The Will To Disbelieve

     The one thing of which there is no shortage in these United States is wishful thinking. It’s more pandemic than the WuFlu and orders of magnitude more destructive. Sadly, some of that wishful thinking is on the Right.

     The rioting and organized theft in the larger cities has revealed an ugly truth. Many on the Right believes they see that truth clearly. It’s the Democrats and their defund-the-police policies! they cry. And part of the responsibility for the madness does belong at that door…but only a part, and a small one at that. The larger problem – the explosion of amorality, especially among the Left’s mascot-groups – is one we have yet to address fearlessly.

     But let’s leave that to the side for a moment longer. The phenomenon that gripped me this morning is the belief that undoing the triggering event can undo what it triggered. For an example, here’s Rick Moran at PJ Media:

     Is it an accident that big cities with radical Democratic mayors and radical prosecutors are suffering from the most spectacular — and worrying — streak of organized retail theft in history?

     Democrats might want you to think that. They will claim that their radical policies with regard to criminal behavior have nothing to do with the lawbreaking that’s happening in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Minneapolis.

     Now, as I’ve already said, the anti-law-enforcement policies pursued by the Democrats do bear a small part of the responsibility. But that was more in the nature of a trigger than the whole cause. Yes, the correlation between zones of unchecked mass theft and Democrat political dominance is very strong. But while the thieves probably did go into action in part because of the Democrats’ anti-law-enforcement stance, there’s at least one more influence in the basket that plays a much larger role in the matter. Here’s Moran’s conclusion:

     The problem for these cities is that the situation won’t get any better until voters throw the radicals out. But there are so many people who think as the radical prosecutors think: the looters are justified in taking whatever they can carry because they are oppressed and victims of racism.

     “Throwing the radicals out” is necessary, a praiseworthy objective. But it won’t stuff the genie of organized mass theft back into its bottle. That is founded on a different phenomenon altogether.

     Just a little while ago, I wrote:

     If you can concentrate enough force and can move quickly enough, you can get away with anything.

     This has always been the case. It has nothing to do with police funding levels. Think for a moment about how much security, how well armed, and how ready to use lethal methods that Nordstrom’s in L.A. would have needed to prevent the robbery the lined story describes. Now think about applying that level and lethality of security to every retail establishment. The past couple of years we’ve seen the lower-end stores get targeted by flash mobs of teenagers – and the teens nearly always get away with it.

     America’s high-trust society was premised on the conviction that “people wouldn’t do such things.” That time has passed.

     Why has it passed? Atheism and moral relativism. There are now a sufficient number of persons who:

  1. Believe that there are no moral absolutes;
  2. Believe that there is no God and no after-life judgment;
  3. Believe that they won’t be arrested, tried, and punished in this life;

     …that they can:

  1. Find one another easily (especially in zones of high population density);
  2. Gather to plan a mass smash-and-grab of a selected store;
  3. Strike and escape before the police can react.

     …if, indeed, the police are minded to do so. Such behavior cannot be deterred by a security guard or two. It would take a platoon of such guards, armed and pre-authorized to use lethal force, to present a credible obstacle. How many retail establishments of any kind would willingly deploy such a force? What would it do to their business?

     What the cities are suffering today has always been possible. It wasn’t deterred by the threat of temporal punishment, but by the belief that even one who gets away with it today would have to answer for it in the next life. In other words, Americans of previous eras could do what today’s looters are doing, but they wouldn’t!

     American cultural influencers have been preaching against theism and moral absolutes for several decades. They’ve reaped a fair crop of converts. Is it any surprise that some of those converts are now acting on what they’ve been told? Is it any surprise that they’re concentrated in cities under Democrat control, where the political and cultural elite have told them repeatedly that “it’s not your fault; it’s society” — ?

     Revitalizing our urban police forces won’t put an end to this. Indeed, the problem might not be soluble, barring the extermination of all those who’ve seen that it’s doable and are undeterred by any moral or theological consideration. But even if that course were thinkable, how large a force, working for how many years under essentially no constraints, would it take to snuff it?

     These are not pleasant thoughts, but they’re important ones. Perhaps the diminution of our urban police forces was the trigger, or part of it. Simply reversing those calamitous policies won’t reverse the tide of thefts, any more than “reversing” the trigger of a gun would call the bullet back into the chamber. We have a much bigger and longer-term job to do – and we won’t even begin it until we admit that our passivity before the advancing tide of atheism and moral relativism was horribly wrong, a moral default.

     Edmund Burke, where are you when we need you?


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    • Steve (retired/recovering lawyer) on November 29, 2021 at 7:40 AM

    It deeply saddens me to observe that there seems to be one, and only one characteristic shared by all the looters, shoplifters, car-jackers and muggers operating with impunity throughout the cities (and apparently now expanding into the near suburbs).  However, one is constrained against uttering or publishing that characteristic for fear of being anathematized by those who control public discourse.  Yet, everyone knows what it is.  What does one do with such knowledge?

    1. Proclaim it fearlessly. If you don’t fear them, they can’t hurt you — and your courage will cause others to gather around you.

    • SteveF on November 29, 2021 at 12:10 PM

    I mentioned this over at Daynotes. Who knows, maybe someone will have an idea short of “kill them all”.

    1. If I may be permitted a spot of understatement, we could use one!

    • Georgiaboy61 on November 29, 2021 at 12:38 PM

    @ Francis P.

    Re: “Perhaps the diminution of our urban police forces was the trigger, or part of it. Simply reversing those calamitous policies won’t reverse the tide of thefts, any more than “reversing” the trigger of a gun would call the bullet back into the chamber. We have a much bigger and longer-term job to do – and we won’t even begin it until we admit that our passivity before the advancing tide of atheism and moral relativism was horribly wrong, a moral default.”

    The genius of the Founders was such that they created a republic whose central government was small and relatively weak, but whose polity and society were durable and strong, thanks to the interlocking web of customs, traditions, laws, rules, habits, and ways of living that bound the people in that new nation together. Or, as stated in the article, a “high-IQ, high-trust society” – which is how scholars describe such a society. This moral-behavioral ecosystem worked in tandem with the homogeneity of the population to form a new and revolutionary type of culture, one in which the people themselves were sovereign.

    Was it a perfect system? No, for no such thing exists. But it was an exceptional one. And now the communists – “Cultural Marxists” – have torn most of it down.Deconstructing – destroying – the foundations of western civilization has been their goal all along.

    What is likely to replace the high-trust, high-IQ culture of the Founders? It is difficult to ascertain just yet, but probably some variety of tribalism or factionalism. In the absence of an overarching and unifying culture, people tend to revert back to older and more-primordial ways of living – which in many cases  means tribalism.


    • Max M. Wiley on November 29, 2021 at 2:18 PM

    The ancient Greek proverb says “Society prospers when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never see.”

    There are very few trees being planted anymore, if any. History shows this process is one way, and accumulative. Tribalism and the state’s loss of the monopoly on violence are steps on the ladder – down, not up.

    This isn’t revolution, it’s devolution. God help those who remain ignorant and unprepared.

    • James Archer on November 29, 2021 at 2:50 PM

    Civilization is only held together by the willingness of the people to be civilized and to demand that others act accordingly.  The Kyle factor if you will.  Once the proportion of the people falls below a minimum number, 90 % in my opinion, we are back to the jungle.

    I do feel that the dissolution is fueled by party politics, or at least the leftist political parties.  I am not laying it all at the feet of the Democratic party as the left side of the Republicans as just as culpable.  Bringing in large numbers of individuals from failed societies, catering to the delusions of the sainted oppressed, teaching the young to hate their society, all originate from part of the political spectrum.

    It appears to me that the time to repair this has  passed as the divide is closer to 50/50 now and thus we are not voting our way out of this Only one revolution has succeeded in the history of the world and the second time is not a charm.


    • Roll-aid on November 29, 2021 at 3:46 PM

    The retailers also have considerable skin in the game.   If the few cases we have seen so far (and they are tiny in comparison to the whole) continue to metastasize, the option to close just those stores at risk goes away.

    Walgreens can close stores in San Francisco and other high-crime locations and see minimal losses, given it has over 9,000 locations in the 50 states.

    Best Buy has 1,036 stores.   A number are in urban locations, but most are in the ‘burbs…like Burnsville, MN.  I used to live about 2 miles from that store.  Burnsville has been for decades a second-tier suburb of Minneapolis but has gradually been ‘urbanized’.  Somehow, I have doubts if the perps who hit that store had to drive real far to get there.

    I’d expect to see more of the in-store inventory that are likely targets moved to secure storage areas and only brought out only when paid.  We see that now for small, valuable items like the “empty box software”.  Theft becomes armed robbery, a whole different level.

    Next step is a return to the last century’s “showroom” stores with no inventory at all, just samples for look and feel and fulfillment is entirely online with home delivery.

    That will further separate us as Americans from one another, a reminder to those past a certain age of what is was like to live in a high-trust world where everyone who entered a store was greeted as a customer and not a potential criminal.

    1. If your prognostication is correct — and it sounds right to me — the people who’ll be most discommoded are city-dwellers. Today, the cities still possess some middle-class residents, but those will disappear from the cities entirely should your analysis prove true. The larger cities are already trending toward a population of a few very wealthy families and a huge number of working-class and welfare-class families. It’s a grim prospect, but perhaps the era of the city has passed.

        • Roll-aid on November 29, 2021 at 8:18 PM

        That’s the definition of a feudal society. Next is the Left setting up hereditary offices with people who believe they are born to rule. Luckily we are not there yet, despite the Cuomo family.

    • Dan Fowler on December 1, 2021 at 10:30 AM

    I agree with all of the article, except the statement that it would take a platoon of armed security guards to stop the mass theft. No. Only two well placed guards, and likely only one cover, and with several magazines and semi-automatic weapons, would easily stop the mob if they were to quickly shoot. Stopping the first few with rapid fire bursts, would IMO quickly turn the mob around and they would run away in mass panic. A counter attack of course would be a different matter, but then we get into armed conflict and strategic tactics.

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