Culture of fear

My heading is, as too often, inspired by a morning squint through the news. The phrase came up a couple of times; I had seen it before. I gather Trumpf’s gauleiters have been trying to isolate the leakers of (often fake) state secrets, from deep within the vast Washington bureaucracy. This, preparatory to firing and prosecuting them. A “culture of fear” has been thereby created, I suppose because the great majority of bureaucrats are Smug Left, and on the side of the leakers. Most would not themselves leak, however: they have not the cojones. Nevertheless they feel a “chilling effect,” according to the usual Smug Left media. Good news: I’m all for refrigerating these people.

One of the more important functions of civilization, is to create a “culture of fear” among criminal malefactors, and have upon their actions a “chilling effect.”

Gentle readers have been sending me links to the protests in Hamburg, for the G-20 meetings. Frankly I consider such meetings no use, except as excuse for a bibulous party. It is as Bergson said of philosophical congresses: the only reason to attend is to look in the faces of the authors of contorted prose. One glance, and you see it had no meaning at all; that they’ve been wasting your time.

And why give the sick seedy anarchists of Europe a place to congregate? Except for the purpose of performing a cull? But the Hamburg police have made few arrests. And even when they detain someone, they are so dainty about it. What are truncheons for?

I think of Baudelaire’s remarks on the street anarchists of Paris in 1846:

“You whose casual curiosity has drawn you into the thick of a street riot, have you felt the same joy as I, at the sight of some worthy custodian of the public slumbers, be he policeman or municipal guard, cudgelling a republican? And like me, you will have said in your heart: Whack on, whack a bit harder, whack again, oh! officer dear to my heart, for in this ultimate cudgelling I adore thee, and see thee as Jupiter, great dispenser of justice. The man thou cudgellest is an enemy of roses and scents, a fanatic of utility; he is an enemy of Watteau, of Raphael, an arch enemy of luxury, of literature and the fine arts; a sworn iconoclast; a butcher of Venus and Apollo!”

Now many of these Hamburg demonstrators are sweet: I mean those slathered in clay, depicting zombies, striking poses for the cameras and the mavens of fashion design. They would not hurt a fly, and reciprocally, our policy should be catch and release.

But what of those who throw petrol bombs, swing axes, smash windows, loot? To say nothing of their very foul language. I’ve been wondering what to do, and after long cogitation have a proposal to inculcate a “culture of fear,” that will have a “chilling effect” on that sort of behaviour.

We could tell the police to shoot them.