Friday, August 7, 2020

What happens when riots are a normal part of life?

Despite the desperate attempts by the increasingly irrelevant media to call them "peaceful protests", they are riots and they're occurring in most of America's large cities.  Either order will be restored or we will see the re-emergence of what we've seen throughout history when life is precarious.  While history is out of fashion and no longer taught in school, the lessons of history are clear - the Gods of the Copybook Headings did not get their name by accident.

So what happens when people live precariously, under continual threat of violence?  They flee to safer places.

This is an entrance to the underground city of Derinkuyu in Turkey.  There were many of these underground cities in the region; Derinkuyu was the largest, supporting as many as 20,000 people in five levels extending 200 feet underground.  You might wonder why anyone would want to live underground in these conditions, or why they would have gone to that much trouble to excavate the city.

Well, it beats being slaughtered or enslaved by invaders.  The eastern portion of the Roman Empire survived the Eternal City's 476 AD fall, but by the 650s was in big trouble from the new Islamic Caliphate.  The Emperor Heraclius had lost the richest part of the empire - Syria and Egypt, perhaps 75% of his tax base - to the Caliph in the 640s, and now annual raids were penetrating the heartland of the empire.  And so the people dug, and hid.  

Or fled.  A new field of archaeology is called Palynology, the study of old, preserved pollen.  It provides insight into the plants that existed in a location at a particular time in the past.  Of course, you need a site that preserves the old pollen, and there are not a lot of them.  Lake Nar is one of them, and as it turns out, one of the best in the world for preserving pollen in a highly datable manner.  The chemistry of the lake - fed by hot springs - causes alternating light and dark sediment bands to be laid down each year, so archaeologists can do exceptionally precise pollen analysis and dating.  Lake Nar is only 15 miles or so from Derinkuyu.  So what do we see, pollen-wise, in the 650s and 660s AD?

We see the complete collapse of the late antique agricultural economy of the region.  The pollens had been representative of a typical late Roman agricultural profile - olives, grapes, and grain production dominated.  Then in the space of ten years it shifted almost entirely to the kind of weeds you find in abandoned agricultural land.  Then later it turned to forest.

Life was too precarious for the population.  They were killed, or dragged off to slavery, or they left - some perhaps to dig more tunnels at Derinkuyu.

Now think about Detroit, Minneapolis, Portland, and New York City.  Crime is way up, riots are a regular occurrence, the people are living precariously.  What will they do?

Well, some will stay, and submit.  For these, life almost certainly will be less prosperous than it had been.  That means that there will be less to loot, or to skim off the top in extortion.  The rioters are eating their seed grain, but having fun while they do it.

Others will fight back.  We'll see how that goes when the Organs Of The State side with the rioters.

The ones who can will leave.  That's happening in New York City, which is losing their wealthiest citizens.  That's a real problem for the local government, since the wealthiest 1% of the population pays half the income tax revenue.  Heraclius lost most of his tax base, too, and the Empire was never the same again.

Civilized society is a very fragile thing.  We've had fifty years where society was peaceful here in this land.  People think that is a normal thing, that it can never change, that prosperity is a pre-existing condition for beautiful Progressive Dreams.  But the rioters and looters are having fun, and are getting loot.  Appetites are being established, appetites that are in conflict with the pre-existing prosperity required for the Progressive Dreams.

But people are people.  History tells us what happens to a land where the government cannot keep the peace.  


libertyman said...

That is a lot of digging, I wonder how they handled all the mundane parts of life like getting food and illumination?

I wonder how they celebrated birthdays underground...

John said...

There are wholesale looters called Socialists and Communists (now in the Democrat Machine)
who give permission to their bully boys to be retail looters.
The former steal a Nation, the latter pick its bones.

Old NFO said...

The major cities WILL descend into anarchy, sooner rather than later. And then it gets 'interesting'...

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Civilization is a fragile thing - much more fragile in some ways than before since most of the population is not involved in agriculture. Food in these situation becomes very precious - and very scarce.

And yes, the fleeing inhabitants of New York are only a dim harbinger of what will probably occur. The problem is, where is there to run to anymore?

Aesop said...

"When government sides with the rioters..."

When there is no longer even lip service paid to the Social Contract, government minions will be on "Open Season, and screw the bag limit" status to all comers, because after the first one, ALL the rest are free.

At that point whoever has established or can establish an alternative shadow government structure will become the de facto government.
Whatever's left of TPTB from beforehand will either join it, or die.

In short order afterwards, the central government will send in troops to round up the original looters, or else get fed into the meatgrinder like the feckless minions that preceeded them.

People in this country will do a lot of things.
Rolling over to play dead for thieves and thugs isn't one of them.
There will either be the form of government people expected and got for 200 years, PDQ, or there will be one helluva culling until it comes about.

The American republic is assuredly fragile, but it's a damned sight more resilient than anarchy or tyranny, and homegrown @$$hats will find that out just about as shockingly and unpleasantly as did a host of lesser minds on several continents.

And reversion to the reign of Committees Of Vigilance is as American as baseball and apple pie, twice as fun, and never more than a few claw marks beneath the veneer of common civility. Multiply that by 600M-1B guns, in the hands of an armed citizenry 200X larger than all the armies in the world, combined, and the time to cull the troublesome 5% or so is measured in hours, not months.

And as a direct result, the mean IQ of the continent will rise by the volley.
War weeds out stupid people and sheep with a monstrously large scythe.

All the so-called "rioting" in any given locale wouldn't present any serious challenge to any 50-shooter relay in boot camp, let alone anyone more organized. Once the price of free shoes and TVs is a bullet in the face, the riots are magically over, usually for decades.

I've lived through two citywide riots, and both times, once the ROE became "shoot the bastards on sight", the party was OVER, within minutes. And the current crop of spoiled snowflakes aren't a shadow on the crowds from the '60s, and come off looking like the spoiled thumbsuckers they are with any sort of active resistance.
When bullets fly, their alleged principles and causes will be drowned under the pitter patter of running feet headed back to Momma's basement.

In most cases, the quickest and best lesson to teach them would be to rub their noses in a few score dead and crippled comrades, and let the lesson soak in thoroughly.

That's one schoolhouse that needs to open soon, and the lesson plan repeated until no one wants to play in the streets for a loooong, loooong time, and for real reasons, not cobbled up horse$#!^.

The current bunch of LARPing cosplayers needs to be outted on that reality, pour encourager les autres.
Televise it on pay-per-view, and the revenue would balance the federal budget, and put network TV out of business.

Glen Filthie said...

You surprise, Aesop. I would have figured you for a hysteric, given your fondness for fake plagues, weaponized toy multirotors and other bogeymen! ;)

But, minus the gas you are essentially correct. The other side hasn't shown up to riot yet. When they do it's all over. Like our neurotic greek philosopher - we mustn't turn these cretins into fire breathing undefeatable demons. This is essentially what we are dealing with:

Elderly harpies, spoiled kids, greasy losers and street people. They will not do will in the conflict they are bringing down on themselves.

LSP said...

When the centre falls apart and cannot hold... and the beast slouches towards Bethlehem?

Getting right near on it, I'd say.

Aesop said...

1500 freshly dead/day again is quite the "fake" pandemic for Wave 2 (of ??), Gilligan.
This peak still has a couples of weeks to go, and it's yet only August.

The upside - the only one - is that with 50-80% of the country not having their heads firmly clenched between their butt cheeks, we'll probably get one of the mildest flu seasons on record this winter.

But that's wiped out entirely by what'll probably be 4-6X as many deaths from Kung Flu as a record bad flu year, before we get to toting up the economic costs and the other 98 problems from this little soiree.

Those of you making snow cones on the deck of Titanic will be in for a cold shock once the seawater is lapping about your shoes, but best wishes with ignoring the obvious as a strategy.