The social contract. We’re born into it no matter where we’re born. The American social contract has features no other nation can claim, because no other nation has the Constitution and its recognition of the natural, unalienable rights of man. One may consider the Constitution a list of limitations on the powers of government, or a list of the rights of individuals. In a sense, it is both, but in America, the individual is sovereign and government derives its powers from the consent of the people. Please, gentle readers, keep in mind I’m speaking of the ideals of this nation, not the way some politicians have so callously trod on them.
Every contract is a matter of tradeoffs. We agree to surrender some degree of absolute sovereignty in order to live in peace with others. My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins. My right to hold an exuberant party ends when the normal peace of the neighborhood is breached. My right to have consumer goods requires payment of the asking price. My right to satisfying sex requires the consent of a partner of lawful age. My right to absolute freedom of movement and action is constrained by the law, written by representatives I have a hand in electing.
And so we arrive in America, circa summer, 2020.
I am often inspired to write by the writings of my favorite Bookworm, whose work should be on your daily “must read” list. I am particularly inspired by her recent article: Defund The Police: the speed of degradation. An excerpt:
The above is a long-winded way of saying that it takes energy to hold systems together. Take away the energy and things fall apart.
I first became aware of this principle when I was in Bogata, Columbia, on a long-ago cruise. The city sat on the edge of a jungle and it looked as if it was losing the battle. It was clear that the people lacked the will (and, I’m sure, the money) to push nature back and keep the city relatively pristine. Coming from a fairly well-maintained United States, it suddenly occurred to me that it’s not a given that cities will chug along. If people stop making the effort, the cities fall apart.
As I got older and became responsible for more things — a business, a home, a family — I realized that it requires constant energy to maintain minimal function. If you don’t do the family laundry for a few days, the effort of getting back on the laundry track is overwhelming. The same is true for cleaning, shopping, paying bills, weeding the garden, etc. [skip]
At bottom, falling apart happens quickly. Any subsequent efforts to resurrect whatever entered an entropic state happens slowly, with great effort and expense.
What we’re seeing in American cities that are defunding, or simply demoralizing, the police is entropy on a massive scale. The riots quickly destroyed the infrastructure, with buildings burned, stores looted, and history and other aesthetic touches destroyed. Now, the cities are facing the long haul, which is a reversion to pre-modern conditions. Before the modern era, cities were dirty and very, very dangerous. Highwaymen went after vehicles and cutpurses, robbers, muggers, and murderers went after everyone.
Lately, the news is filled with stories of mobs attacking drivers in the cars. The mobs block roads — often with approval from Democrat mayors — and any drivers unlucky enough to get caught are at serious risk of getting dragged out of their cars and beaten, robbed, or killed. Up until recently, Americans understood that this behavior was in the more dangerous parts of third world countries, not in their own towns and cities. This change has happened over the course of six weeks.
Communities that were once relatively safe are now terribly dangerous.
This is true mostly, for now, of larger cities ruled—not governed—by Democrats, in most cases, continuously for a half-century or more. This perilous state of affairs–the early stages of the complete dissolution of the social contract–is largely caused by the fraying of the thin, blue line. I refer, of course, to the Police.
America’s police are members of the executive branch of government. They are the tip of the spear, the enforcers of the social contract, because no legislator should ever write a law they’re not willing to kill to enforce. When a citizen decides the social contract no longer applies to him, and is willing to use force to assert that belief, it falls to the police to apply the law and restore law and order, which may be understood as the necessary condition for a functioning social contract.
The only reason the police can function and survive is most people are willing to obey most laws most of the time. They tend not to think “by not running this stop sign, I am consciously upholding my part of the social contract,” but that’s what they’re doing just the same. Americans are willing to honor the social contract because it provides them substantial benefits, such as the sanctity of private property (except in St. Louis), life in a state of law and order where all are equal before the law and people aren’t disappeared in arbitrary, televised raids, unless of course they have some association with President Trump. By honoring the contract, they enjoy a life of relative peace, quiet and safety, unless of course they live in the aforementioned cities.
Unlike the movies and TV, most police officers are not expert martial artists, nor are they highly proficient with their handguns or other firearms. Most are not 6’2” and 250 pounds of raw, highly trained muscle and reflexes. Fortunately, until recently, they didn’t need to be Chuck Norris, though if they were, they’d be in trouble.
Police officers, unlike what one sees in the fake news, Democrat/Socialist/Communist Party propaganda arm media, do not like to use violence. They do all they can to avoid it. They are comprehensively trained to try to talk their way through every situation possible. And again, this works much of the time because most people are willing to obey most laws most of the time. They’re willing to do what police officers tell them to do because they think it’s the right thing to do, because they know police officers represent the ultimate, use-of-force end of the government, because they know if they resist arrest, or more stupidly, attack police officers, they’re going to end up sore, sorry and in jail.
Or at least they used to know that.
In the past, decades ago, criminals knew that if they gave officers lip, if they were stupid enough to try to fight them, they were going to get an epic beating, and they felt they deserved it. It was all part of the contract. That hasn’t been true for, well, decades.
When a police officer can no longer depend on the authority of the blue suit, on the willing, or even the grudging acceptance of their authority by the public, what choices do they have left? Give up—let people do whatever they please–or use force—violence. Actually put hands on people and through restraint, pain, incarceration, and consequences of the criminal law, force them to honor the social contract.
When thugs know they can ignore the police, even attack the police with impunity, all bets are off.
We see this in Portland, Minneapolis, Seattle, Atlanta, Baltimore, and other cities like Buffalo, as Forbes.com reports:
All 57 members of the Buffalo Police Department’s Emergency Response Team resigned Friday from the unit in an apparent show of support for two officers who were suspended without pay after being filmed pushing a 75-year-old man to the ground Thursday night.
In that case, the “75-year-old man” was a D/S/C “activist” revolutionary, with an arrest record stretching back decades. He got in the faces of armored riot police, and was ordered to back away. He refused, was pushed back, lost his footing as 75-year-olds often do, and fell. When police are armored for a riot, they’re not kidding around. They’re indicating they’re prepared to use force, more force than usual, and they have the manpower to back it up. What they don’t have in too many cities, is the backing of the judicial, legislative, and even executive branches.
When officers know criminals can’t be arrested, even when they’re committing violent felonies in the presence of the police, they become dispirited. When they know the “mostly peaceful protestors” they arrest will be out as soon as the paperwork is done, and charges against them will be dropped, they wonder why they bother. When they know any attempt to use force to arrest criminals, particularly members of favored victim groups like BLM, Antifa, and other racist, socialist, communist, anarchist organizations, is more likely to result in their arrest and prosecution than the arrest and prosecution of the criminals, they become disgusted—and afraid. When they know the politicians that issue them orders are actively encouraging thugs to ambush, harm, even kill them, they have to make decisions, like the Buffalo officers did.
Without the police, without the lawful, reasonable use of force to uphold the social contract, there is no social contract. The thin, blue line snaps, and society descends, rapidly, into a state of nature where the most violent and brutal rule, where no man’s life, liberty or property are safe. But before the line snaps, police officers enter into a state where they do the minimum. They answer emergency calls when they have to, and when there are sufficient available backup units, but otherwise, they do little or nothing, and they absolutely do not try to arrest the kinds of people that commit most crimes. That’s too dangerous on every level. That’s the state of the social contract in a growing number of cities, and elsewhere, police officers keep a very close eye on politicians and judges and prosecutors, and how woke they are and are likely to become, and they act—or don’t—accordingly. Many, rationally, simply leave the profession.
Defund the police? Cut police budgets by 50%? What that means is cutting blue suits. The overwhelming majority of police budgets is frontline personnel and benefits. There is little or no fat to trim. Cut the budget and even 911 calls won’t be answered, because there will be no one to answer them.
Back to Bookworm:
Right now, the only thing between America and the abyss is an overwhelming victory for Donald Trump and the Republicans. If Biden is elected, the Marxists behind Black Lives Matter, Defund the Police, the de-incarceration of prisons, the end of bail, and every other entropy causing initiative will be in the driver’s seat in America. People will be amazed, in a terrible way, about how fast the road is to becoming the Mogadishu of the northern hemisphere. The end will come only when true totalitarianism appears on the scene because the strength of totalitarianism is the only thing that will stop the violence — and so the American people, ultimately, will embrace the tyrant that comes to claim them.
Ernest Hemingway, in The Sun Also Rises, wrote:
‘How did you go bankrupt?’
‘Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.’
It must be remembered that most Americans, the Normal Americans living in Flyover Country, are alarmed by the destruction of the social contract and by the dissolution of law and order. They recognize the necessity of professional policing. When that’s crippled, or gone, they understand they have to protect themselves, thus do we see the current run on gun stores. Should they be forced to uphold some semblance of law and order themselves, the restraint of the police will become a thing of the past. They will do whatever is necessary to restore some semblance of order, because there will be no one else to do it, and Americans are not going to live under the rule of thugs.
The social contract, the thin blue line, has been gradually unraveling for some time. When it goes entirely, it will be sudden indeed, and the D/S/C media will blame Trump, Normal Americans, everyone and everything but what they see in the mirror. The police, that thin, blue line, are our societal trip wire, and for the time being, we’re letting the worst of us run at them with every imaginable weapon.