Anarchy sucks. I speak from experience – in one post-Soviet republic I lived in back in the late 90s, there was no rule of law. Being a police officer was one giant pyramid scheme of graft — the cops extorted money from the citizens, then paid off the guy above them. The courts were utterly corrupt too. As a result, the only people in jail were the very poor who didn’t have the cash to bribe their way out. Crime was high, and citizens formed local neighborhood vigilante committees to protect themselves (it’s starting in London as well). Results were about what one would expect — some bad guys got what was coming to them, and some people got what they didn’t deserve. But that’s what happens when government fails at one of its core functions: maintaining public order.
Watching the rioting in England for the 4th straight day, I have to wonder what the hell has happened. Out of control riots on Day 1 – okay, I’ll give the government a pass. Anyone can be caught off guard. Day 2? Less sympathetic. Day 4? No excuse.
No organization can do everything, and when they try to, things start to fall through the cracks. The British government is one of the biggest nanny states on the planet in terms of scope of interference in its citizens lives. But it seems to have lost the ability to maintain public order, the police wringing their hands about community policing while they continue to debate whether they should bring out the water cannons.
It’s sad. I’m sad for Britain and I’m sad for us, because we’re heading down the same road.