I believe stop and frisk can be justified. This is certainly true from a minarchist libertarian point of view, stipulating that the purpose is not to stop victimless crimes like drug selling, but, rather, crimes with victims such as rape, murder, theft, etc.
What about from the anarcho capitalist point of view? Here it is more difficult to make this case, but I think it can be done.
Suppose members of gang X are raping a woman, and members of gang Y stop the Xers from so doing. Are the Yers justified in protecting the woman? I claim they are. Are the Yers good guys? No, they are gang members too, and often engage in just such depredations. But, in this single isolated case, if you ignore their real crimes, they are good guys.
A similar analysis applies to government police. From the an cap perspective, they are just another gang. Says Mr. Libertarian on this (Rothbard,1973, p. 49): "if you wish to know how libertarians regard the State and any of its acts, simply think of the State as a criminal band, and all of the libertarian attitudes will logically fall into place." Rothbard, Murray N. 1973. For a New Liberty, Macmillan, New York;
Therefore, the government cops are in the same position as the Y gang is. In this one instance, they are justified. They frisk someone they deem suspicious, he has weapons, he confesses he was about to commit a crime, and cannot do so because he is arrested.
Certainly private police may stop and frisk dangerous looking people on the private property they are hired to protect. That is an easy call.
Walter E. Block, Ph.D.
Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics
Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business
Loyola University New Orleans
Friday, September 30, 2016
Walter Block On Stop And Frisk
Following Judge Napolitano's statement that he considers stop-and-frisk an act of an ‘authoritarian police state,’ and condemned Donald Trump's support of it, I asked Dr. Walter Block for his view on what the Judge said, Dr. Block's comment is below:
at 10:42 PM