Friday, August 10, 2007

Alternative Structures for a Civil Society

Civil societyWe are on our own.

This is a frequent refrain in this space. Across the entire West, our elected governments are failing to do the most basic job of protecting their citizens. At the same time we — the electorate — for some reason find ourselves unable to elect anyone who will remedy the problem, who will do something besides apply yet more socialism and kowtow to the mandarins of politically correct Multiculturalism.

Intertwined with the failure of government is the artificial constriction of the flow of information, due to the hardened-in-cement PC mindset of our major media and academia.

So, short of armed insurrection, what is to be done?

I have previously advocated the formation of alternative structures within civil society to accomplish the same things that government might otherwise do. In the United States citizens are still legally able to arm themselves in self-defense, and we in the blogosphere are forming alternative means of spreading information. Organizations like CVF can form to take up the slack where government bodies are failing us.

Europeans are not so fortunate: restrictive gun laws in their countries leave them in most cases unarmed. Their job is thus more difficult than ours, assuming that dissident citizens wish to remain within the law.

Yesterday in the comments to my post about SIOE, Zionist Youngster explained in some detail the same process as it is unfolding in Israel. I have combined and slightly edited his comments to prepare the account below.

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The SIOE demonstrators can try to defend themselves from the Muslims or the moonbats, but if that defense leads to any casualties on the latter side, you can rest assured the EU will remember its police and “the need for law and order” pretty quick.

Were the moonbattified authorities just comatose, meaning indifferent to events from both sides of the fence, there would be a way out: the proverbial “villagers with pitchforks and torches” could win the day against the Islamic colonialists and their Marxist enablers. The trouble is, moonbat governments are openly on the side of the evildoers, hence the good side will, unfortunately, find out that sheer numbers are insufficient. It’s not “We Cannot Protect You”, it’s “We can protect you, but we choose to protect the other side instead”.

If you ask what might be the solution, I’d say something on the model that’s being undertaken in Israel right now: an underground buildup of an alternative governance infrastructure. In less bombastic terminology, that means the official government channels exist but the people use alternative, parallel structures. In Israel, the official, moonbattified court system is being de facto replaced by religious (rabbinical) courts and secular arbitrage settlings. It’s a boycott of the government in all but name.

It means, when Israeli Jews in our day have a dispute, their choice is increasingly to avoid the official court system and follow one of two alternatives:
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1. The rabbinical courts.
2. Settling outside the court, whether informally or through agreed, third-party arbitrage.

In the former case, this works because the rabbinical courts have real power, even though they have never been mandatory (that is, Israel is not a theocracy). What is significant in our day is that many secular Jews have opted for those courts, hitherto used only by the religious. The reason for this is that, in contrast to the moonbattified official court system, rabbinical law does not, cannot, cave in to the PC fashions of the time. Hence, in cases of fear that the official court system will issue an unjust verdict, on the basis of “circumstantial evidence” or “history of victimhood” or any other such PC precept, the preference is to go to those courts where such precepts are barred. This is especially the case when criminal law and tort law are concerned.

In the latter case, the court system is bypassed by the acceptable venue of independent settling. The (official) lawyers are actually happy about this, because it takes off their huge amount of paperwork. The proliferation of lawyers in Israel has become such a problem in the last few decades that people just want to chuck it all out.

The courts are the clearest case of underground parallel structure formation in Israel. Charities (mostly religious, but also secular) are another case, bypassing the bureaucracy of the welfare state (the socialist welfare state of Israel, though somewhat eroded since the reforms of Netanyahu when he was finance minister, is still very much alive; but its bureaucracy is so labyrinthine that people just don’t want to bother). The police is also, shall we say, supplemented by community policing.

All in all, Israel today is engaging in a profound Hayekian makeover. Friedrich Hayek warned of the creeping ineptitude of bureaucracy and proposed local, community-bound solutions as the way to ensure the individual’s welfare. The local units, said Hayek, would be part of a national whole, but in a federalist, bottom-up way, not the top-down, socialist model that the EU now exemplifies so starkly. I believe few Israeli Jews have read Hayek; but, unconsciously, as a reaction to the moonbattery that’s infesting the country, that’s exactly the way they’re going. It makes me very proud to be here, part of this all, this bottom-up, community-driven self-healing.

As for the military: the recent mutiny against the order of expelling fellow Jews from their homes is, HaShem willing, the first sign of reform here.

Our governments have betrayed us; let us, then, show them that we can do quite well without them.

Some might get the impression I am saying the rabbinical courts are free of corruption. Not so, and not the opposite either — they’re as human, therefore determined by the humans peopling them, as the official secular courts and the secular arbitrage committees. The importance of the rabbinical courts lies in their theoretical basis. This is where things get interesting.

The adherents of historical materialism say, “Leave off all those theoretical underpinnings, it’s the facts on the surface that count”. But here I find (in great reassurance to me as an historical idealist) how false this view is, and how important theoretical underpinnings are. The West used not to be under the sway of legal moonbattery; after all, I don’t believe Roman Law or Salic Law or Napoleonic Law or any other system of law gave criminals protection from their victims as is the case today. But when this corrupt system, the system of Moonbat Law, began to spread from the 1960’s onward, what was there to stop it? Absolutely nothing.

Had it been declared, for example, that Roman Law was to be the permanent basis for law in the West, or even just one of the options (as is the case for rabbinical law in Israel), then things wouldn’t be the way they are now. But over the course of the ages, not just specific laws but legal bases have changed throughout the West. So when moonbattery ascended on the throne, it was just another change. The only way to counter this is to decide upon an older, pre-PC basis for law and declare it compulsory. But the officials of the EU are not going to yield soon, naturally. Independent communal efforts will have to do the trick here, too.

The judges presiding over the rabbinical courts may or may not be corrupt; but whichever the case, rabbinical law, with its long centuries of tradition, stands against moonbattery like an iron wall. Should one attempt to insert the precepts of moonbattery into rabbinical law, it would cease to be rabbinical law, for moonbattery is opposed not just to the letter but to the spirit of Jewish law. Thus, the rabbinical courts are a safe haven against Moonbat Law in present-day Israel, and this is the reason why today even secular Jews opt to peruse them.

Now for another point:

The problem we have in Israel isn’t the bureaucrats themselves, it’s the system. Suppose a man turns destitute, G-d forbid. He can go to the welfare officials for help. But that’s a tedious, painstaking way — we often say, “Hairs will grow out of your palm before you see the money”. Now, it’s not that the bureaucrats sitting there are totally unfriendly; in fact, many of them are OK guys, and quite willing to help. It’s the system — friendly though the bureaucrats may be, they’re shackled to rules that reduce efficiency (apologies for the understatement).

So instead, the man in financial trouble will get his help locally. If he regularly prays at one fixed synagogue, then he won’t even have to tell anyone — his companions at the synagogue will know of it very quickly, and promptly help him. It’s simply amazing to see this, but one-time charities are organized at lightning speed. That’s superbly efficient, because it doesn’t run against the rules of the system, because it’s outside the system.

All this rambling passage was for the purpose of making clear, that above the surface it looks as if nothing is going on, but below the ground there is a steady build-up of a parallel government, which one day will take over in Israel de jure as well. Because it’s under one’s nose, it doesn’t make the news — Yossi Public’s choice to peruse a rabbinical court or arbitrage isn’t newsworthy. But it’s happening. The current government of Israel, arguably the worst Israel has ever had, is being left to turn into a lifeless mask, with the nation underneath doing well with alternatives.


Kathy said...

All things eventually reduce down to their lowest common denominator.

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 08/10/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Abu Sa'ar said...

Heh. As a secular Israeli, I don't know about the Rabbinical courts. But I know that me and pretty much everyone I know just sort of... evade and ignore our government as much as possible. It has become an obstacle to us, an aid to our enemies and an abomination of the vision of our forefathers.

And brother, there's much more than this moving under the surface. Starting with the Reservists Movement of reserves soldiers who did everything they could to win the Second Lebanon War despite our pathetic Government Of Worms' determination to lose it; through construction of social networks which bypass the government for social, psychological or material aid; to the droves of volunteers in Sderot who are doing the job of the government in that town abandoned by the system - from serving as medics to helping clear the rubble of buildings collapsed by the daily Arab missiles to helping traumatized children.

We are not the Europeans; We are not polite and we have little respect for artificial authority. And the Israelis are getting mightily pissed off...

eatyourbeans said...

I've read that something like that happened in (Southern) Ireland back in the 1920s, when the Irish population gradually and informally formed their own courts under the nose of the British legal system, which was still operating. This Irish system simply moved into the empty court houses when the British departed.

Whiskey said...

The police will also be likely to be replaced.

Think about it: the police exist to protect criminals particularly those of a "correct" background, especially Muslims.

So, what are "stuck" people who cannot simply leave (their capital is not mobile) do then? Why form neighborhood associations with others of like circumstance, and hire carefully vetted off-duty police officers to patrol their areas. [Fellow officers will leave their workmates alone.]

Eventually as the neighborhood associations can offer BETTER pay, the government will start to lose control to the localities. Ending up like the Holy Roman Empire ... a government in name only.

The other alternative is simply a "revolution" ala 1789, 1848, etc. where various European working class people are pushed too far, some incident with (perfect storm: Muslim policemen) all the ingredients: dual law system (one for Muslims, the other more harsh for Europeans), manifestly unfair treatment even under the dual law system, trans-communal aggression that cannot be unanswered, and a growing minority acting before numbers are decisive.

The lack of any ability for the populace to express popular will, means that the likelihood of "revolution" cannot be discounted. Britain or Sweden would be prime examples of working-class people pushed to the wall and provocative incidents being pushed in their face.

In that event the Government may or may not use the police forces (the Armies basically don't exist anymore) but their loyalty and effectiveness might be another thing. The governments might be afraid of another St. Petersburg event.

Jabba the Tutt said...

These items just warm the cockles of my libertarian heart. This is exactly what Murray Rothbard was writing about in the '70s and David Friedman in the '80s.

After the Minneapolis bridge collapse, it took the liberals 6 hours for the first one to come out and call for tax increases. A Star-Tribune poll found out that even Minnesota liberals oppose a tax increase in response to the bridge collapse.

Belief in government efficacy is collapsing everywhere. A part of the opposition to the Iraq War in the US is from people tired that the government isn't fighting to win and isn't serious about the war.

antonio said...

A project that tries to install selforganizing and self-regulating societies via neighborhood-networks:

Bringing people into contact, but not in the cyberspace but in real life, starting in the neighborhood where people really live.

When people form a community in their neighborhood instead of staying anonyme, they will, probably, detect their common interests and can easily organize to go for these interests.

Should enable full participation in communal issues. Communal understood as the issues of the whole country. Brings back power to where it was meant to be, i.e. the people, thus developping democratic participation to a maximum, instead of what is offered today.

PRCalDude said...

Belief in government efficacy is collapsing everywhere. A part of the opposition to the Iraq War in the US is from people tired that the government isn't fighting to win and isn't serious about the war.

We're more tired of the jihadists being invited here and no control over our borders. The politicians keep insisting otherwise, however. Who would've thought we ever would have had to get private citizens to sit in lawn chairs on our own border to help protect it? Americans are being ethnically cleansed from their own country. And the government likes it that way.

ziontruth said...

Good week, all of you!

The beauty of it is indeed that it's spontaneous. It just springs up according to the need:

1. Yossi Public has a problem.
2. Yossi seeks help from the government.
3. Government proves unhelpful.
4. Yossi she-dogs* about it to his friends.
5. His friends tell him they've been in the same situation.
6. They all together realize the government won't help and bind to work out a solution.

In fact, it sounds so unphilosophical--something from the "social skills" you'd learn at kindergarten. But it is revolutionary, because people have been conditioned to rely on the state for so long. Israel, for one, was founded as a socialist state (something that's lost on its left-wing critics), and that heritage still lives on, albeit now only as a monster of bureaucracy, as smooth-moving as Jabba (the Hutt, not the Tutt).

Another saving grace of Israel is that, by a quirk of history (David Ben Gurion's maneuvers in building Israel's first coalition), Israel has no Constitution, only Basic Laws. This is further help in paving the road for the quiet revolution. In Europe, I think most (all?) of the states have a Constitution, but which, as we all know, are all being shut out in favor of the EU's one. Israel's issue is that of efficiency; Europe's is efficiency too, but also sovereignty. And the USA, as the Baron said, has the advantage of private arms ownership on its side, which both Israelis (for military reasons; this, for a change, isn't a recent development) and Europeans (because of moonbat legislation) lack.

I love taking the global view of things. "All in the same boat" is the realization that's going to save us, thanks be to G-d.

* The b-word is on the way to being banned.

Simon de Montfort said...

Maybe-just-maybe the internet will save us from government

Okau, not save us or Deliver us entirely, but the internet might provide the key aspect of creating increasintly viable Ways & Means of avoiding the tentacles of government

"Craig's List" is becomming a Thing in Itself, and Descartes himself would be impressed ( if he weren't dead ) : people are exchanging services and products with no government supervision or taxation.

eBay is.......ahem, a way of buying and selling merchandise Under the Radar.

Modern life with its Coerced Mobility has destroyed neighbourhoods; maybe with the internet as a starting point, those who want to get away from what government has been doing can creat new communities of interest

antonio said...

I received an email that might have been a reaction to my posting but for some reason kept it for spam and deleted it.
If someone wrote me, please do so again, sorry, to the adress that is in the site of the link...