There should be no doubt that a free society and world needs the services of police officers, courts, and national defense. It is fair to assume that, despite our best efforts, the world will always include aggressors. While I suspect most people will agree with them upon learning about and fully understanding the concepts underpinning the 3LP, some will not. For almost three decades, I have represented people in court accused of committing violent crimes. While some of them can learn from their mistakes and conform their future conduct to the requirements of the 3L Legal Principle, it would be naïve to believe this will ever be the case with everyone. We will always live among aggressors, and we need to be prepared to determine who is an aggressor and to deal with them appropriately.

The issues surrounding police services, courts, and national defense are among the most difficult. As these services are indispensable and fundamental to implementing the 3L Legal Principle, they are qualitatively different from all other issues. Two problems are associated with police services, courts, and national defense in a 3L-compatible world: 1. The funding of services; and 2. The delivery of services.


As has been previously discussed, all taxes violate the 3L Legal Principle. As such, it is the goal of the 3LM to abolish all forms of taxation. However, as has also been previously discussed, the road to abolishing all taxes must be traveled carefully, justly, and wisely to minimize the amount of societal harm. Indeed, some taxes fund earned benefits or unjustified mandatory programs like Social Security upon which many retired people now reasonably rely. Unfortunately, our world is currently and has always been replete with all forms of taxation supporting countless different services, like national defense that must continue with funds voluntarily derived from other sources. In chapter seven’s discussion of taxation, I proposed several ways we could continue to fund essential services without taxation. As we intelligently ween ourselves off our addiction to taxation, the last things we fund with taxes should be police services, courts, and national defense.

While we should never stop working towards a tax-free world, and we should carefully explore the many alternative ways to fund essential services without taxation, we may never actually achieve the goal of zero taxation. As was stated previously, neither utopia nor perfection is an option. If we could achieve a world where we abolish all taxes except for those minimal ones needed to fund police services, courts, and national defense, we would have achieved a world far better than anything that has arisen thus far.

To ponder this question in the realities of today’s world is not to think about the question correctly. We must first envision a world where enough people have accepted the 3LP in their hearts and minds such that we have already achieved the paradigm shift necessary to reach the point where this question becomes relevant. In such a world, we should expect that competent adults are free to exchange goods and services globally as they see fit consistent with the 3L Legal Principle. We should also expect that, consistent with everything we know about freedom and free markets, living standards for virtually everyone who seeks to peacefully improve their lives will have increased dramatically.

Without victimless crimes, the accompanying law enforcement costs needed to enforce such laws, and much expanded economic opportunities for everyone, we can envision a far less expensive justice system than we have now. Moreover, we should expect a much more peaceful world where we expend far fewer economic resources on national defense. People would then be free to utilize their funds for other purposes. In such a 3L-compatible world, we should expect that even the least wealthy could easily afford all the essential goods and services required to live a healthy, happy, safe, secure, and productive life.

Even if this were not the case, the dramatically increased economic engine of a worldwide free market would reliably create wealth for the vast majority of people. Suppose enough of these people were genuinely committed to the aspirational value of voluntary kindness towards others. In that case, we can rest assured that market-driven charitable services could adequately assist those unable to support themselves. While we should always maintain our resolve to inspire people to be more virtuous towards others less fortunate, we should not doubt that people will continue to be at least as charitable as they are now. Together, we can and will care for the less fortunate without forcing people to do so. The goal of creating a virtuous society is doomed in any event if we cannot have sufficient confidence in the goodness and charity of most people. We have adequate evidence to feel confident in this area.

Delivery of Policing, Courts, and National Defense Generally

Some people are preoccupied with who is in charge of the police, courts, and national defense. There are good reasons for such concerns, and I share them. Indeed, human history is replete with examples of people abusing their power, often for personal gain. This history of individuals abusing power is why dividing the powers to make law, enforce the law, and interpret law between separate legislative, executive, and judicial branches, along with a series of checks and balances for those branches, makes sense and may be indispensable to maintaining a free society. I certainly favor keeping and possibly even strengthening this vital strategy. As the British politician, Lord Acton observed in the 19th century, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Despite our best intentions and efforts at dividing power and installing appropriate checks and balances, as I have stated throughout this book, without actually winning a sufficient number of hearts and minds for the 3LP, there is no long-term way to achieve or maintain a free and peaceful society or world in any event. That said, if we genuinely win enough hearts and minds for the 3LP, I am less concerned with how policing, judicial, or national defense services are delivered. Said a different way, so long as all laws are in harmony with the 3L Legal Principle and all disputes are handled in courts that operate according to well-established due process principles, I am less interested in who is making or enforcing the laws. Indeed, our best hope of preserving freedom is having people with the 3LP in their hearts and minds working in important positions.

Whether laws arise in the private market, as a result of elected officials voting, or even from a 3LP-loving alien who rules the world, that they are in harmony with the 3LP is what should be the focus of our concern. We can say the same about law enforcement. Whether a locally elected sheriff, a national police officer, a global police officer, or an alien police force from a distant galaxy enforces the law, that they enforce 3LP-compatible laws with due process should be the focus of our concern. There is no perfect way to enforce the law, and many difficult questions abound in this area.

We should think about the military as we do any other service. Indeed, military services are much like policing services, but on a much larger scale. Much of what we can say about policing services also applies to the military. As with policing services, military services involve weapons. However, weapons, like all items of technology, are neutral. What is vital about weapons, as with all technological things, is how people use them. So long as the military uses its weapons for defensive purposes, it does not violate the 3L Legal Principle. As with law enforcement, whether a government owns the military, or it is a coordinated effort of several countries according to a joint defense agreement, a mix of countries and private contractors, private contractors alone, or a 3LP loving alien is administering it is mostly unimportant. We should be more focused on why and how we use the military and less concerned about who provides the service.

One of our ultimate goals with the 3LM should be that wherever one stands on planet Earth, all laws in that place are in harmony with the 3L Legal Principle and fairly enforced with due process. Indeed, we should want people who violate the 3L Legal Principle to be apprehended and appropriately dealt with, while people who do not violate the 3L Legal Principle to be left alone as a legal matter. We should not be overly preoccupied with what mechanism people use to discover or draft the laws or who is enforcing those laws. There is more than one way to accomplish these critical and necessary functions, and no one approach will ever achieve perfection.

Delivery of Policing Services

People have a well-recognized right to defend themselves. We call this the right to self-defense. The right to protect others is also firmly rooted. In many jurisdictions, private citizens also have the right to arrest others who have engaged in criminal activity. We generally call this a “citizen’s arrest.” As an attorney, I generally advise people to be extremely careful about arresting others for committing crimes. Indeed, it is often a terrible idea. Besides being responsible for caring for the arrested person in their custody, erroneously arresting another person gives rise to substantial civil damages for false imprisonment or possibly even criminal kidnapping charges.

Because we have a right to defend ourselves and arrest criminals, we can also delegate those rights to others and employ them for that purpose. We generally call people employed for these purposes “police officers.” A governmental agency usually hires them. Besides the admittedly substantial issues of taxation and victimless crimes, such an arrangement does not violate any aspect of the 3LP. Because private citizens are liable for erroneously acting in what they believed to be self-defense or erroneously arresting another person, so should the police officers they employ. Said another way, we should abolish all versions of qualified or absolute immunity for all police officers. They can undoubtedly obtain malpractice insurance as many other professionals do if they make mistakes. Their employer often indemnifies them in any event.

While there is no need to abolish government police officers, there is nothing about the laws of the universe that prevent police officers from being privately employed either in addition to or instead of government police officers. The police function is a service like any other. Neither the economics applicable to the industry nor the value of competition within the industry differs in any way from any other service industry. We have privately funded people who essentially and appropriately currently act as police officers. Many off-duty government police officers are also often employed by private companies. The number of privately funded security workers now dwarfs the number of governmentally funded security workers.xiii While different jurisdictions have different rules in this area; there is no reason why the main difference between a private police officer and a public police officer could simply be who is signing their paycheck.

It is not beyond imagination that a local jurisdiction could contract with a private corporation to provide and operate a local police department. Indeed, this is successfully occurring now.xiv There are many possibilities to secure the best personal protection agencies or police services at competitive prices. Currently, privately retained security services are already very popular. The businesses that often employ them are free to hire other companies if they are unhappy with the cost or services provided. Some local communities may opt to maintain a local government-run police department. However, other communities may outsource their local police services to private corporations with proven track records for effectively delivering policing services at reasonable prices in different communities.

Because private corporations will seek to have their contracts renewed, they will seek mightily to satisfy their customers. Other private companies will compete to obtain the contract if they do not. Outsourcing has already proven successful for ambulance, fire, and other utility services.xv There is no need for protests demanding to defund the police. Instead of attempting to reform local police agencies that are not meeting the demands of the people in the local community, that community could instead simply contract with a different police department that operates more consistently with what the community desires.

Whether a local jurisdiction opts to form its police department and employ people to act as police officers or to contract with a corporation to provide policing services ought to be the sole decision of the people who live in that local community. Some have opined that people could hire private protection agencies, and market forces alone will determine questions of both jurisdiction and law.xvi While we have few or no real-world examples of such an arrangement, nothing about this approach violates any aspect of the 3LP. Indeed, we could expect that people may have different preferences for how policing services are delivered and the level of service they expect from police officers.

Policing is undoubtedly a critical service for a free society. It is difficult to imagine a free and civilized society without some form of formalized police protection against aggressors. What ultimately is determined to be the best way to offer and administer police services is not a question we must resolve here. It would suffice to say that people can organize their lives, and their police protection services, in any way they choose so long as they do not violate the 3L Legal Principle. We should think outside the box in this area to leverage market forces in ways that people receive the services they desire at the most efficient cost.

Delivery of Court Services

As with policing services, the same issues arise with court services. Many of the same possible resolutions apply as well. Many civil disputes are resolved with private arbitrators now. Private arbitration is a fast-growing area.xvii Many contracts provide arbitration clauses specifying how to resolve conflicts and who will resolve them. Even the law that applies to any dispute can, and often is, selected in advance. We call such provisions “choice of law clauses.”

Regarding the criminal justice system, many jurisdictions now contract out both prosecutor and defense services to private attorneys. Indeed, for much of my legal career, even as I have always been a private criminal defense attorney, I have agreed to represent indigent defendants charged with federal crimes pursuant to a contract for my criminal defense services. Many jurisdictions have chosen not to have an official public defender’s office but rather to offer contracts to private criminal defense attorneys. Indeed, this is quite common. Many private criminal defense attorneys have also agreed to serve as judges in criminal cases, often on a volunteer basis.xviii This is also quite common. We have private prisons, which, in my experience, function at least as well as the ones owned and run by the government. Unlike government prisons, if the private prison fails to perform as expected, we can simply contract with a different provider when the contract expires. Competition always results in the best good or service at the most efficient price.

There are many good reasons to conclude we could privately contract for every service needed to efficiently and fairly administer a criminal justice system. Much of this is occurring right now very effectively. That said, as is also the case with police, there is no reason a local government could not effectively administer some or all of the criminal justice system in total compliance with all aspects of the 3LP. As with policing, we need not resolve which approach is best. So long due process is satisfied, either method could be employed consistently with all aspects of the 3LP.

Delivery of National Defense Services

The national defense issue is also very similar to the issues involved in policing, except on a much larger scale. As with policing and courts, other than the issue of taxation, we can obtain national defense services entirely consistent with the 3LP, whether administered by a government, privately or with a combination of the two. As local police departments now have mutual agreements with other police departments in different locations for cooperation, there is no reason to believe they could not also contract for protection services on a much larger scale. Countries can, and often do, enter into joint defense agreements to protect each other. There is nothing about this approach that necessarily violates the 3LP in any way.

As with the question of funding, we should view and analyze this issue in the context of a 3LP-compatible world. We should imagine a world where most multinational corporations have a financial interest in maintaining peaceful trade and act accordingly. Additionally, people in business who freely trade in different countries with other business people also have a substantial financial interest in keeping the peace. Peace through expanded free trade with as many countries as possible is undoubtedly an effective strategy we should enthusiastically pursue.

We have reason to expect our needs for national defense would be far less in a 3LP-compatible world. Besides the peace dividend we would realize by expanding free trade as wide as possible, winning hearts and minds to oppose all forms of aggression would further reduce the urge to use force to achieve political goals. That we can reduce substantial threats to our national security by increasing free trade and advocating for the 3LP does not mean we can eliminate them. It is unlikely we will ever succeed at eliminating all substantial threats worldwide. As such, we must be well prepared to deal with them.

Nothing about working for peace is inconsistent with having a strong military for national defense purposes. Because the realities of the world are such that, notwithstanding our best efforts at achieving world peace, we should expect for the foreseeable future, we will face substantial threats from aggressors located anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, technology is such that smaller groups of aggressors are now more able to inflict more significant harm worldwide. We must prepare to defend against this reality successfully. We should not pretend we do not need a strong military for national defense. We should remain open-minded and think outside the box to determine how we can most effectively defend ourselves against ever-evolving threats from virtually anywhere in the world. Advocating for a 3LP-compatible world and engaging our best and brightest from both private and government sectors is our best chance of defending against the real and ever-evolving substantial threats accompanying our ever-increasing technological advancements.

It is important to note that national defense is solely about defending a group of people who live in a particular geographic area. It is not about protecting others who live in different geographic regions. While defending people in different geographic locations can be done consistently with the 3LP and may be a worthwhile moral goal, this subject is discussed in the next chapter on foreign policy because it is not part of national defense. We should not confuse the two different projects. Without defending the geographic area in which we live from aggressors who seek to destroy or occupy it, working on calibrating all laws to be in harmony with the 3L Legal Principle would be a waste of time. Effective national defense is not an option. It is an unfortunate necessity and reality of life. Advocating for peace does not require one to be a pacifist.