Defunding police will leave a bigger void than leftists realize

Leftism is a rules-based system, not a morals-based system. Societies with only morals can manage without police; societies with only rules cannot.

Growing up in San Francisco, I navigated through the geography of my community by the compass. The Pacific was to the west, the Bay was to the east, the Golden Gate Bridge was to the north, and San Francisco State, Stonestown Mall, and Lowell High School were to the south. These were absolute values. No matter where I was in the City, if I could just find one of my compass points, I wasn’t lost.

Absolute values are even more useful when you’re in an unfamiliar place. If someone tells you to go left on Main, left on State, right on Laurel, and left on Oak, you’ll do fine as long as you keep your left and your right properly aligned at all times. But woe betide you if you get turned around, because then right is left and left is right, and before you know it, you’re re-living Thomas Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities. However, if someone tells you to go east at the intersection of State and 1st, or to turn west after you pass the donut shop, you’ll always know where you go.

Morals are compass points. They function as blazing neon lights that keep us from getting lost in a complicated world. They’re not situational, except in the greatest of extremes. For the most part, the Eighth Commandment (Thou shalt not steal) is clear. If it’s not yours, don’t take it, whether it’s money, a toy, a package in front of someone’s house, another person’s freedom, or someone’s life. We understand that exigent circumstances, such as survival in war or famine, create exceptions but mostly it’s pretty clear. If you steal from greed, laziness, boredom, or a desire for thrills, you are not moral.

The Sixth Commandment (Thou shalt not murder) is also clear. Murder’s most basic definition is intentionally killing another for no reason other than to achieve a wrongful benefit or to satisfy a sick or intemperate pleasure. The commandment allows for killing in self-defense or to defend another, or to fight in a (presumably just) war. Our laws carve out other exceptions, such as negligence or insanity, but everything is still a subset of that big moral imperative: Don’t murder people.

The great thing about these large moral principles is that they’re always there. They’re there if you’re in the city or the country, if you’re black or white, if you’re male or female, gay or straight, or whatever other condition you want to put on yourself. Don’t steal. Don’t kill. You’re not lost with these moral directives; you can always find your way.

Morals are our compass points.

But morals don’t exist in a vacuum. What all angry mother’s eventually holler — “Because I said so” — is not a sound basis for a continuing moral system. If you can say so, that means everyone else can say so too. Morals become opinions. That might work for a single generation, with people tend to cluster around the same opinions, but mere opinions eventually lose their persuasive powers.

That’s where God comes in. Significantly, you don’t need to have everyone in society believing in God. Instead, it’s like herd immunity. If enough people believe that these vast principles come from an external, timeless, source, the principles will integrate into societal behavior. The non-believers may discount God but will rationalize their way to accepting that the principles silly people believe come from God are still good things.

In a society that is committed to these principles, the moral equivalent of herd immunity works to keep the majority of the people in line. Policing can indeed be community policing, with a minimalist police force, if the majority of people share the same moral values. That works best in a small, like-minded community. The bigger the population, the lower the herd immunity, the more people will deviate from the big rules and the more help you need armed help to constrain bad actors who reject the rules.

And then there’s leftism. Leftism has no fixed principles. Well, that’s not quite true. The fixed principle is power. Everything else is an ever-changing system of rules that help carry out whatever objectives the state happens to have on that day. In a leftist society, it’s impossible to be “moral,” because there are no compass points that define moral behavior. Today you can rob from the rich because they oppose the state. Tomorrow you can’t rob from the rich because they are the state. There’s no moral principle attached to stealing. The rules simply apply to who’s in and who’s out.

Power accrues to the rule-makers, who are careful to change the rules constantly in order to stay one step ahead of everyone else. Stand still and someone else will be making the rules to prove that they have the power and suddenly you’re the one in the gulag or staring down the wrong end of a gun — and you definitely need the gun to enforce the rules because they are not internal rules. They’re arbitrary and capricious, and you need neurotic people bouncing around frantically to stay one step ahead of “the law.” When they’re doing that, they’re not trying to overthrow the power brokers.

What’s so funny about Minneapolis, which just voted to do away entirely with police, is that the leftists-in-charge belief that people will simply behave well because of “the community.” What they fail to grasp is that “the community” is not a value. It’s just a collective.

This new Minneapolis community will end up having rule makers, but no rule enforcers. And because it’s leftist, there won’t be any external values to constrain people’s worst instincts. The members of the collective will do what they want. And as the lawbreakers realize that there’s nothing to hold them back, their victims will get very violent in an attempt to stave them off.

I’ve noted before that the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul get away with their virtue signaling because they’re pretty, nice cities. Their garbage gets picked up, people have virtue-signaling signs in their yards, and homes are spacious and pleasant looking. That’s going to end with remarkable speed.

I keep thinking of Zimbabwe and it’s total collapse after Mugabe announced that he was going to give all the farms to black people because whites were evil colonialists. Unfortunately, the blacks didn’t know how to farm. In less than a decade, Zimbabwe went from being one of Africa’s more prosperous nations to being an economic basketcase, with people starving in the streets. The fall, once it happens, is fast.

Just listen to the immoral — whoops! I meant immortal words of Minneapolis’s uber-white, anarcho-socialist City Council president, Lisa Bender, discussing the fact that it’s “privileged” to expect police protection.

The woman has no morals. She’s just a sea of soft-sounding words and, behind it all, a lust for power. Minnesota is going to have a white-flight the likes of which has never been seen in America, even in areas such as Detroit in the 1970s. The only thing that makes me sad is that the leftists leaving those cities, like the Bourbons, will have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They’ll head to safe conservative communities (made up of both blacks and whites), and work hard to destroy those communities’ moral underpinnings and replace them with leftism’s power-based, morality-free rules.