People rightly decry the obnoxious militarization of even small-town police departments, but the problem is deeper than that. Police forces abused people — particularly black people — long before the Pentagon started giving cities and towns war materiel. Remember those scenes of dogs and firehoses being turned on peaceful civil-rights marchers? A billy club is low-tech, but it can do — and did — much damage. The system has long cultivated an us-versus-them attitude in the police. It’s nothing new, even if the “them” has come to include more people. Police don’t even regard themselves as civilians, as I believe they once did. We are the civilians. They are our watchers keeping us in line. Who doesn’t do a quick self-survey when a police officer approaches? As Steppenwolf sang in its 1969 hit “Monster”: “The police force is watching the people, and the people just can’t understand.”
Ironically, many of the same people who are skeptical of government intervention to deal with domestic problems seem to believe that that same government can somehow cure the ills of other nations. This cognitive dissonance reflects what Michael Munger calls a “unicorn” government: “a State that has the properties, motivations, knowledge, and abilities that they can imagine for it.”
Even if the advocates for U.S. military intervention—on both the left and the right—find that magical, mystical state, they must also show that the problem in question can’t be handled by others, or by nonmilitary means. Just because we have the ability to do something doesn’t mean that we should, or must, do it, nor does it mean that military intervention would improve the situation.
Government restrictions on new local transportation services – services such as Uber and Lyft – are perhaps hazardous to your health – so reports the Washington Post. (I discovered this report only just now, over at Reason.com.)