Saturday, December 19, 2009

Comment on the Belmont Club
"Year end thoughts"

... for me, it’s what went on inside the castle, not outside.

Wretchard may have a point. What happened inside the castle is the usual. It happens in almost every Mayor's office, in Legislative Cloak rooms, and in many small time and big city Judge's chambers or Lobbyist's Hospitality suites. That was business as it is done from Chicago to Shanghai. Anyplace that resources are not allocated according to the market you get the Gatherer and Sharers who meet to divide the swag. The surprise is that after several thousand years of practice they are still so bad at it. Not at achieving results in the sense of solving whatever ostensible problem was at hand, we knew those weren't to be expected, but that they are so bad at simply pulling off a meeting in which they simply have to show up and divide the loot.

What went on outside shows that the fearlessness of the totalitarians has, like sunspots do, reached a period of maximum that may coincide with dramatic changes to the human environment. These episodes come in waves, tied to many factors but a cohort of ill raised but well cosseted youths loose at the same time that major powers are competing over resources makes for a lethal combination. Similar conditions may have held in 1848, 1914 and 1968. Chavez was cheered inside the hall but he was there as an emissary of the mobs outside.

The brutality of the Danish police may indicate that they are now the incipient tools of new Gaulieters, willing to serve any authoritarian impulse. Many Americans viewed our own law enforcement community with dread after the excesses of Janet Reno's reign of terror. I understand that but as a former member of the community I view the tool with less fear than I do the hand behind it.

It is possible that in the small countries of Europe, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, a reaction is setting in and the police are finally being told to defend their own people. We should not assume either the best or the worst. The tide may not have turned but we should not heed the advice of our enemies that resistance is futile.

As the Mayor of Chicago said in response to a similar disturbance, "The police are not there to create disorder, they are there to preserve disorder."

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