Tuesday, August 9, 2011


In Syria, peaceful protests meet violent crackdowns; in the UK, violent protests meet peaceful crackdowns.

Both share a problem with proportionality.

The Syrian and Iranian and other despotic governments often respond to peaceful protests with murder.

But it's no improvement for democratic governments to respond to large-scale protests with ineffectual means, leaving residents and property owners with no protection.

Democracies have extra problems when the protestors belong to a group that has been discriminated against in the past. In the UK the protestors/vandals/looters are mainly black, though no one says so--but it you look at the security camera footage...they're mostly black. So perhaps the UK authorities hold back, terrified of being called racist.

Shopowners losing their life's work to thugs are not comforted by the proposition that this is OK because some of their ancestors might have been slave owners, while some of the thugs' ancestors may have been slaves.

In the case of the Syrian protests, the authorities don't have the slightest problem with murdering protestors--even with torturing them to death--even if they're children. This is monstrous.

It's less monstrous that UK authorities stand by helplessly, refusing to declare martial law and all that that entails, even though they've plainly been unable to maintain law and order. They're also afraid to admit that they're helpless. Instead they issue strongly worded communiques declaring the thugs' behavior is "unacceptable."

This is wordplay. Something is only unacceptable if you won't accept it. Allowing it to go on while you talk means you do find it acceptable, whether you want to admit it or not.

Civilization is the achievement of a profound bargain: the people give the State a monopoly of physical force, while the state agrees to use that force to protect its people. When the state fails to keep up its end of the bargain, it destroys more than shops and burned cars. It breaks the bargain we call civilization.

In the UK the authorities have a moral obligation to establish a modicum of public safety for its law-abiding citizens. This cannot be achieved without making being in public really, really dangerous for vandals and looters. They can't make it safe for both the thugs and the law abiding citizens, and by trying to do so they've only made it safe for the thugs and dangerous for the law abiding citizens.

And promising to hold the thugs to account at some point afterwards is cold comfort to those whose lives have been damaged or even shattered by the thugs. We look to public safety officials for public safety--not for eventual retribution. That's not the bargain. 

You declare martial law when the force being applied against society overmatches the force normal local authorities have at their disposal. That's when you call in the army--not to do policing, but to wage war with whatever level force is needed--including deadly--to make the streets safe for citizens.

Thus far the United Kingdom has communicated the clear message that they hold the thug's lives and safety in higher esteem than that of their prey.

And whether the deadly shooting of a black UK citizen that precipitated this rioting was justified or not is not relevant to whether the state has an obligation to protect its citizens from vandals and looters.

Leftists will say that I'm saying property is more valuable than life. This stems from missing the forest for the trees. The question is, can I walk down a street in safety? Can I run a shop in safety? And if I can't, can I get a government that will guarantee these fundamental citizens' rights?:


Anonymous said...

The Brits and any other collective people who give up the means to protect their own lives and property for whatever reason should not be shocked when their government doesn't rise to the occasion.

In fact a government that fosters giving up these means is not to be trusted and must do so, in my opinion, for reason of control to protect its own nefarious interests and not the peoples.

The situation demonstrates how far down the rabbit hole human reason, self sufficiency and logic have fallen.

PS: Amazon is in dire need of more erudition - Peace Snoberg

Anonymous said...

The Brits or any other people who in whatever manner have given up to their government the individual means to protect life and property should not be surprised to see that same government fail in its presumed responsibility to do so.

A government that engenders that loss of these means has its own nefarious reasons for doing so, most likely its own existance apart from the masses. I was not shocked to find poor and ineffectual response to mayhem, it being one of the methods in which government can add to its self perpetuation. Look for additional curbs on liberty in the aftermath. (Ordo ab chao)

PS: Re: Amazon I await your return or is the world going to hell in a handbasket more important than works in the name of Orpheus - Peace Snoberg