All across the Western world, the forces of law and order are in retreat. Crime is flourishing, and ordinary people are being left to defend their livelihoods and their lives without the aid of the police. As bad as this situation may be, it’s made far worse by the fact that the authorities seem determined, even as they turn a blind eye to real crime, to harass and persecute ordinary law-abiding citizens, including in their own homes.
When your house is being burgled or your business looted, of course the police are now nowhere to be seen; but when a young autistic girl says a female police officer making a welfare call looks like her lesbian grandmother, the full weight of His Majesty’s constabulary descends upon the child – literally, half a dozen burly male officers clad in paramilitary gear – to drag her away, screaming and utterly terrified, for questioning at the local police station. The whole incident is filmed. The police know the world will see. But still they do it, without shame. And despite the justified uproar that follows, no apology is made: only an official statement which, like all official statements, uses a lot of words to say very little indeed. Just what the hell is going on?
A few days ago, I watched a video of two young black men robbing a supermarket in London. Everything about the video suggests that this is now a totally “normal” occurrence. The robbers themselves are supremely relaxed. They carry huge packs that they load with alcohol. A young male shopworker stands near them as they clear the shelves. When they finally go to leave, the lad aims a limp kick at one of them, who turns and says, “Bless you. Have a nice day. I’ll be back for more, same time!” The shopworker then approaches the man, who is now just outside the entrance and attempting to get the heavily laden pack off the ground and onto his back, and tells him he’s calling the police. “You call the police, bruv!” – and the man swings a vicious backhand that barely misses. The two robbers depart, spouting a litany of insults. The bystanders filming the incident, also young black men, just think it’s funny. The video’s subtitle is “cost of living."
There’s ample conservative commentary on such videos, which now seem to be as numerous as cat videos once were on social media, but almost all of it misses an important point: that the crime is the point. And by that I mean crime isn’t just a side-effect of soft liberal governance. It’s not simply the case that liberal city, state and national governments have decided to go easy on crime out of a wrong-headed conviction that Jean-Jacques Rousseau was right about man’s inner angel waiting to get out. That may be part of the problem, yes, at some level, but the deeper reality is much more sinister: crime is actually very useful politically.
The outlines of such a system have been visible for some time now, especially in the US. Back in 1992, the political writer Sam Francis described a regime where crime functions as an essential tool of governmental control. He named it “anarcho-tyranny”. In his account, the state allows particular kinds of lawlessness to flourish, the better to control and milk the tax-producing middle classes, which are effectively “scared straight” and unable to offer any form of real resistance. The means by which anarcho-tyranny is enforced are myriad, and not just limited to letting criminals run loose on the streets. Also useful are:
…exorbitant taxation, bureaucratic regulation; the invasion of privacy, and the engineering of social institutions, such as the family and local schools; the imposition of thought control through “sensitivity training” and multiculturalist curricula; “hate crime” laws; gun-control laws that punish or disarm otherwise law-abiding citizens but have no impact on violent criminals who get guns illegally; and a vast labyrinth of other measures.
Although we might think, thanks to classical political theory like that of Thomas Hobbes and Max Weber, that the state by definition must act as an enforcer and guarantor of peace within its territory, civil strife has long been known to have its uses for the powers-that-be. In the fifth book of the Politics, written over 2000 years ago, Aristotle describes in some detail the methods by which tyrants are able to sustain their rule. Tyrants must prevent anybody from becoming “too high”, execute “men of spirit” and ban meetings and societies where ordinary people can exchange ideas and “beget mutual confidence.” “Another art of the tyrant,” Aristotle adds, “is to sow quarrels among the citizens; friends should be embroiled with friends, the people with the notables, and the rich with one another.” The great philosopher doesn’t mention crime specifically, but it’s not hard to imagine how crime might have helped to “sow quarrels”, especially between the different classes of ancient Greek society.
The workings of the US as an anarcho-tyranny state were clearly revealed during the “mostly peaceful” riots of 2020, following the death of George Floyd. America’s worst ever period of rioting came at a cost of at least $2 billion to the insurance industry. This figure should be considered a significant under-estimate of the true cost of the destruction, since we know that fully three-quarters of all US businesses are under-insured and nearly half have no insurance at all. The knock-on effects in the long term must also be considered. A study of the aftermath of the 1992 LA riots, previously the most expensive bout of unrest in the nation’s history, revealed an economic decline of nearly $4 billion in areas affected by the riots and a loss of at least $125 million in tax revenue.
Why were the riots allowed to take place at a time of widespread social restrictions, when people were otherwise, quite literally, locked in their homes? The answer is simple: because the riots helped further a radical racial agenda that has the full backing of many on the left, and even some on the right, today. The main victims of the rioting were also the main victims of the pandemic’s various mandates: the nation’s small-business owners, a significant proportion of whom are white. The pandemic saw the greatest wealth transfer in American history, and the George Floyd riots were an intimate part of that, further punishing and depriving hard-working middle-class people who might dare, at some point, to stand up and try to resist the redistribution of power and wealth.
Those who did resist the madness, as was their right, were subject to summary violence, with no protection from the police. At least 27 people were murdered during the rioting, often just for trying to defend their businesses. This is also why Kyle Rittenhouse had to be made an example of, to send a clear message about the status of fundamental American rights and liberties. So what if the Constitution says you have the right to bear arms? So what about self-defence? We have the prosecutors, judges and juries to make sure you’ll be put on trial regardless, and the media will say exactly what we want them to say. Even though Rittenhouse wasn’t sent to prison in the end, he bore a personal cost that would make many, if not most, second-guess doing what he did on that fateful night in Kenosha, Wisconsin three years ago. Mission accomplished.
The refounding of America as a racialised state dedicated not to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, but to the redistribution of wealth and power from a dwindling but still productive white majority to minorities, especially black Americans, has its charter in movements like Black Lives Matter and the New York Times-sponsored 1619 Project. The presupposition that America is a racist nation, founded on the original sin of slavery, and that the only way to atone is by giving back what was stolen from those who worked without payment, informs virtually everything the radical left now does, from the grassroots level right up to the corridors of power. I don’t think it’s any kind of exaggeration to say that those interested in the future of America should be looking very closely at countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe for what comes next. If that makes you uncomfortable – well, it should.
It's impossible to talk about rampant crime in the West without mentioning Nayib Bukele, the current president of El Salvador. In a sense, his regime represents the mirror image of what is going on here today – a kind of anti-anarcho-tyranny, if you will. Bukele’s presidency has given the lie to the notion that crime, even the most serious drug-related gang violence, is an intractable problem. If a government wants to stop people breaking the law, it can. By doing something as simple as actually locking up criminals, you can make crime all but go away. This is an incredibly powerful example, and it’s not a wonder that Bukele is so vilified in the Western media, which is totally complicit in our descent into managed lawlessness. I’ve lost count of the number of articles that describe Bukele as a wannabe or genuine “dictator” who has made a “Faustian bargain” to make his country safe again: a new one appears practically every other day, it seems. The presence of a strong leader “doing the impossible” so close to home is bound to make the American regime feel deeply uncomfortable, and we know what happens to rulers in Latin America who do that…
The unpalatable truth is that, although it’s the left that’s really making anarcho-tyranny its own, the right has aided and abetted the left for decades, belabouring ordinary citizens with extra taxation, intruding into their privacy, advancing political correctness, infringing constitutional rights and allowing violent criminals to commit crime, if not with impunity, then certainly without facing real justice. Both sides have benefitted from breaking the rules and violating the social contract, and they will continue to do so. Should we be surprised, then, that ordinary people call for an outsider, a wrecking ball to smash the whole system to pieces?