To Protect and Subdue

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I saw this in the Tower of London on a recent visit to England:

William Duke of Normandy defeats the English at Hastings and is crowned King 25 December 1066. By 1078 work is underway building the White Tower — a symbol of Norman power to protect and subdue Londoners. Unfinished at William’s death in 1087, it is finally completed in 1102.

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard such a perfect succinct summary of the State’s relation to “its people.” If contemporary police cars had “To protect and subdue” written on the side instead of “to protect and serve,” would anyone doubt the accuracy of the description? Would anyone even notice?

8:05 am on May 16, 2010