People on the dissident right talk about the difference between high trust and low trust societies. In a high trust society, you have communities where doors and cars aren’t locked, people can walk in cities at night without fear of being mugged and children can play outside without their mothers fearing for their lives.
This week Waukesha, Wisconsin found out that a Christmas Parade is something you don’t attend in a low trust society. I’ve lived in small towns and large cities. But the size of the community isn’t the defining parameter for how safe a place it is. The difference is whether the community tolerates lawlessness. The classic urban example is New York City. Back in the 1970s and 1980s New York City degenerated into a high-crime environment where assault and robbery were at epidemic levels. Very expensive neighborhoods in Manhattan were deserted at night because muggers would emerge out of Central Park at night and prey on the affluent inhabitants. And a million inhabitants exited the city to escape the dangerous environment. When Rudy Giuliani became mayor there in 1992, he used the police department to shut down the violent crime but he also took a zero-tolerance approach toward quality-of-life violations like squeegee men harassing drivers and deranged homeless people engaging in depravity on the city streets. So even though New York City is an enormous impersonal place, for twenty years it was one of the safest large cities in the country. The program was so successful that it allowed a new generation of progressives to take over the city. And this new generation had no fear of violence. And this same generation is running all the cities of America. And they are now learning exactly why a police force with zero tolerance for lawlessness is the only way to have a city as large as New York safe.
But now look at a place like Waukesha. It has a population of 70,000 people. It has been fairly crime free and well ordered for its whole history and the people there probably think of their home as a big town rather than a city. It has local sports teams and small companies as employers and community activities centered on schools and churches. It has a relatively small black population and no major inner-city crime problem. But then last year in neighboring Minnesota the George Floyd riots began and black criminals became convinced that they could no longer be arrested. And so, for the last year black criminals have behaved as though there is no brake on their activities. If they commit a crime and the police show up, they do not surrender. They bolt and often the police just let them go. None of the police want to end up on trial for shooting a black suspect. They remember Derek Chauvin and his fate. None of them want that so they’ll let these perpetrators escape. And that’s how you get to a place like Waukesha today where people think they’re living in a safe place when they’re really not.
The only question left to answer is where will pushback finally happen? New York voted in a black former NYPD officer as mayor. This is a change from the anti-police, anti-white mayor Bill DeBlasio they currently suffer under. But it’s not clear whether the will is there yet to meaningfully correct the weakening of the police there. I believe things will have to get a lot worse before anything effective will be done.
In the meantime, people living in cities, large and small, need to realize what their new environment means for their safety. Being mistaken about what kind of a place they now live in could cost them a lot, maybe all.