“Could we live without the police?”
It isn’t as out there as many seem to think.
As Taoism, Confucianism, and other older beliefs rightfully point out, if a society is good, or rather natural/organic, then customs or dharma is respected therefore a ‘police’ is entirely unneeded.
The more police or laws are needed in a society, it only shows how much further it has strayed from the ‘good’ or organic, which is also harmonious.
Needless to say we are quite far flung from that, a signature of this Age.
Going back a little less far, the 18th century, this is the more probable outcome. There would be regions of the US more ‘tame’ than others. There would be San Francisco or Deadwood, of which had their own loose enforced rules but were quite autonomous, full of vices and ‘dens of inequity’.
But there would also be the more prudent Protestant regions or towns, be it rural or what New England of old was.
The tamer would gravitate to the tamer, the wilder to the wilder, and both would self-regulate in their own ways.
The same goes regarding ‘values’, some preferring the more libertine and others more traditional. If we dissolved all police today, it would get pretty bad for a while. Primarily because those ill intent would feel they could get away with a lot without fear of consequence, until organic consequence begins happening. Some areas would be far worse than others. It would take years or decades but things would again re-organize themselves organically in this same way over time.
Be the person timid or more wild ‘outlaw’ inclined, humans prefer order to chaos. It just varies in what degree and how it will be maintained.
Though at the end of the day, if you think the police is what will protect you, you’re buying into an illusion. They are there to file a report after the fact, and sometimes they ‘get the bad guy’ later, if at all.