Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Problem with Anarchy

I’m not a person who loves cops. Don’t get me wrong: one of my favorite cousins spent 30 years on the New Orleans police force, and a friend of mine was a cop for many years. So I know some cops are good, compassionate people. Unfortunately, other cops are not. Power can bring out the worst in people, and some cops are insufferable assholes on power trips with the ethical standards of a mob hit man. Which is a bad combination with a badge and a gun.

Why, you might ask, is she writing about cops? Because I’m tired of the lack of cops on our streets. Just as power brings out the worst in some cops, I have come to realize that a lack of cops brings out the worst in some drivers. And they seem to be degenerating as the months go by. Blatantly running red lights and stop signs. Going 20-30 miles over the speed limit in residential neighborhoods. Tailgating. Yes, some of these drivers are lost in a post-Katrina, stress-induced fog. But most are just louts.

It would be nice to think that people can police themselves. Nice to think that even when no one’s watching, people still do the right thing. Some do. Some don’t. Hand a bunch of GIs guns and turn them loose in Iraq, and some will rape and murder and steal when no one is watching. Turn a bunch of New Orleans drivers loose on the streets with no cops, and they start killing people, too—with their cars. Which I suppose is why anarchism is attractive as a political theory, but deadly in practice.

End of rant.

What I’m reading… BUDDHA, by Karen Armstrong. I enjoyed her book on Islam so much, I decided to give this one a try. It’s even better.

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