• State vs. Community

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    There
    are some crimes, which are peculiarly repulsive to humanity. Crimes
    which raise the ire and exude contempt for those who perpetrate
    such acts.

    One
    such criminal act is child killing, an act rightly held in the highest
    condemnation by society, but often inconsistently so in the ages
    past (as we see in the abortion controversy). Especially vilified
    are those who were charged with the care of such little ones but
    were found wanting in the most abominable way.

    Such
    people warrant the limit of a society’s sanctions and often receive
    a double portion of retribution when their prison inmates find out
    the true nature of their incarceration.

    So,
    when we were confronted with the tragic cases of torture and finally
    murder meted out to Lauren
    Wright
    (aged 6) and Victoria
    Climbie
    (aged 8), society began to ask the usual questions.

    The
    first being “How could people do such a thing?” and the answer to
    that remains the same whilst human nature retains a propensity to
    commit incorrigible evil.

    The
    second question is more relevant to those of an anti-statist disposition
    when it is asked why such a thing was not preventable.

    Indeed,
    the decivilising forces inherent in encroaching statism not only
    trickle down to those who commit such acts but also to those who
    have a part to play in the curbing of lawlessness. I will address
    the second group because they include our own law-abiding selves.

    Whether
    one is a libertarian or otherwise does not change the axiom that
    the liberty of community must survive in order that the liberty
    of the individual survives. The Christian builds this upon the concept
    of “common grace” whilst the secularist may refer to it as the herd
    instinct (I am open to a nobler sounding phrase than that).

    When
    the plight of an abused child is ignored by neighbours pre-occupied
    with their internal affairs to the exclusion of others then community
    becomes a mere aggregate of dissolving social links. Man is a social
    creature who is at his prime fulfilment when he is engaged in the
    business of relationships.

    I
    venture that the concept of community is likened to the layered
    effect of an onion, which has the individual at the centre with
    varying concentric shells of family, local community and regional
    culture. A common and regional culture may include the nation-state
    but this is not mandatory, as we see in the primary distinction
    and allegiance to tribes within an artificially imposed national
    boundary.

    The
    further that two layers are from each other, the less effective
    and even threatening they are to one or the other on the grounds
    of unfamiliarity, cultural disparity and a distance that leads to
    increasing indifference and even xenophobic hostility.

    Therefore,
    each layer immediately above the one below acts as a buffer with
    it in a symbiotic manner against the layers above, which ensures
    the survival of each for the benefit of each.

    So,
    take away the tribe or nation-state and the community is at the
    mercy of other tribes and nation-states.

    Take
    away the community and the family is at the mercy of foreign communities
    and tribes/nations.

    Take
    away the family and the individual himself is threatened and neglected
    by foreign families and beyond.

    Take
    away the individual and the destruction of society is complete.

    Why
    do I say “threatened” or “foreign”? Simply, because each layer which
    is in contact with its immediate neighbour has a unique familiarity
    which offers security and aid.

    The
    individual is best served by his or her own genetically related
    family. The community is not as good as the family in serving the
    individual. How sadly this was demonstrated in these two girls who
    were being “cared” for by those who were not their natural mothers.

    Moreover,
    the family unit is best served by the community of common families
    within the boundary defined by the range of face-to-face contact.
    It is not a social community, which relies on multi-megabit communication
    links to sustain its existence. Talking to people across the Internet
    lacks the warmth and immediacy of the human face. The regular altruistic
    contact and amiable conversation between those separated by fractions
    of a mile rather than freeways and oceans is a proven builder of
    relationships and hence motivation to effective and sincere mutual
    aid.

    And,
    finally, the community is best served by other immediate tribal
    communities, who share a common, regional culture rather than that
    of a distant dialect or even ethic.

    Which
    brings us back to the sad cases of these two little girls and, at
    which point, I bring in the State and its Social Welfare arm which
    was exposed as appallingly negligent in heeding the warnings of
    neighbours. The social workers and managers were given sufficient
    warnings to remove these kids from their abusers. Why did they not
    do this?

    For
    the usual reasons – overworked, underpaid and under motivated staff.
    For less personal reasons beyond that, such as the bureaucratic
    paper trail and the legal bear traps underneath that impale the
    unwary with poison tipped lawsuits from falsely accused guardians.

    But
    there is one prime reason, which the State will not accede to, and
    that is that there are others who can do the job of community and
    family welfare better than itself. In fact, so much better, that
    the State is not needed at all.

    The
    two girls as individuals lacked the first layer of protection —
    those over them with a close genetic interest in their future. They
    thus fell back on the next layer of the community and encountered
    immediate problems for the State has helped oversee the increasing
    dissolution of the concept of communion within community.

    Strip
    away the family, the community and even the tribal region and we
    see the omnipotent State offering to us the sophistry of the global
    village. It is a sedative which whispers to the layers below such
    promises as "We have the money.", "We have the technology.",
    "We have the professionals." and "We have the sanctions.".

    They
    do indeed. One thing they cannot say, though, is "We have the
    love." and "We have the compassion." and therein
    lies the reason why their professionals will remain just that and
    no more. These people are paid to do a job; they expect money in
    return for their services. If they are not paid, how many will betray
    their ultimate indifference to the little ones they claim to have
    an interest in?

    The
    neighbours who warned the Social Services of the evil going on did
    their part in the family-community symbiosis. They expected no pay
    rises in return or "employee of the month" awards, only
    justice. They too were failed. Neighbours who watched these little
    children come in and out each day grew to know them and develop
    and interest in their well being through the milk of human kindness.
    Such is the concept and evolution of this microcosm of society.

    But
    the bureaucracy and monolith of the Welfare State knows none of
    this — it is a robot, it is a machine which pounds to the pistons
    of dogma rather than the beat of the compassionate human heart.
    It is a creature that cannot properly participate in a community
    for its ultimate allegiance lies in the distant and centralised
    offices of the Senate or Parliament or, worse, in the manifesto
    of its ruling party.

    It
    skewers through the layers of our metaphorical onion in the name
    of common national interest and then watches as the life juices
    of that delicate and multi-layered organism ebb away through that
    wound whilst all the time agitating for more taxes to staunch the
    flow of the resulting society ills.

    Yet,
    the thing that rankles most is that they do not appear to comprehend
    that they are part of the problem rather than the solution. I would
    that they knew they were culpable, for change may be quicker if
    they ever repented of it.

    Libertarians,
    I hope, should not seek purely the role of complainers. We are problem
    solvers as well. Or, in this case, the community is the solution
    to State interference and sloth. The State has played its part in
    desensitising the fellow feeling of community, it is not the sole
    guilty party in this, but it is a large player.

    The
    family and community combine to form a buttress against the State.
    In these small groupings within society individuals can find the
    protection to express themselves fully without fear of a centralised
    planner imposing a homogenous culture upon all.

    Who
    is my neighbour? Let us learn the answer to that question anew lest
    the State redefines the very meaning of family and community before
    our very eyes.

    October
    22 ,
    2001

    Roland
    Watson [send him
    mail
    ] writes from Edinburgh, Scotland.

    ©
    2001 LewRockwell.com

    Roland
    Watson Archives

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