Just as those who advocate socialism for public schools, or for health care, or for the economy generally, tend to argue that under a free market, there will be at least two classes of people — the exploited who can't afford to meet their human needs and the predatory exploiters who get fat off the system — defenders of law-enforcement socialism argue that there would be chaos and class conflict without state provision of law and order. Without a monopoly provider, some people won't be able to afford services of rights protection and some will disregard the rights of others and will unleash their criminality on society, whether as individuals in a chaotic and violent anarchy, or as gangs. Under a free market in law enforcement, the justice agencies themselves, we are told, will also likely become criminal.
But this is what we have now, under state law enforcement — the results of the state itself enjoying a class distinction of the most fundamental type. There are those who have to follow the law — created, enforced, and judicially presided over by the state — and those who use and depend on aggression as a matter of their job description: agents of the state. The state, by its nature, can categorically do things to people that the people cannot legally do to each other. It can seize wealth, instigate detentions and invasive interrogations and searches of the innocent, and issue systematic coercion with itself as its only institutional oversight.
Those who wish to improve the state's handling of law and order by petitioning it to repeal some of its laws and redirect its focus should be commended to the degree that they challenge grave injustices by the state, but most reformers ignore the crucial problem — socialism in the area of law and rights protection. A reform that leaves the state intact as a monopoly on criminal justice will be as limited as any reform of education that allows the state to continue its near-complete ownership of the schools.
In practice, law-enforcement socialism is even worse than socialism in most other areas, since it involves a state monopoly on legal violence, and thus is expected to act coercively.