There’s a movement afoot in America, one that predates the current fuss over the George Floyd killing, to defund the police, if not entirely then certainly by some amount in excess of just a little. If we want to reduce crime against persons or property, goes the argument, transfer the money to social programs designed to demotivate these activities.
Whether such a reallocation of resources will achieve this end is an empirical question, for which it’s almost impossible to conduct a controlled experiment. But in any event the proposal is not very convincing to someone whose bicycle has just been stolen. And almost every one of us has just had his bicycle stolen, in the wake of which we want to increase police presence, and so to up police funding.
On both sides of the 49th, this has become a class issue, which correlates with a race issue. We suburban whites want to be protected from those people, and no one of us can afford to wait two or three generations for these social programs to do their intended job. Those people want to be protected from each other, and they’re saddled with the same understandable impatience.
But they also want to be protected from those protecting us from them, and from each other, because in the minds of those we hire to defend us, the best defence is an offence. As in South Africa under Apartheid, scare the shit out of the ‘kaffirs’ and keep them scared. It worked in South Africa, at least until it didn’t. But presumably #Black Lives Matter in the U.S., and #Idle No More in Canada, are putting our defenders on notice that it’s no longer going to work here.
Notice that, yes, but notice of what? What’s the or-else? There isn’t one. On both sides of the border the placards read “No Peace Without Justice”. But there’s a placard that’s not being hoisted alongside these, reading “No Justice Without …” fill-in-the-blank. It’s not being hoisted because no one’s willing to fill in that blank. In South Africa, justice, such as it is, was achieved without bloodshed. I’m guessing the SJWs here in the U.S. and Canada are hoping they can replicate that miracle.
Given the history of these efforts, I’m skeptical. But as a suburban white, shouldn’t I also be thankful for the status quo? Hmm …