The whole concept of the Libertarian Police Department is so awesome that I was afraid this piece would not live up to my expectations. I was wrong:

was shooting heroin and reading “The Fountainhead” in the front seat of my privately owned police cruiser when a call came in. I put a quarter in the radio to activate it. It was the chief.

“Bad news, detective. We got a situation.”

“What? Is the mayor trying to ban trans fats again?”

“Worse. Somebody just stole 474 million dollars’ worth of bitcoins.”

The heroin needle practically fell out of my arm. “What kind of monster would do something like that? Bitcoins are the ultimate currency: virtual, anonymous, stateless. They represent true economic freedom, not subject to arbitrary manipulation by any government. Do we have any leads?”

“Not yet. But mark my words: we’re going to figure out who did this and we’re going to take them down… provided someone pays us a fair market rate to do so.”

“Easy, chief,” I said, “Any rate the market offers is, by definition, fair.”

He laughed. “That’s why you’re the best I got, Lisowski. Now you get out there and find those bitcoins.”

“Don’t worry,” I said. “I’m on it.”

I put a quarter in the siren. Ten minutes later, I was on the scene. It was a normal office building, strangled on all sides by public sidewalks. I hopped over them and went inside.

“Home Depot™ presents The Police!®” I said, flashing my badge and my gun and a small picture of Ron Paul. “Nobody move unless you want to!” They didn’t.

The only thing missing was a leather coat or Fonzi reference.

(via Gary Farber)

51 replies
  1. 1

    I think everything is but a shadow of this McSweeney piece.

    I’d like to start by saying that I don’t get into belligerent shouting matches at the playground very often. The Tot Lot, by its very nature, can be an extremely volatile place—a veritable powder keg of different and sometimes contradictory parenting styles—and this fact alone is usually enough to keep everyone, parents and tots alike, acting as courteous and deferential as possible. The argument we had earlier today didn’t need to happen, and I want you to know, above all else, that I’m deeply sorry that things got so wildly, publicly out of hand.

  2. 2
    Hungry Joe says:

    ” ‘Home Depot™ presents The Police!®’ I said, flashing my badge and my gun and a small picture of Ron Paul. ‘Nobody move unless you want to!’ They didn’t.”

    Yeah, that’s solid. Libertarians just frost my butt. No excuse for them. None.

  3. 3
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    OMG, that looks awesome.

  4. 4
    SectionH says:

    @Hungry Joe: Yabbut that bit was funny.

    Jack Chalker (RIP) had the best take on Libertarians. “May they spend eternity driving in shopping mall parking lots at Christmas time.”

  5. 5
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Didn’t ya all hear? bitcoin isn’t currency-it’s property.

  6. 6
    robotswillstealyourjobs says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    Currency isn’t property now? Oh, good. I was afraid taxation was theft.

  7. 7

    @Howard Beale IV: Well, who gives the government the right to determine whether it’s currency or property? If you can’t build a house on it, but you can pay a hooker with it, seems to me it’s currency, not property.

  8. 8
    Warren Terra says:

    The only problem with the story is that he is reluctant to use the public sidewalks. Libertarians denounce the provision of public goods, but they’re pretty darned eager to use them.

    (usual bit about Ayn Rand going on Medicare, etcetera, etcetera).

  9. 9
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @robotswillstealyourjobs: Go talk to Treasury, they made the latest rulings on how all of the cryptocurrencies were to be handled tax-wise.

  10. 10
    sensesfail says:

    Ok, this is seriously fucking awesome. I especially love the small details, like the one about hopping over the public sidewalks.


    “Home Depot™ presents The Police!®” I said, flashing my badge and my gun and a small picture of Ron Paul

    made me LOL.

  11. 11
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @🍀 Martin: Treasury made the determination that cryptocurrencies are property, not currencies. Go yell at them.

  12. 12
    Violet says:

    How’s he spending quarters? Isn’t that government-minted money? Are they soshulists?

  13. 13
    rda909 says:

    What? No reference to the One True Libertarian Hero, Eddie Snowden?!? That police department could use that PaulPutin-supporter for cyber crimes, since Eddie’s already an expert at those. Plus, Eddie can bridge the progressotarian divide and bring “us” all together for the common good.

  14. 14
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🍀 Martin: Dude, there is real property and there is personal property. One is land and houses and such; the other is clothing and paintings and books and so on. I would guess one could pay a certain type of girl with Louboutin heels. Oh, yeah, the whole “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” thing isn’t based on diamonds being currency; it is based on diamonds being personal property that may have value. Don’t be smug.

  15. 15

    @Howard Beale IV: Every man has the property of his own person. Treasury has no more authority to dictate how we should request remuneration for the fruit of our labors. To deny us that natural right is to deny recognition of our right to control our labor and to reduce us to mere slaves to the state.

  16. 16
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @rda909: You can’t fucking leave it alone, can you?

  17. 17
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @🍀 Martin: What Omnes said.

  18. 18
    kc says:


  19. 19
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Howard Beale IV: I don’t think you have ever said that before.

    Although in the comment to which you are responding, Martin may well be snarking. In some parts of the world, it is still April 1st. This calls for caution.

  20. 20
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Noted.

  21. 21
    amk says:

    I put a quarter

    wtf happened to the bitcoins?

  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Listening to Sade live at Montreux 1984. A bunch of college friends posted contemporary photos today for some reason. No idea why, but there was nothing personally embarrassing in this doc dump. My nostalgic mood seems safe. For now…..

    @Howard Beale IV: I think we are right. But I just wanted to do my due diligence.

  23. 23
    bago says:

    I still don’t get the bagging on Snowden. He thought he was fighting the good fight, became disillusioned, and put his career/life on the line to expose something he thought was fucked up.

    Total surveillance isn’t exactly what we signed up for as citizens. Dude has a point, and he did more than bitch about it on semi anonymous chat-boards.

    You can’t really point to him being wrong because he has the PowerPoint presentation as proof.

    The whole “being right about things” bit is kind of important, regardless of the politics involved.

  24. 24
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @bago: The only person who bagged on Snowden in this thread is a person who seem to have taken on the anti-Snowden cause as a crusade. Could we not let this thread become devoted to that topic? Thank you.

  25. 25
    Hob says:

    Oh God, some of the comments on that piece are… well, you can probably imagine what they are.

    There’s a guy who wrote seven paragraphs about how the piece presents Bitcoin in an unfair light (“How convenient”). There’s another who thinks this is an example of “New York’s exquisite community of self-congratulatory intellectuals who have replaced God with the State.”

    And the most concise and even-tempered one: “It would not be unreasonable for a private party to investigate in exchange for a share of what is recovered. Historically, salvage of good lost at sea operates on a similar principle.”

  26. 26
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Hob: I would be in favor of presenting such a person, when he/she (probably he) reaches age 21, with a bill for the public services provided to him that needs to be repaid. Oh, yeah, it is being reported to the credit bureaus.

  27. 27
    Jamie says:


    This was my favorite:

    @pearlu While I can appreciate the humor, we have been oppressed for a long time – try getting a 3rd party candidate in a Presidential debate  if you think otherwise – and that detracts from the humor a bit. To an extent, it is similar to a racial or ethnic minority not fully enjoying the type of humor that can be insulting.

    I seriously cannot tell if that is satire.

  28. 28
    r€nato says:

    @Hob: indeed, the stuffy responses of humorless libertarians were a nice finisher.

  29. 29

    That gave me the giggles

  30. 30

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    it is based on diamonds being personal property that may have value.

    The pursuit of possessions is just another anchor on the very notion of liberty foisted upon us by a state determined to consign us to wage slavery. The true perfection of man lies, not in what man has, but in what man is…With the abolition of private property, then, we shall have true Individualism. Nobody will waste his life in accumulating things, and the symbols for things. One will live. To live is the rarest thing in the world. The only true value is the ability to control your labor, not be a servant to the ‘property’ the state decrees we must possess.

  31. 31
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jamie: I hate Rule 34.

  32. 32
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🍀 Martin: Okay, you have overdone it. The key to snark is subtlety, and you failed.

  33. 33
    priscianus jr says:

    @Warren Terra: Libertarians denounce the provision of public goods, but they’re pretty darned eager to use them.

    Those are the Revisionists. This cop’s the real deal.

  34. 34
    NotMax says:

    What, an article posted in full to be read for free?

    No PayPal option = no market value. Therefore, worthless.

    Or something.

  35. 35
    Jamie says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Rule 34? I guess it is possible that the person responding would come the second they read about the Fonzi of Freedom in the presidential debates now that I think about it (yes, someone figure out a tumblr URL for that one) (ew) (don’t make me think about that again), I … Aw hell. You’re right.

    But I was getting at the poor, oppressed libertarians being compared to minorities. I can’t think of many generalizable similarities other than both being made of meat.

  36. 36

    @Omnes Omnibus: I have to let on at some point. I should note that much of that ‘overdone’ post is a straight cut-and-paste from Oscar Wilde, being quite serious.

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jamie: Are you really going to dig into details? Jebus.

  38. 38
    Lawrence says:

    Epic. keep posting installments.

  39. 39
    Jamie says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Isn’t that what Rule 34 is about? Details matter. Like playing guitar in a shower or skull-fucking a kitten.

    By the way, does anyone have rudiskullfucksakitten.com? I think it might have a moment in the sun in the election runup.

  40. 40
    different-church-lady says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Dude, there is real property and there is personal property.

    Actually, there’s a third category unique to Bitcoins: unreal property.

  41. 41
    different-church-lady says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That’s Poe’s law. Rule 34 would be “HotRonPaulPhotos.com”

  42. 42
    different-church-lady says:

    How to be a photographer for the New Yorker:

    1) Take photograph
    2) Crop off top of subjects head
    3) Submit to New Yorker

  43. 43
    RSA says:

    Nice. I’d hoped that the piece would run long enough to cover the trial; I want to know who’s paying the judge.

  44. 44
    EconWatcher says:

    “It was a normal office building, strangled on all sides by public sidewalks.”

    Now that’s some writing talent.

  45. 45
    Paul in KY says:

    @SectionH: Jack Chalker was a great SciFi writer. Many wonderful books.

  46. 46
    Paul in KY says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: At least he’s not going on about organic homopaths & using kale instead of vaccines.

  47. 47
    Paul in KY says:

    @🍀 Martin: I shpuld have seen that. Studied Mr. Wilde in college for a semester. Great man, maybe best wit ever.

  48. 48
  49. 49
    boatboy_srq says:

    a normal office building, strangled on all sides by public sidewalks


    And the quarters (really? Not Suzie Bs? MAN working for the state Galts is cheap) for the siren and radio are spot-on.

    @Hungry Joe: When I read that I had to stop and remind myself I was reading about a law enforcement action and not a corporate-sponsored concert. Which only made it funner. I’m just surprised Lisowski didn’t tell the crowd not to stand so close to him.

  50. 50
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    Penn Jillette posters…brilliant!

  51. 51
    McJulie says:

    The way he has to keep putting quarters in thinks reminded me of The Space Merchants by Fred Pohl & C.M. Kornbluth. Written in 1952 and (in my opinion) one of the great SF satires. Pretty forward thinking. The big villains of this libertarian dystopia are environmentalists, known as “consies.”

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