How Totalitarianism Begins, by Andrew P. Napolitano

Does the federal government have to allow cities to go to hell in a hand basket if they so choose? Andrew Napolitano argues that it does, that it has no role to play in local law enforcement. From Napolitano at

“The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own consciences.” — C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)

Serious issues are implicating personal liberty and public safety in Portland, Oregon. The police are not enforcing local and state laws. They are refraining from doing so because they have been so instructed by elected public officials.

The Supreme Court has ruled that state and local elected officials — not police — are empowered to determine the depth and breadth of law enforcement. And the court has also ruled that the police have no legal obligation to protect lives or property.

Stated differently, the police cannot be sued for their willful failures. The remedy for those failures — according to the court — is to elect different officials who will deploy police assets differently. Yet, the police have a moral obligation to protect lives and property. For what other purpose have we hired and empowered them?

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