Describing what constitutes “civilized behavior” can be difficult. Nonetheless, many individuals have an instinctive understanding of it that we label “common sense.” For those who lack this understanding, force is required to maintain the correct behavior. Barbarians may not understand the nuances, but the business end of a handgun is a universal message even the most uncooperative perp can wrap his head around. The movie Gremlins 2 had a classic line describing this.
Fun, yes. But in no sense civilized.
So in any advanced nation desiring civilized behavior from its citizenry, there are, effectively, only two options available: common sense or force. Either individuals voluntarily police their own behavior, or someone must be hired to do that policing for you. One of the fascinating facts about Early America is that there was NO police department. What little policing was needed as well within the capabilities of the local militias. And when police departments were first formed, they were unarmed. They would ask you nicely, as a polite reminder, to not do that thing you were doing. And, in those days, it worked marvelously. Certainly, crime existed, as it always had, but not anywhere near the levels we experience today. Most crime in America, pre-1850, was of the petty variety, pickpockets and the like. And they were often whipped and beaten by the local militias for their troubles. This was remarkably effective.
However, America didn’t stay this way. Over time, crime increased and punishments were reduced in severity. Today, for instance, it is generally acknowledged that whipping and caning people for theft is egregious and in violation of the “cruel and unusual punishment” clause in the Constitution. Never mind that, for nearly a century after the Constitution was written, corporal punishment was the norm. When an American citizen was convicted in Singapore of a variety of drug-related offense (the list was incredibly long), many Americans were horrified that he was caned, despite this being the standard for such crimes in Singapore and once having been the standard in America.
The unspoken threat of force that had kept the lid on Barbaric activity in America had been lifted. This might have been workable were it not for a second component: immigration.
Now, hold the phone, Dystopic, you might say. You aren’t going to rant against immigration are you?
No. Not exactly. One does, however, have to understand that immigrants come from different societies. The compact that had, prior to 1850 or so, governed the behavior of polite society in America often did not exist in the countries the immigrants were coming from. When the Irish first came to America, it was a culture clash of epic proportions, despite most of them speaking English and having familiarity with Anglo cultural norms. In Europe, force was the rule, unlike the (relatively) peaceful American compact. Americans had an obvious distaste for European force. Europeans, on the other hand, figured that with “The Man” out of their lives, they could do whatever they liked.
There was a solution to this, naturally. More policing. So the police departments were armed, and began to look a lot more like our modern police forces do. They went from passive policing and post-criminal investigation to active beat cops. “Paddy wagons” made their appearance, and the prison system was created. Prior to this, jails were mostly a local Sheriff’s problem. Corporal punishment was deemed more effective than long prison terms. Murderers were executed, not jailed. Thieves were beaten, not imprisoned. The jail was more of a drunk tank and a waiting room for execution than anything. But not after this.
And so the Irish were, at first, convinced to accept the American way through threat of force. To be fair, it actually worked that time around. Pretty soon the Irish had integrated into the wider American culture, bringing their holidays and traditions into the melting pot. Other immigration waves were similarly handled: Italians, Germans, Chinese, etc…
Americans had to give up their notions of a civilized compact with a minimum of force, and in so doing became much like the European countries they had broken with a century before. In truth, it may have never been sustainable in the first place. Who is to know? But the newcomers became successful Americans, and the new policing system was deemed validated.
However, this active policing still existed alongside a robust corporal punishment system. Murderers were hung. Thieves beaten then jailed. Strong punishment and a risk of getting caught served as a criminal deterrent.
Then came Prohibition. Prior to 1900, the government mostly stayed out of private matters. Indeed, it was common to find cocaine, marijuana and a variety of other things now illegal at your local pharmacy. But the women’s suffrage movement brought the right to vote to women.
And women were pissed.
In those days, drunks, drug addicts and the like were usually married men. Their wives expected better from a husband. It is hard to overstate the loathing women had, in those days, for drugs and drink. Women didn’t work as often as they do today, and so relied upon their men to provide some semblance of living means. A drunk couldn’t do this.
It is no coincidence that drug laws and, eventually, Prohibition of alcohol originated with the same women who were demanding the right to vote. Women were, quite honestly, well-justified in thinking the way they did, too, even though the movement would later go south in a big way.
Naturally, these prohibitions had to be enforced by someone, and so policing grew in size and scope. It now concerned itself with more personal matters. Speakeasies were busted, organized crime made an appearance (the Kennedy family, famously, was involved in this). Crime rates went through the roof. The Law of Unintended Consequences made itself fully known. America’s federal police force expanded by orders of magnitude. The FBI, DEA, NSA and ATF all trace their roots to this period. Now policing had to be coordinated across the country and was no longer a purely local affair.
No gun control regulations had ever been needed in America until organized crime took to mowing down people in the streets with automatic weapons. But with new regulations, designed to combat this problem, even more policing was necessary. America was now caught in a loop of ever-increasing crime and resulting police expansion.
Though Prohibition was eventually (wisely) repealed, the drug laws remained on the books. Since then, police have increasingly focused on this unwinnable Drug War. That “war” has been going on for a century with little overall success.
Meanwhile, the same women who wanted these substances banned a century ago also brought compassion to government. Did we really have to hang cattle rustlers? Did we really have to beat up petty thieves? The focus on the justice system changed from deterring crime to rehabilitation of criminals themselves. This was new. Prior to this, punishment was considered its own rehabilitation. And if it didn’t take, there was always the hangman’s rope. Now the system had to care about the criminals, too. This meant more guards, an army of bureaucrats, and a number of psychologists.
To say that policing became difficult in this environment is to say that the Sun is kind of bright. The days a nice policeman would politely ask you to stop doing that thing you were doing were long gone. It would be laughable today. Who would listen to them without a nightstick in one hand and a gun in the other?
Then along came Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society, the single most destructive thing ever to happen to the Black community. He was supposed to have said this:
“These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference… I’ll have them n—-rs voting Democratic for the next two hundred years”
Now that’s some pretty tough medicine, eh? LBJ was a closet racist of epic proportions. But LBJ was the innovator ultimately responsible for the welfare system we have today. Following that, Food Stamps, Section 8 Housing and a variety of other ills were created.
The result was immediate. In Black communities, marriage declined rapidly, such that today over 70% of Blacks are born out of wedlock. Marriage has its perks: namely the combining of income and resources that allows people to escape poverty. People often had to get married in order to make it. But now the government stepped in and provided the means. And once provided for, the impetus to escape poverty declined. The priority shifted into how to make poverty comfortable. Ben Franklin told us how futile that was:
I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.
Half a century later, much of the Black community has been destroyed. Larry Elder, a Black critic of the welfare state, strongly agrees with this sentiment and has a warning for Whites: marriage rates are now dropping for them, too. Thomas Sowell, perhaps the greatest economist alive today, states the following:
Nearly a hundred years of the supposed “legacy of slavery” found most black children being raised in two-parent families in 1960. But thirty years after the liberal welfare state found the great majority of black children being raised by a single parent.
Minority communities became hotbeds of poverty. Crime rates went through the roof. The Drug War turned bad almost immediately and the entire thing took on the air of an us vs. them race war.
The point I’m trying to make here is that policing in America sucks. No other word accurately captures how difficult it is for the Police to maintain civilization in America. Nobody is interested in a civilized compact any more. More money is to be made selling illegal drugs and hustling for race wars. And, as this post should serve to demonstrate, the history of America is one of policing continuing to get progressively more difficult, so to the average man in a blue uniform, the job stinks and is more or less guaranteed to get worse.
There are very few men that can still sit down with another, drink a whiskey and discuss political matters without becoming angry and violent. Barbarians are everywhere, and the welfare system has taken on an active role in turning civilized people into barbarians.
Punishment has been reduced and made laughable, in many cases. In Norway, a prison was built with absolute luxury in mind. Prisoners there live better than most Americans do. Norway has a maximum 20 year sentence for any offense, and no death penalty. That’s right. Rape children and slaughter innocents and the worst you get is 20 years in a luxury resort. Coming soon to America.
The onus of maintaining civilization in this declining environment is now largely on the beat cops. And, as De Blasio has demonstrated, the government doesn’t even care to stand up for them. And now people are demanding their deaths. That’s right, the citizenry is actively demanding the death and destruction of the only force keeping a lid on an all out race war.
Let that sink in. I know the police are problematic and have too much power, relative to the Constitution. I know many of them are abusive, offensive and aggressive. But understand why they are this way and think for awhile on the alternative.
We are way past friendly neighborhood officers keeping kids from lobbing toilet paper at your house.
And before you say “Dystopic, that’s racist!” I want you to see the absolute most inspiring picture I’ve seen throughout this whole mess, a Black resident of Harlem who realizes, like I do, that calling for the death of cops is the worst sort of evil and anti-civilizational behavior possible.