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How do you respond to the argument that to avoid conflict with cops you just shouldn't brake the law?

+2 votes
asked Dec 3, 2014 by anonymous

4 Answers

+2 votes
i laugh.
then i try to catch my breath.
then i laugh some more.

honestly, i'm personally past having conversations with people who think that cops only go after law breakers, or who think that it's even possible to live any kind of life without breaking laws, or who haven't had personal experience or information about people who break the law all the time (including cops themselves) and are either ignored or rewarded...

another option would be to give them a book or two.

but mostly the people i hang out with are not interested in avoiding conflict with cops. if anything, they see conflict with the cops as more valuable than it actually is.
so maybe i shouldn't be the person trying to respond to this question.
answered Dec 3, 2014 by dot (49,970 points)
edited Dec 4, 2014 by dot
LOL dot! I think your perspective is very much called for, if for no other reason, than for the comical relief it contributes (please excuse me as sing a chorus of praise once again into the echo chamber).

Judging from were I live and work, it is painfully obvious that some, or most, folk within society are still sheltered from those realities, and also (perhaps willfully) oblivious to those critiques about the myths of innocents and legality. Like a mere swoop of a magic wand, such rhetorical questions are simply enough to disregard the centuries upon centuries of history, statist tyranny, as well as a whole body of literature seeking to expose it. Ignorance is bliss and folks beyond the city lights can be quit blissful at times.
I take it you don't interact with non-anarchists often...?
flip: i interact with non anarchists, but i don't talk to them about politics.
and even the non anarchists in my life wouldn't ask such a ridiculous question as that.
just lucky i guess (and, as i've mentioned before, anti-social).

skitter: it's always nice to get the laugh i'm trying for. :)
+2 votes
I'd give them examples of laws that we've since discarded: no interracial marriage, no helping slaves, prohibition, no sodomy, etc. This shows how laws don't equal good.

Then I'd explain how police harass marginalized groups like people of color or trans people all the time, simply because our society teaches us that black = criminal. So conflict with the police happens regardless of laws obeyed.

Maybe I'd throw in how perfectly legal things are absolutely abhorrent, such as war, environmental destruction, etc.

Perhaps I'd say give the analogy that 'laws are equal: it is just as illegal for a poor person to steal food as it a rich person' to illustrate how many are forced to break the law to get by.

I might even go so far as to say that we don't need laws to decide what's good and bad, and that at best laws are overly stiff and don't change per context, and at worst they exist to protect a terrible society.
answered Dec 3, 2014 by flip (3,970 points)
+1 vote
Aside from it being a remarkably unsophisticated argument, I would suggest that the very existence of the police (and the state itself) directly conflicts with individual's aspirations toward freedom and autonomy. Therefore "conflict", as such, is practicably unavoidable (at least for those that value such principles) less one live as a hermit and avoid society altogether.

I would counter argue that any perceived or alleged purity of innocents would only be in the minds of those claiming such a condition for themselves, and that such myths amount to little more than church and state propaganda.

We may consider too the dubious nineteenth century origins of modern policing. For were it not institutions like slave ownership out of which spawned the need for what would eventually become permanent professional police agencies in every city? That is to say that police were then (and in some ways still are now) complicit with abduction, rape, torture and murder. If the victims of these crimes could have 'avoided' such "conflict[s]" it's certainly conceivable that they would have tried.

Lastly, I would want challenge anyone posing such ridiculous arguments to explain and/or reflect upon why it is that they should so completely suspend their own critical capacity to critically engage with the horrors wrought by such institutions.
answered Dec 3, 2014 by skitter (3,910 points)
edited Dec 3, 2014 by skitter
+3 votes
1) many times I break the law while avoiding conflict with cops. it's pretty easy.

2) sometimes I have conflicts with cops when i'm not breaking any law.

3) sometimes I don't want to avoid conflict with cops.

so it's not even really an argument as far as i'm concerned.
answered Dec 3, 2014 by bornagainanarchist (7,240 points)
edited Dec 3, 2014 by bornagainanarchist