of the times we live in, is something so strikingly obvious, that no sufficient objection can be made against it. The safety of all societies depends upon it, and where this point is not attended to, the consequences will be a general languor or a tumult. The encouragement and protection of the good subjects of any state, and the suppression and punishment of bad ones, are the principal objects for which all authority is instituted.”