The Washington Post reported this morning that the events in Ferguson, Missouri have been an opportunity for libertarians to make their voices heard. Citing Senator Rand Paul's worries about the militarization of police, the Post wrote that, "the changing reaction on the right is clear evidence of a rising and more vocal libertarian wing within the Republican Party."
Events in Ferguson have grown calmer since it was announced that the government would turn over police action to the Highway Patrol, and would begin respecting civil liberties.
Gone were the SWAT trucks and snipers. Gone were the riot shields and militaristic outfits. Gone was the hostility. And guess what? Gone was the violence.
Yesterday the Missouri Highway Patrol was given responsibility over the area. Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson, who is a Ferguson native, marched in front of the crowd and set clear priorities for the marchers which respected their civil liberties. Governor Jay Nixon had vowed to take a different approach to the event, which has spurred national interest after police were caught tear gassing and arresting reporters.
“When I see a young lady cry because of fear of this uniform, that’s a problem.” Johnson said. “We’ve got to solve that.”
Johnson vowed not to blockade the street, and even went so far as to set up a staging center for the media. The officers were careful to ensure that residents had the right to assemble and the police were told to take off their gas masks while working crowd control.
And while the positive impact of the change in policy is making great strides toward reducing violence, is it possible that the politics are informing the policy? What I mean is: Could the change in conservative rhetoric to a more libertarian tone be, in part, what is emboldening officials to behave in a more libertarian way?
The Freedom Report podcast takes a look at how the "libertarian moment" is impacting policing strategies, and how the increasingly vocal strain of limited government Republicans are influencing their fellow partisans, as well as the nation as a whole.