Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Proper Government Cannot Allow "No Go" Areas

One of the little factoids that has popped up to my attention in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings is the existence of the French "Zones urbaines sensibles" -- or "no go" areas, where the police don't go to enforce the law of the land.

Sorry, Charlie, but that won't wash. Let us inquire of the political philosopher, Norman Tebbit, once minister under Margaret Thatcher in Britain. Says he:
A state must have a territory over which it is sovereign, and a people who owe it allegiance.  It must have the capacity (and the will) to defend its territorial boundaries and its people from aggressors. It must provide not only external but internal security, allowing its citizens to go about their lawful business freely, and criminal and civil justice systems as well as a currency and the regulatory and legislative infrastructure needed for agriculture, industry and trade.
That's in the first chapter of my magisterial American Manifesto; it is called "Government and the Technology of Power." Notice the key words: "territory over which it is sovereign." That means no "no-go" zones.  Did you know that in 2006, according to Daniel Pipes, there were 751 "no-go" zones in France?

Of course, one of the points of "The Technology of Power" is that most of what government does these days has nothing to do with these basic jobs. But after a while I talk about proto-states, like the territory controlled by an insurgent group, or the Red Base in southern China occupied in the 1930s by Mao ZeDong and Zhou Enlai. These proto-states operate exactly like a real state. They tax, they spend, they draft soldiers, and defend their territory from other states. Go on, read about it.

There are, of course, no-go zones in the United States. I am thinking about criminal gangs and South Chicago, where businesses pay protection money to the gangs, and the writ of the police is weak.

After the disaster of urban crime in the 1970s, conservatives decided to come up with a solution to urban crime. That's what "broken windows" policing is all about. It is about prosecuting criminal activity even in the most pathetic inner-city ghetto, and its technology, CompStat, is a system to measure how well the cops are doing, individually and collectively in suppressing criminal activity. That, of course, is what President Obama and Attorney General Holder have been attacking in Seattle and other cities across the US. Only it looks like the assassination of two NYPD cops recently might have put their cunning plan on hold.

I've had a bit of an epiphany in the last two weeks that relates to all this. No, not from the cop assassination and the Charlie Hebdo killings. Not at all. I expect that sort of thing, and I expect it to get worse before it gets better.

No, my little epiphany came from reading the early chapters of The Sources of Social Power by sociologist Michael Mann. In writing about the first agricultural societies, Mann talks about "caging." The early irrigating farmers were caged, because they could no longer escape from their governments. They needed government to defend their improvements and the mechanisms of their alluvial irrigation.

If the caging idea is true about the first agriculturalists, then it is doubly, triply true about us, living in the post-industrial west. There is no way we can survive for a day, let alone a season, unless the whole apparatus of modern society keeps running, and running well.

So we expect our governments to do their job, dammit, and do it well. Because if we are caged, then we insist that Muslim immigrants be equally caged and subject to state power.

It is, I suggest, absolutely unacceptable for modern multicultural governments to allow Muslim "no-go" zones in their cities. First of all, governments must insist that everyone, even the little darlings of the ruling class, obey the law. Second, a real government cannot allow the formation of proto-states within its territory, any more than the United States allows Russia the right to operate military bases in the continental United States.

Government is force. Government must be sovereign, force-wise, within its own territory.

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