In praise of anarchy

Good: Trump fired Comey. About time. I have nothing against the man, but he needed to be fired. Everyone should be fired, it builds character. I will draw the line at hanging, usually. But yes, turn them out on the street, make them earn a living.

That is incidentally my scheme for the improvement of all modern business and government. Fire everybody. For instance, fire Trump. By all means fire Trudeau. Get all their henchmen off the public teat. As gentle reader must know, I am opposed in principle to all non-hereditary office-holding, and employees who expect a steady cheque. This leads to being ruled by a certain class of pushy, noisome, interfering bosses. In particular, no one should take a management job, unless he is stuck with it.

Well, maybe keep Trump. He’s stuck with the job, and doesn’t need the pay. And besides, he seems to be good at firing people.

As a sometime reader of Fielding, I consider myself a connoisseur of the police functions. I think of the FBI, or its equivalent in any other national jurisdiction, chiefly as a public menace. They’re as likely to be in league with the malefactors, as against them. To be sure, there are some things that need to be investigated, to which end I propose an informal network of Chandleresque “dicks,” commissioned case by case. If they catch the malefactor, a big reward; and a pretty funeral should they happen to die trying. If they fail, let them beg for half of their expenses.

Spies, and counter-spies, ditto. They are only doing a private investigator’s work, in a more cosmopolitan environment. Don’t be a frayer; pay for results. This is what we used to do, and it worked much better. Salarymen, as the Japanese call them, are only there to collect salaries.

Most policemen do simpler work. They are night watchmen. In cities like Chicago, there are day watchmen, too. They should be big and burly and fairly well-armed. I’m not against hiring women, so long as they meet the height and weight requirements, and can run a five-minute mile. Watchmen should supply their own sparkling uniforms, as other tools of their trade. And they should collect their wages from the people by whom their services are required. (Bankers understand this.) A neighbourhood cop should report to the neighbourhood. If they find him sleeping, then, hail and farewell.

This is more or less my approach to everything. My favourite newspaper editor, who almost fired me on several occasions (Neil Reynolds, of blesséd memory), treated all his staff as if they were free-lancers. And free agents: he’d ask politely if you wanted the assignment, never taking that for granted. Only if you didn’t, would he dump you. He had no use for unions. He loved being sued. Everything around him was creative chaos. “People who don’t like this kind of work should try farming,” he once explained.

We live in an age of vast organizations. Even in the Vatican, it’s like that. I was reminded yesterday of sainted Pope John XXIII, asked by some newsman how many worked there. “About half,” he replied.

Of course, not everyone is suited to a frenetic life. The great majority are content to be poor. The rich are mostly happy to inherit. Why should we bother them with goods they don’t need? I have no prejudice against the quiet harmless poor, or birthright wealth, either. I don’t think it right to disturb such people.