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Vigliotti: Why American rights require the police l COMMENTARY

There’s another reason why the radical left wants to defund the police.

Recently, a college in Boston apologized for letting police use the bathrooms there. The shows “Cops” and “Live PD” have been canceled. A cartoon police dog is under fire. New York City’s police are facing a billion dollars in funding cuts. Some in Los Angeles County want to cut their already undermanned force by six units — including the Special Victims Unit which, among other things, includes child sexual abuse, rape, and human trafficking. Some Democrats in Virginia are pushing to lessen charges for assaulting police officers.

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Meanwhile, statues and monuments, regardless of their actual history, are being vandalized or destroyed. The Seattle “autonomous zone” has resulted in murder. The electoral college and American republicanism (representative democracy) are under renewed calls for dismantling. Among the Jacobin urgings for revolution and eliminating the police are even some elected officials who believe American society needs to be overturned.

We can view American society as a nexus of at least four important pillars: the U.S. Constitution; those who are elected to govern and serve by it; those who are entrusted with the daily preservation of rights and safety; and an educated public. All of these are crucial for the maintenance and longevity of the United States.

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The Founders believed in minimal, effective government, with the function of protecting individual rights — those which are God-given, natural, and specifically noted in the Declaration of Independence as self-evident truths (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness).

They were transcribed in the Declaration because they are universal, moral truths that apply to all people in all places at all times. In uniquely American fashion, these self-evident truths form and inform our core values and our way of life through law and order, the reality being that under law, rights are protected in ways they could not otherwise be.

This is why we are a republic, not a democracy. Pure and heavy democracy is motivated in the spirit of the moment by passion, not by serious reflection or sound reason. During the Peloponnesian War, the Athenian democracy, in such a moment, voted to kill every man, woman, and child on the rebellious island of Mytilene — and sent out a trireme to deliver the sentence. Only later did they realize their rashness, and were forced to send out a second trireme to overtake the first.

Democratic bodies often descend into mobs. Mobs destroy, assault, and will kill on a whim. Individual rights and laws do not matter except as far as the mob decides. Consider the 40,000 put to death by the French revolutionaries, or even the indiscriminate violence, looting, and rioting Americans witnessed in June as police were held back or undermined as legitimate protests spiraled.

“Where law ends, tyranny begins.”

This is a phrase from English philosopher John Locke, who so heavily influenced colonial Americans from family farmers to pastors to legislators. Locke wrote on natural rights, freedom, consent, and government, and those truths he elaborated on were foundational for the Declaration and protected by the laws of the Constitution. “Law and order” did not suddenly appear as a reactionary theme during the Nixon years, but emerged long before the founding.

On a daily basis, American rights under those laws are protected by law enforcement agencies. Under the best circumstances, an educated, attentive public regularly elects responsible leaders to govern according to the Constitution. But this isn’t always the case, particularly for those who reject and deny absolute truths.

That includes the radical left, particularly socialists, anarchists, and Antifa, who are at total odds with those universal American values elaborated on in our founding documents. It isn’t that they are uneducated about American history so much as they don’t care. The relevant history behind an abolitionist statue, for example, means nothing in the course of political ends.

The radicals haven’t been able to gain power through the vote, they don’t have enough members of their movement in elected office, and they haven’t been able to convince an overwhelming majority of Americans of their cause to alter the laws to change society as they believe it should be.

So their objective? Remove law enforcement, and undermine trust in the law. Demonize, defund, disarm, and dismantle the police, and who remains to enforce laws? Who gains control of the laws?

Mobs.

Under the guise of pure democracy, the radical left is seeking fundamental transformation of America, and what they claim as democratic now will become expendable to them later. But truth, in and of itself, is not decided by how many people believe it. What is true, is true, even if no one believes it. Republics value truth; democracies value rule. Republics require law and law enforcement to uphold those truths. To secure their goals, law enforcement must end.

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Of all the wisdom which guided the Founding Fathers through American independence, one truth in particular should be remembered this July Fourth, through the election in November, and beyond: “Where law ends, tyranny begins.”

Joe Vigliotti, a contributor to The Flip Side and a Taneytown city councilman, writes from Taneytown. His column appears every other Friday. Email him through his website at www.jvigliotti.com.

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