Police Magazine: Fourth Amendment is optional

The headline of this Police Magazine article all but says this when it reads “How to Tell When You Need a Search Warrant.”

How about every single time you’re doing a search of something, no exceptions?

The deck makes it even more clear: “While it’s always best to have a piece of paper to back you up in court, sometimes shortcuts are OK.”

I must have missed that part of the Fourth Amendment.

Let’s see what it says:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Huh. For some reason I cannot find the part that says “but if you really don’t want to you don’t have to this is just a polite suggestion and anyone else who says differently is probably a criminal who has something to hide.”

The rest of the article attempts to advise cops on how to grab evidence without falling into the definition of a “search.”

To quote the King of Castle Swamp from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it’s quite simple: If you’re taking something that does not belong to you, or you are on private property without the consent of the owner, it’s a search. When you pull someone over and confiscate their phone or go through their possessions, it’s a search, irrespective of what the Supreme Court decides.

Without a search warrant based on probable cause, neither police officers nor any law enforcement officer have the authority or right to enter a person’s home or take their property from them. If they do, they are trespassing or it’s theft. To say otherwise is to imply that the rules do not apply to them or they are bestowed with special privileges due to the mere fact of having a badge and a gun.

They may not see any issue with giving a man who already has guns, body armor, tactical gear, automatic weapons, armored cars, sniper rifles, and the full backing of the State with the additional exemption from the rules they are supposed to enforce, but everyone else does.

If an officer shows up to a person’s house, unannounced and without a warrant, and simply breaks down the door, what exactly is the resident supposed to think? I know all suspects are guilty until proven innocent – or is it supposed to be the other way around? – but assume they are innocent and so they naturally presume a burglar is trying to get in and they shoot the cop. How is it rational to blame them? Or, worse, the cop shoots them and then issues a press release making it seem the person must have had something to hide.

If you don’t think this happens, consider this little anecdote from an article by Business Insider.

Householders, on hearing the door being smashed down, sometimes reach for their own guns. In 2006 Kathryn Johnston, a 92-year-old woman in Atlanta, mistook the police for robbers and fired a shot from an old pistol. Police shot her five times, killing her. After the shooting they planted marijuana in her home. It later emerged that they had falsified the information used to obtain their no-knock warrant.

I know the Police Magazine article isn’t advocating no-knock raids like this, but the two go hand in hand. If they are trying to find a way around the Fourth Amendment, you can bet they will do the same when it comes to whether or not they must announce themselves as officers before entering a home – something they don’t do already and which causes either unnecessary deaths or trauma when they hit the wrong residence.

A fundamental concept of freedom is the right to use force to defend yourself and your property against aggressors. If you do not have that right by nature, you are not free and you do not own your property.

Fortunately, some people are slowly beginning to understand the Catch-22 logic employed to justify this type of behavior. Recently a grand jury refused to indict and prosecute a Texas man who shot a deputy trying to enter his home unannounced and without a warrant.

It’s pretty simple. Law enforcement officers are not above the law just because they are enforcing it. They have to abide by it as well. Articles like this one trying to help officers skirt the Bill of Rights sends a very palpable message to citizens that the people entrusted with their rights can’t be trusted.

This is one of the reasons I am a libertarian anarchists and not a constitutionalist, which is what I was for a short period. The Constitution was written to place limitations on government, and the Bill of Rights to have specific protections for certain liberties.

The fatal flaw with a written constitution, however, is that it can simply be ignored whenever those in power wish to do so, and people have been conditioned to not resist when this happens. Our Constitution has not been properly followed almost since it’s inception – see the Alien and Sedition Act. The Constitution isn’t ignored so much as it is forgotten unless it gives the federal government the power to do something, such as tax.

It ultimately comes back to consent. If people do not get to choose their own security or determine the authority someone has over them, then abuses are inevitable.

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11 Responses to Police Magazine: Fourth Amendment is optional

  1. phadde2 says:

    I understand the reasoning about being upset with the abuses of not following the 4th amendment, but I fail to see the plan of action to do this through a libertarian anarcho-capitalist society, even if being capitalist is oxymoronic to the coercion principles of anarchy.

    So instead of wanting a republic with laws, that even those could or do ignore, you want a society of no laws so those same people don’t have anything to ignore? A Society that polices themselves? Is justice purely privatized with consensual contracts, since those could choose their own security, that no authority not even the law presides over? Wouldn’t justice then by up for sale to the highest bidder, corruption still from wealth ?

    The fatal flaw of any a libertarian, anarchal-capitalist, anarchical, or what ever title the kids are choosing these days to pretend its a moral and reasonable society is that the mob can forgo any sort of kumbaya planned by said society, and establish a chieftain/dictatorship at any moment, simply because man has the free will to “domineer” over another at a moments notice.

    A Fundamental concept of liberty is “to be free from restraint and violence from others; which cannot be, where there is no law: but freedom is not, as we are told, a liberty for every man to do what he lists: (for who could be free, when every other man’s humour might domineer over him?) but a liberty to dispose, and order as he lists, his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property, within the allowance of those laws under which he is, and therein not to be subject to the arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own.”

    Laws can be ignored at any time, which is injustice, but having no law is not a valid concept of suppling justice.


    • The Question says:

      In a libertarian society there would be private law, a seemingly contradictory concept that is articulated by Murrary Rothbard in this article (https://www.lewrockwell.com/1970/01/murray-n-rothbard/how-anarchism-can-work/). If you’re interested in reading more about private law you can check out Gerard Casey’s book Libertarian Anarchy Against the State as well as his radio interview with Tom Woods in which he addresses objections to the idea of private law at 4:15 in the video (http://tomwoods.com/blog/libertarian-anarchy-against-the-state-2/). It’s actually a great overview of libertarian anarchy if you’re interesting in listening to the whole thing.

      Obviously crime would still exist and no (real) libertarian seriously believes it would create some flawless utopia. But it would resolve a lot of problems in our current system that at its core is not based on consent.

      Capitalism, as properly understood, involves only voluntary interactions between private parties and as such is actually the only proper economic model for an anarchist society (You can read the transcript of this interview in which they discuss this misunderstanding http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/12/no_author/how-capitalism-saved-america-2/). Libertariansm or libertarian anarchy is based on the Non-Aggression Principle, which states that no one may initiate force, violence or aggression against an innocent person or their property. Unfortunately the word “anarchy” has become synonymous with people throwing bombs while wearing bananas and picking fights with cops. These fake anarchists are against property rights, which is the basis for all freedom and liberty, and they do double harm by creating confusion about what anarchism actually entails.


      • phadde2 says:

        The misconception here is I believe you are assuming what I believe that Anarchist are and also that I am not informed of what is “true voluntarism”. Which when broken down by those who advocate for real Anarchy is seen as a complete contradiction.

        The best argument against against this pseudo society happens to be from real anarchist, and no they aren’t the bombing throwing type that you want me and others to perceive. Here is a great explanation on the one of the reasons why voluntarism is contradiction, and challenges the movements principles that Capitalism can work with voluntarism and allow a society to avoid coercion and allow for voluntary society;

        “Just to give one example, I’ve argued that property rights are incoherent, but to a voluntaryist property rights are voluntary. Therefore, landlordism and capitalism (private ownership of the means of production), which are coercive against renters and workers, are approved by voluntaryism. But clearly landlordism and capitalism restrict our choices and subject us to further coercion; without landlordism we’d have more choice of where and how to inhabit, and without capitalism we’d have more choice in how to work and for what purposes.”

        See the rest here: https://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/against-carl-watner-debunking-the-arguments-for-voluntaryism/

        I have also illustrated this point on a post of my own blog against the hyperbole, and demagoguery of Carey Wedler”

        “One was born, but one didn’t choose to be born so if one elects to not be homeless, they must be subject to the coercion of paying for property or rent it in which at this point they are not volunteering to enter into this contract but instead being coerced into it. This example provides an explanation that property rights and capitalism coincide with the fundamental ideas of coercion, attempting to separate them is fallacious”


  2. phadde2 says:

    At this point, I would surmise that we’ve read much of the same definitions and principles of what these movements are and simply we’ve have to two different conclusions.


    • The Question says:

      I believe you have a different definition of coercion. Coercion is defined as “the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats.” Coercion has to be directly or indirectly proactively carried out by the person in question.

      A landlord does not coerce someone who voluntarily chooses to live on their property as opposed to others’ property to avoid homelessness anymore than a grocery store coerces me to buy their food because I would otherwise starve to death. I have to buy food to eat and survive, but I still have the choice as to where I must obtain the food.Or, I could purchase my own property and grow my own food and live on it. Whether or not we like the price for the goods or services is another matter, but we still choose to accept the options we do because it is the most preferable option. Ludwig Von Mises deals with the concept praxeology and human action in several of his books.

      If there is coercion the coercion stems from the natural state of things whereby people must consume sustenance to survive and physically live on land. It is not due to coercion by the landlord or the grocery store owner.

      Your argument, however, is an excellent critique of government-run monopolies or regulations that use coercion to artificially limit the number of choices we have for things like transportation and force us to use their services instead of allowing the free market to create various options through competing businesses. Where I live, I am directly coerced into funding the bus system and indirectly coerced into using it because they do not allow competing bus systems to operate and they actually have passed laws restricting rider share programs in order to discourage other transportation options. Nor do they allow private roads or highways in which our congested traffic could possibly be remedied.

      In order for it to be coercion, the landlord would have to threaten violence against you for not renting their land, i.e. they threaten to kidnap you or actually kidnap you if you do not choose to rent their land, force you to pay for living on land you do not consent to living on, or force you to pay for it even though you don’t live on it. Or, they send people to injure or kill you for not renting their land.

      For example, when I am seeking a job I want the best one available. But if all I am offered is a job paying a wage below that which I desire, I still have the choice to not take the job. They are not coercing me into taking it because I need one in order to pay my bills. If they are coercing me then it infers I have a right to something or am due something simply by the fact of being a person who did not consent to being born.

      I actually do not want you and others to think anarchists are people who throw bombs and want chaos, because, as I wrote in my response, it wouldn’t be very helpful when trying to argue in favor of the political philosophy.


      • phadde2 says:

        My argument has nothing to do with government monopolies, as it has to do with existing, and because of this to occupy a space legally within a world of private property you are coerced into paying money.

        Your argument devolves
        Into a Strawman fallacy, as A above is reduced to B the advocating against government monopolies such a bus transportation. This is misrepresentation of my argument in an attempt to prove the horrors of government coercion.

        Also your definition of coercion is also what the links speaks about because it only amounts to the present and doesn’t reflect upon the coercions that occurred in the past which is why it’s fundamentally difficult to accept the landlordism argument as it deals with the concept being born and having to take up an amount of space, even if you freely write the check, and work for it freely you’re ultimately still coerced into it.


      • phadde2 says:

        Also my apologizes, What I was attempting to articulate was that it appeared that you wanted me to view these what you called “fake anarchists” as true anarchists, which I don’t. However, genuine true anarchists, they may wish to have a functioning society through their political philosophy. I simply do believe it will erode into chaos, perhaps not necessarily absolute violence, but more represented in that of the Stone Age. Many anarchists at this point will simply just allude at this point that I’ve been brainwashed to think this way,

        On a somewhat separate topic by clicking on your links, I literally sunk my head. As I saw one was an interview with Thomas DiLorenzo, who often devolves his arguments. I’m a Hamiltonian, which one would assume is pro-big government, and support of the government today, which my reply would be that I support constitutional energetic government, which is not reflective of what we have today. Tom Dilorenzo literally wrote a book about the reshooting of Alexander Hamilton and named it ” The Curse of Hamilton” that cherry picked the facts of the time period in a political revisionist history that if were true, as one reviewer would put it, would make “George Washington a total dunce.” Any regard you can’t use the modern world to illustrate the decisions made in a different era, which is what DiLorenzo did in his fairy tale, which having this agenda in my mind discredits him fully.

        I am sure you are good lad, but I truly shake my head, as I find that we will not find a common ground.


      • The Question says:

        If you believe this current government can or should be supported in any way, given all that is known and freely available to read about its activities, then sadly yes, there is no common ground. My political philosophy doesn’t say I have the authority to force you or anyone else to participate in it through threats of violence or actual violence. Yours, however, does. I still have to pay taxes to support your preferred form of government and abide by its laws which I do not consent to and clearly violate the Constitution they pretend to abide by, or else I will be arrested and/or have my money stolen from me. If withdraw my consent and attempt to form a new government, much like Hamilton whom you admire, I will be charged with treason and thrown in prison or executed. I would support none of this if you attempted the same.

        At best, the arguments about anarchism causing chaos is hypothetical. The chaos generated by this current government is actual and obvious to anyone who has the moral clarity to perceive it.


      • phadde2 says:

        I think the common ground is that we both believe that there are obvious abuses, perhaps where we differ is how we believe the best possible solution. I choose to view government as a tool of man that can be used for good, or evil. There are those in power who have immoral intentions, those with good intentions can also be achieved. Perhaps you see as “The Ring of Power” in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, I don’t know if your familiar, but even those with good intentions succumb to its power; however, I simply do not see it this way.

        In regards to your plan of action is to withdraw your consent and start new government, yes you would be a traitor. However I will tell you this, whenever I have had teachers or bosses tell me I’m insubordinate I often tell them, “Do you know who else was? George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Ben Franklin, and etc.” I think you’ll get the picture.


  3. phadde2 says:



  4. Pingback: No One Owes You Anything (You Don’t Own) | The Anarchist Notebook

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