Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Realists Value Cops, Fantasists Not So Much

Yes, I just coined "fantasist," because I couldn't find an antonym for "realist."

Awhile back, I mused that instead of the left-right spectrum, or other imaginative ways of classifying people politically on a scale, we might do better to use a fantasy-realism spectrum. The funny thing is, you'd find self-proclaimed "libertarians" at about every point on it, depending on how much they depend on theory, as opposed to reality.

Now, I'm not knocking fantasy. I think it's great when it's a literary genre. But it's pretty useless in political theory. Indeed, one of the absolute best fantasy authors ever, Jack Vance, was brutally realistic when dealing with political theory within his fantasy stories, if you know what I mean. Read anything from his "Tales of the Dying Earth" series [link] and you'll catch on quick.

I decided some time ago to stake out the "realistic" corner of sociopolitics, and judge ideas from there. Probably the most reliable realistic thinkers are conservatives, as long as you don't get them mixed up with neoconservatives. They're very much into sticking with what works, being prudent about making changes, and being very skeptical about anybody's plans to tweak human nature for the better. For an example of that, real my last post on "The Essence of Conservatism." [link]

Liberals, in the "progressive" sense, are surely the most fantasy-based of the big political movements. They're a little more so than Marxists, even, because the latter usually acknowledge that they'll need to use force to make the changes they want. Liberals mostly think they can do it with the aid of helpful unicorns.

As an illustration of the fantasy-thinking of liberals, especially the young ones, here's a Steven Pinker piece that I've blogged about before:

When law enforcement vanishes, all manner of violence breaks out: looting, settling old scores, ethnic cleansing, and petty warfare among gangs, warlords and mafias. This was obvious in the remnants of Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and parts of Africa in the 1990s, but can also happen in countries with a long tradition of civility. As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike. By 11:20 A.M. the first bank was robbed. By noon most downtown stores had closed because of looting. Within a few more hours, taxi drivers burned down the garage of a limousine service that had competed with them for airport customers, a rooftop sniper killed a provincial police officer, rioters broke into several hotels and restaurants, and a doctor slew a burglar in his suburban home. By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundred shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted, before city authorities had to call ni the army and, of course, the Mounties to restore order. This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters (and offered a foretaste of life as a scientist).

And, like I said, libertarians vary. Some are even sillier than your average liberal. For the sake of symmetry, I classified the young Pinker as a liberal, though you could also consider him a member of the anarchist branch of libertarianism. Anyway, the sillier libertarians actually do say that we can do without cops, courts, etc., or privatize them all, or something. This is very much a fantasy, and Bob Wallace, the realistic kind of libertarian,  reminds us that people who are forced by circumstances to deal with reality and all its warts, like cops do all the time, are seldom fantasists. This is from Uncabob's Treehouse. [link]

I Should Have Been a Cop - For a While

I've pointed out before I consider myself a working-class intellectual, although I am no longer working-class. But I was raised that way. Both my parents were high-school dropouts who later got their GEDs.
I consider myself to have common sense, a sense of humor, and compassion. 
So imagine my surprise when some years ago I started reading some of Joseph Wambaugh's novels about his years as a police officer in Los Angeles. Wambaugh wrote the best police officers were working-class, with common sense, a sense of humor, and compassion.
In other words, someone with an IQ with 125 is probably going to make a pretty bad police officer. The average police officer IQ is about 107, I think, which is the minimum IQ it takes to get a civilized society off of the ground and functioning.
I've never hated cops and have found that people who don't much like them - especially the more boneheaded "libertarians" who think society doesn't need them - live in small, safe towns. Unlike me who was raised with a bunch of psycho criminals.
Some people need to be removed from society. Punishment sure as hell doesn't work and "rehabilitation," rarely. The purpose of prison is to remove chronic criminals from society.Personally I don't care if they give criminals whores and drugs (by the way, sex and drugs are easy to get in prisons - it's just sex with men. As for drugs marijuana is easy to get because it calms people down.). Just as long as these people are removed from non-criminal society.
I have found stereotypes about people are true. After all, they wouldn't be sterotypes if there wasn't truth to them. Promiscuous, diseased, drug-ridden homosexuals...yep. Impulsive, low-IQ blacks...yep. Nerdy, boring Asians...yep. Alcoholics who act as if they're possessed by demons and you can smell the booze coming out of their pores? You bet. Hookers with hearts of gold? That, well, no.
I have never met a police officer who was a liberal. When you have as much experience in life as I have, you wouldn't be a liberal, either.
I was the second-closest thing to being a police officer - I owned a taxi for five years. And there is no such thing as a liberal cab driver. We've just about seen it all (about a quarter of the time I left like I was working vice).
Of course there are bad police officers. I'd estimate about ten percent, which of course is way too many.
But I'd like to see society function without a minimum of them.
Quibcag: Illustrated by Yumi the adorable cop, from Detective Conan, AKA Meitantei Conan (名探偵コナン).


  1. Cop-out?
    The problem is not so much good v.s. bad cops, but they aren't evenly distributed. The latest Molyneux call in show features a good Cop who says the citizenry should be armed. There's cspoa.org and Sheriffs Mack and Clarke.
    One reason I'm where I am is I specifically looked for where I could call 911 and not fear a bad result. copblock.org, policemisconduct.net, photographyisnotacrime.com freethoughtproject.com all document abusive behavior.

    Interesting observation: Where they murdered Terri Schiavo with the deputies guarding her (some in the room where she was being killed) was Pinellas county and that has one of the highest rates of "bad cops". Portions of the west have the lowest. The attitude is very different (especially in constitutional carry areas).

  2. While I believe we need to have cops, I also believe strongly that they should be kept under very strict control. Cops going rogue (like in NOLA where a bunch of them were moonlighting as hitmen for the local Mob) are dreadfully dangerous.