Anarcho-Tyranny’s Left-wing Roots
Whatever else you might say about Sam Francis, you can’t deny that he nailed it with the term Anarcho-Tyranny: “we refuse to control real criminals (that’s the anarchy) so we control the innocent (that’s the tyranny).”
Must I defend his assertion?
The present legal climate is incredibly hostile to the decent, moral people (I want to say “law abiding” but following the law is nearly impossible these days), and anybody with a lick sense is looking over their shoulder, ever wary of Officer Friendly. Brutes and layabouts populate the streets, graffiti is everywhere, and the only thing keeping the murder rate steady is advances in medicine (slight positive there – army docs get to practice on gangbangers) – so you’d think that Law and Order would be an attractive prospect, wouldn’t you?
Right up until you experience it first-hand.
On the one hand, there’s never a cop when you need one; they aren’t there when you’re assaulted, when you’re robbed, or when a woman is raped. Filing a police report winds up feeling like a futile gesture, and half the time they act as if you’re the scumbag for imposing upon them. But whenever you don’t need an officer, they seem to be everywhere. Enforcing ridiculous driving laws, ticketing vehicles, ensuring that you’re transporting your liquor in a Legally Correct Manner, and checking you for harmless (but illicit) pharmaceuticals. Theodore Dalrymple put it well in his piece at Taki’s Magazine, ‘I Have Seen the Future, and It Is Idiocy’:
In London I once parked outside a hotel where I proposed to stay. Parking was forbidden outside, but I stopped only to take my baggage inside. I received a parking ticket within sixty seconds, a miracle of efficiency (I genuinely admired it in a way), though it was perfectly obvious from my car’s open doors that I did not propose to stay long and was only taking my luggage into the hotel. But on another occasion when my wife telephoned the police to inform them that youths were committing arson in our front garden before her very eyes, they had no time to attend to it. A more senior officer, however, did find the time a quarter of an hour later to complain to my wife that she had wasted police time by complaining in the first place.
And that’s coming from a retired doctor; when you put up with this shabby treatment as a young person in their twenties your response will be far more visceral.
But is the correct response as simple as hating all cops? As has been pointed out before, the logic behind Anarcho-Tyranny is that non-criminal crimes are easy and profitable; a photo radar ticket doesn’t affect your insurance, so why would anybody with a job bother fighting it? Those cameras will pay for themselves in a year, and provide statistical proof that the cops are working hard! Meanwhile, legitimate crimes are terrible for the bottom line, they’re both hard and expensive: catching a murderer takes effort, and the only people profiting are the ones in the Prison-Industrial Complex.
But all of this is a bit too easy. Certainly, there’s a lot of truth to this profit motive – people respond to incentives, and cops are people too; they juke the stats, and pursue the crimes which have the most bang for their buck. This is only to be expected.
But Anarcho-Tyranny goes deeper than just this. It’s more than just red light cameras. It’s when you’re just as afraid of defending yourself, as you are of being assaulted.
And the Greedy, Dick Cop hypothesis just doesn’t fit these facts. To understand what’s really happening, we’ll…
We’ll need to go deeper.
Exhibit A, from the Atlantic: I Got Myself Arrested So I Could Look Inside the Justice System [H/T: Lion of the Blogosphere]
Ten years ago, when I started my career as an assistant district attorney in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, I viewed the American criminal justice system as a vital institution that protected society from dangerous people. I once prosecuted a man for brutally attacking his wife with a flashlight, and another for sexually assaulting a waitress at a nightclub. I believed in the system for good reason.
But in between the important cases, I found myself spending most of my time prosecuting people of color for things we white kids did with impunity growing up in the suburbs. As our office handed down arrest records and probation terms for riding dirt bikes in the street, cutting through a neighbor’s yard, hosting loud parties, fighting, or smoking weed – shenanigans that had rarely earned my own classmates anything more than raised eyebrows and scoldings – I often wondered if there was a side of the justice system that we never saw in the suburbs. Last year, I got myself arrested in New York City and found out.
So to prove that the legal system was… uh, mean? Bigoted? Racist? Whatever. To prove that he understood Black People, Bobby Constantino, our intrepid Bleeding Heart, went out with graffiti tools (an indictable offence where he lives), to find out how “the other half lives,” trying to get himself arrested on a misdemeanour.
Only (and here’s the twist) – the cops didn’t seem interested in arresting a white guy in a suit. Big surprise, I know; the Lion already made fun of this in his post.
But I don’t bring this up merely to laugh at liberals, but to look at how the cops were behaving in the situation. Later on in the article, Constantino writes:
I kept walking and reached a bodega near the Rockaway Avenue subway station. Suddenly, a young black man started yelling at me to get out of Brownsville, presumably concluding from my skin color and my suit that I did not belong there. Three police officers heard the commotion and came running down the stairs. They reached me and stopped.
“What’s going on?” one asked.
“Nothing,” I told them.
“What does that say?” the officer interrupted me, incredulously, as the other two gathered around. I held the stencil up for them to read.
“What are you, some kind of asshole?” he asked.
I stood quietly, wondering whether they would arrest me or write a summons. The officers grumbled a few choice curse words and then ran down the stairs in pursuit of the young man. Though I was the one clearly breaking a law, they went after him.
All the Liberal sees in the above passage is racism; but as for those of us who live in the real world? We know exactly what’s going on here.
The cops who were unfortunate enough to walk into this situation made a snap-assessment:
Person A: An over-privileged activist, who’s trying to provoke a fight and garner attention for himself. Maybe he’s breaking the law, or maybe he’s got a Get Out of Jail Free card hidden somewhere up his sleeve. Any other day of the year he’s a law-abiding-citizen; but today? Definite trouble maker. Possible career-ender. Multiple felon, perhaps, but not dangerous. Let this minnow go.
Person B: Aggressive ghetto-ratchet, who’s probably just hassling whitey (a whitey who most definitely deserves it), but he might be more than that. Time to rattle the sabre. Time to remind him who runs this city. Heck, maybe there’s even a warrant out for him. Sure, he’s probably just a minnow, but he might be something more. Let’s check it out.
This is exactly the sort of thinking we want cops to have: to assess the situation quickly, to react on uncertain information, and to think about things, rather than just wielding the law as a “one size fits all” cudgel. They knew that Constantino was breaking the law, but arresting him would take up hours of their time, and that it wouldn’t prevent a rape or a murder that night. They acted like po-lice, and their reward is to be criticized by some over-paid Liberal degenerate, who thinks he’s defending equality before the law.
These sorts of snap-judgements – to be able to instantly assess the threat-level of a person – requires a functioning amygdala, and as Anonymous Conservative has substantiated in his book, this is a faculty Liberals lack. Trying to explain it to them is like trying to explain colour to a blind man.
The Liberal can be taught that Blacks show a propensity for violence, he can even be convinced that higher incarceration rates aren’t due to some sort of racial hatred – but what he can’t accept is that you or I can immediately tell the difference between a civilized Black, and a feral ratchet. He thinks we’re looking at the clothing: “Well, a criminal could wear a suit, too.” Certainly; but we’d be able to tell. “How?” Because we’re able to recognize predators – regardless of skin-colour or attire.
Constantino thinks he uncovered some great hotbed of racial animus in the NYPD, but all he found was that the cops had their priorities straight… for now.
Because Liberals can’t actually assess someone else’s psychological state, they rely upon litmus tests. They try and apply the methods of science to personal behaviour, even though none of this is happening in a controlled environment. They take the DSM IV, and try and put it on the street: they write policies and procedures, best practices, autistic checks and balances to turn the cops into automatons-
-and this is when Anarcho-Tyranny appears.
Policing requires a subtle touch, not the blunt, blind rules and regulations of idiot savants.
[to a patrolman who has given someone a ticket at the urging for more arrests] Baker, Let me let you in on a little secret, The patrolling officer on his beat is the one true dictatorship in America, we can lock a guy up on the humble, lock him up for real, or say fuck it and drink ourselves to death under the expressway and our side partners will cover us, No one – I mean no one – tells us how to waste our shift!
Off. James ‘Jimmy’ McNulty “The Wire: Misgivings (#4.10)” (2006)
There will never be enough cops to enforce all the laws. In previous eras the cops had the discretion to choose whom they would pursue, and this was a good thing. It allowed them to pursue the worst offenders, while ignoring the non-criminal. Occasional abuses were inevitable, as were misjudgments, but taken as a whole it allowed the cops to focus their efforts on the criminals who matter, rather than focusing on the crimes.
Pulling someone over for a minor traffic violation is a terrible way to maintain public safety – but it’s a great way to find stolen vehicles.
When a cop is forced to treat everybody the same, they waste their time on the non-criminal majority; the criminal minority, in the meanwhile, becomes even more r-type. The cops go from being a selective-pressure, one which focuses only on the morons, to a randomized pressure, one which harasses both K- and r-types alike.
You – as a K-type – should be extremely worried about getting an assault charge over a stupid bar fight; it could screw up your future employment prospects. But the r-type degenerate doesn’t care. Focused attention is the what made them behave civilly in the past – now the police are spread so thin that they can get away with murder.
Add in a few generations of positive-feedback – the criminals getting worse, the Victim Rights groups getting noisier, the cops getting ever more cynical – and you arrive at the present state, Anarcho-Tyranny with the appearance of profit-motive underlying it. But that’s merely the equilibrium which resulted. The reality isn’t conspiracy, the reality is misguided policies written by the mentally ill, forcing us into preternatural relationships with one another.
The rabbits taint everything they touch.
I want to end on a positive note; from the ending of the Atlantic article:
“But it’s a first-time misdemeanor, that ridiculous—”
“I know, but they aren’t budging. Your only chance at avoiding the consequences of a guilty conviction is going to trial.”
Seven subsequent months of visits offered snaking lines, courtrooms packed with misdemeanor offenders, assistant state attorneys threatening jail time, and the steady issuing of fees, fines, and surcharges.
In the end I was found guilty of nine criminal charges. The prosecutor asked for 15 days of community service as punishment. My attorney requested time served. The judge—in an unusual move that showed how much the case bothered him—went over the prosecutor’s head and ordered three years of probation, a $1000 fine, a $250 surcharge, a $50 surcharge, 30 days of community service, and a special condition allowing police and probation officers to enter and search my residence anytime without a warrant.
I might be harsh on you cops (I’m sick of the SWAT raids on non-violent offenders), but let me say this: any time you bust the lip of some criminal that fights the AO – anytime you screw with a filthy street urchin – any time you chase off a bunch of homeless drunks – and any time you throw the book at some misbehaving cretin – we’re all cheering for the boys in blue!
…especially if the cretin happens to be a Liberal Journalist.
Even Wikipedia admits that this jerk had it coming.