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Over the last week, the New York City Police Department thought they really had their community by the balls. All those ingrates bitching about police violence and intrusion into their lives — boy, they were really gonna see the truth! The NYPD decided to go on a quasi-strike. Oh, they’re still collecting paychecks, but the arrest rate dropped 66% overall. And since they’re negotiating their new contracts — weeeeell, now deBlasio and company will have to do their bidding.

Except…

The city didn’t descend into chaos. By not going after “broken windows” offense like public drinking, vagrancy, and vandalism, not only has New York not fallen to pieces, but the lives of many of its poorer residents has improved (many of whom sit in jail because they can’t afford to pay harassment fines or court costs.) Tensions between the citizens and police have stabilized because they aren’t being busted, or frisked, for no reason at all.

This isn’t the first time that de-escalation and a more away from legislating every damned thing people do has worked. In Acapulco, the police went on strike– traffic improved, and violence decreased. The military decided to take it a step further and disarm them. Now they’re begging for their jobs back.

The legalization of marijuana in Colorado has led to a decrease in murder in Denver by fifty percent! This is no surprise to historians familiar with the end of Prohibition in 1934. when you stop making things illegal, by definition you get less crime. When small acts like having a joint don’t lead to SWAT raids, you have happier and safer people…and wasn’t that the point of government? To secure our liberty and happiness?

One German town got rid of traffic lights and regulations. Traffic didn’t just improve — it got faster and safer. Even in terms of driving, market solutions — where people create the rules ad hoc and obey them because it’s more effective — work. Imagine how much freer and better life would be if you weren’t (unwittingly) breaking an average of three laws a day. Imagine what might happen if places allowed competition with the police — private security could do the same work as the police, but would be open to civil and criminal prosecutions for malfeasance…and without the power of the state and unions to protect bad apples, the people could be more assured these entities would do their jobs, or lose their contracts.

But the law isn’t written to protect you, but to monetize you for the state. The police, they are not really there to protect you or your property, as a recent court case in Chicago infamously found…they are there to intimidate and shake you down for money for the local governments.

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