Australian political history has a lesson for any American politician who chooses to leap before they look, and act on radical calls to abolish law enforcement.
Last week, ex-Labor, Gillard-era government minister, Joseph Ludwig was found to have acted with ‘misfeasance’ (‘the wrongful exercise of law’; or in laymen’s terms: an abuse of power) when in June 2011 – with his approval, and under his oversight – the Gillard government put a blanket ban on live cattle exports.
Ludwig’s decision was a ‘response to public outcry over footage collected by activists and broadcast on the ABC’s Four Corners, which [appeared to] show Australian cattle being brutally mistreated in some foreign slaughterhouses.’ (Greg Brown, The Australian)
Sounding a lot like current bureaucratic rhetoric currently coming out of the United States, Ludwig had justified the ban, saying:
“The community expected action and I acted. The government now needs to sit down with industry and discuss the new system.” (Daily Telegraph, 2011)
Exports resumed one month later, after public criticism of the reckless decision presumably forced the Gillard caucus into overturning Ludwig’s decision. (The then Gillard government declined to give reasons for their reversal.)
Now the Morrison government is left, not just with a 600 million dollar compensation bill to pay out to the victims of Ludwig’s thoughtless virtue signalling, but a politically sticky, legal precedent. As one government source told The Australian, it’s a precedent that “could have a significant impact on the capacity of ministers to make decisions.”
Untangling the unjust relic inherited from the Gillard era will be no easy task. Morrison now has to decide on whether to either appeal the Federal Court ruling, and thus throw Ludwig’s victims into another long, drawn-out court battle, or accept the decision, and try to quietly navigate the massive potential political complications that go with it.
In his ruling, Judge Steven Rares called Ludwig’s action “capricious and unreasonable.” Stating that “Ludwig shut his eyes to the risk that it might be invalid, and to the damage that it was calculated to cause…” Judge Rares also noted that Ludwig didn’t look for exceptions, or look to reform, resolve or dialogue with concerned stakeholders, in order to seek an adjustment to questionable practices.
Ludwig’s reactionary decision hit the lives and livelihoods of 300 farm entities hard. It was a disproportionate response fuelled by sections of mainstream media, and the pathos driven outrage culture online.
In sum, Ludwig ignored professional advice from within the industry and acted instead on appeasing the whim of the mood expressed by the mainstream media, and activists on social media at the time.
He won praise from leftists, and satiated the rent-a-crowd mob online, but almost single-handedly destroyed livelihoods, and the lives of workers along with it, because he didn’t look before he leapt. Something he inadvertently admits doing in his justification for the blanket ban quoted above.
Worth noting, Ludwig, while no longer a politician, has successfully moved on in life, while those impacted by his extemporaneous political decision, have struggled for almost a decade to recover.
As Michael Smith wrote, the ruling is a ‘stunning, damning indictment on Joe Ludwig and the Gillard government.’
The Ludwig lesson speaks volumes to any American bureaucrat looking to appease activist demands for abolishing law enforcement. Ludwig’s victims are a prime example of what happens when politicians recklessly kneel before the leftist industrial outrage machine; caving to monologues filled with emotion, without concern for any careful dialogue with, and between key stakeholders.
While I agree there’s legitimate room for debate about the need to review and demilitarize a militarized police force, rash abandonment of law enforcement would encourage crimes against humanity.
Like the lessons from Ludwig’s reckless, disproportionate blanket ban on Australian cattle exports, any rash decision to abolish law enforcement, would amount to bureaucrats abusing power through abdication of responsibility.
To abolish law enforcement is to abandon law and order. Ejecting the idea of freedom in limitation, which empowers Western freedoms, ejects English common law. Consequently, the Magna Charta it is founded upon would become an unenforceable anachronistic document.
Such an action would create a power vacuum, and its destructive path would be littered with ruined lives and livelihoods. As such the decision would be remembered by history, as a bureaucratic crime against humanity.
If 1930s Germany speaks any relevance into this situation it’s that lawlessness invites tyranny, and always overwhelms any well-meaning alternative. Replacing guns with hugs won’t protect the public from thugs with guns.
Crime syndicates would replace police precincts, mercenaries would replace police, a totalitarian government would rise, and vigilantism would replace trial by a jury of peers. Due process would be replaced by popular public opinion, and spur of the moment lynch mobs.
As Evelyn Rae brilliantly stated, ‘a society the makes war against its police officers had better learn to make friends with its criminals.’
Defunding the police is like taking yourself off of life support!
— Brandon Tatum (@TheOfficerTatum) June 8, 2020
Sharing a similar sentiment, ex-Police officer, Brandon Tatum pointed out that ‘defunding the police was like taking yourself off of life support.’
If for no other reason that the idea of abolishing law enforcement, or paralyzing law enforcement with reduced funding, is bonkers, look no further than the hypocrisy of bureaucrats and actor-vists.
Ryan Saavedra cites the example of City Council President Nury Martinez (Democrat), who’s supporting calls from the radical left to “defund the police”’, all while ‘having [had] an LAPD unit stationed outside her private home since April.’
#LATEST LA Council Pres. Nury Martinez, who introduced a motion to cut #LAPD’s budget by $150 million, had a private LAPD protection detail camped at her home from April to June. It was called off the night we called to ask her team about it. Full story coming to @SpecNews1SoCal pic.twitter.com/1lv5ctqQEC
— Natalie Brunell (@natbrunell) June 9, 2020
Revealing the contempt the higher end of town has for the rest of us, look also at the number of celebrities endorsing, and applauding the notion of abolishing law enforcement under the hashtag “defund the police.”
With paid bodyguards, walled mansions and gated communities, very few of those celebrities would have 911 (or 000, here in Australia) on speed dial, because ‘they can afford to pay for personal protection, whereas most of the people out there can’t.’ (Dean Cain)
DEFUND THE POLICE https://t.co/du19I57s6c
— Susan #DefundThePolice Sarandon (@SusanSarandon) May 31, 2020
Law Enforcement Today didn’t hold back either.
#getwokegobroke isn’t an unjustified right-wing push back against bureaucrats and corporations who cave to the whims of radical left-wing activists. There are real-life consequences that reach far beyond the safety of Twitter, a keyboard and the fickle, 24-hour lifecycle of a hashtag.
To slightly paraphrase Judge Steven Rares, bureaucrats cannot ‘shut their eyes to the risks, nor abdicate from calculating the damage’ when making decisions. Disregard for consequences is not just an abdication of responsibility, it’s a progenitor of gross misconduct and injustice.
Australian Labor acted without giving thought to the consequences; without giving any attention to advice from key stakeholders. In fact, Ludwig’s decision effectively locked out those stakeholders. He was in control of their industry, listened to those who had no real knowledge of the industry, and as such abused those who worked in the industry. His eagerness to please the pitchforks and torches brandished about on social media caused unnecessary suffering.
This is why American bureaucrats who may seek to abolish law enforcement should take note.
Abolishing, or drastically reducing police funding would be the Ludwig decision on steroids.