The Existential Struggle Against Anarcho-Tyranny
El Salvador wasn’t a concern for the Left until they started jailing criminals en masse.
Extraordinary events going on in the Republic of El Salvador:
First, note Reuters’ framing of the story: caused the prison population to soar. Keep it in mind, because the media framing of the story is a big element of this piece.
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For context: El Salvador is arguably the most violent country in the world, especially when it comes to murders. Certainly, appalling, but it has been this way for many years. President Nayib Bukele, upon assuming office in 2019, has spared no expense at going after the gangs who are responsible for the lion’s share of criminal violence in the country. After over three years, murders have nosedived, falling by half almost every year. This has caused the prison population, already among the highest in the world, to soar, but then again, this is what happens when you take criminals off the street.
To accommodate this surge in incarcerated, Bukele announced the opening of a new prison capable of housing 40,000 inmates. It shows just how many criminals there are in El Salvador and how many of them really do exist in El Salvador. As you can tell by the tattoos, many of them are gang members, again, underscoring just how pervasive the gang problem in the country is.
The real story, however, might be the response the global Left, but especially the American Left, had in response to Bukele’s policy. Here’s one from León Krauze of the The Washington Post:
The reality is that the scale of the project defies common sense — and easy comprehension. And the social implications of the endeavor are no less striking. The citizens of El Salvador have tacitly accepted Bukele’s unprecedented crackdown on crime, and, for the time anyway, are ignoring its broader ramifications.
You hear that? Krauze thinks Salvadorans don’t know what’s good for them. Coming from a White leftist traveling in elite circles, he’s quite the bigot, isn’t he? His privilege renders him incapable of even imagining the day-to-day reality of Salvadorans who’ve had to live with abhorrent levels of crime and violence for decades. Won’t they think of the criminals? he wonders and believes Salvadorans should worry more about what might happen as a result of Bukele’s policy while worrying less about the savagery that victimizes them every day.
Nevertheless, the arrests have succeeded in bringing down crime. According to official statistics, homicides decreased by more than a factor of 10 since 2015. Much of that decline cannot be attributed to the crackdown, even if homicides bottomed out at a remarkable low last year — a statistic Bukele frequently trumpets.
But the real sea change is on the ground, where citizens report that extortion has all but disappeared. Salvadorans have gained a palpable sense of security in their everyday lives at the expense of due process, democracy and transparency. Most seem to be fine with the trade-off. Bukele himself is immensely popular, as is the state of emergency he has declared. Protests against him have fizzled.
So… what exactly is the issue, here? Certainly, the decline in homicide rates began in 2015, meaning Bukele’s impact on the overall decline is question. However, Krauze leaves out a big part of the story: in the early 2010s, the homicide rate declined then too, though this was the result of ill-advised negotiations between the authorities and gangs, as well as a truce between gangs. Within a few years, the cease-fire of sorts fell apart and the homicide rate skyrocketed once more, peaking in 2015 at 6,656, the all-time high since 1983, a time when El Salvador was embroiled in civil war.
It’s not entirely clear why the homicide rate declined after 2015, well before Bukele’s election. What’s clear is that the authorities seem to have quit asking the criminals to stop killing. Allegations of negotiations between the Bukele administration and the gangs aside, no truce has occurred since the last one broke down. A fearsome right-wing death squad with origins in the Salvadoran Civil War even made a comeback in the wake of the resurgence in violence and have been credited with reducing gang activity in the country. So if Bukele isn’t to be credited for the decline, he most certainly is to be credited for doubling down and not allowing hard-fought gains to be relinquished. For Krauze or anyone to say Bukele is doing too much has no grasp of how bad things have been in El Salvador and what it took to reduce the violence in the country. According to the Left, you may as well believe crime reduces itself without any action taken on the part of leadership.
More insanity out of Krauze:
That said, nothing guarantees the long-term success of this extravagantly punitive approach. Systemic opacity has made it impossible for independent journalists to verify what it will cost Bukele to fund his sprawling security apparatus. Maintaining an indefinite state of emergency and a high incarceration rate won’t come cheap, and the country’s economy is not healthy.
Countries wracked by insecurity tend to not have healthy economies. Not sure what he’s getting at here. What’s for certain is that a hard tack against crime isn’t the reason why El Salvador’s economy isn’t healthy.
He could also be playing with fire by creating such a huge police state. Security forces have a nasty habit of becoming powerful interest groups of their own, and could even attempt to seize power if their demands are not met.
This is Latin America we’re talking about. Democratic backsliding is always a real threat in this area of the world. Nobody likes authoritarianism, but nobody likes living under abhorrent levels of crime, either. Again, the Woke, anarcho-tyrannical Left cannot even imagine what such a world would look like, so they assume the situation is tolerable as the situation is in places like New York and Washington, D.C.
And then there are the prisoners themselves. Leaving aside the very real human rights implications, Bukele’s strategy carries potentially big downside risks. Even if he manages to keep tens of thousands of “terrorists” behind bars, cut off from the world outside, gangs tend to thrive in jail. (In fact, some of El Salvador’s most notorious gangs grew inside the United States’ prison system.) Who is to say that these men, who are now being denied their rights and left to rot in questionable conditions, won’t eventually become a bigger threat? And after all, they cannot be detained indefinitely.
Salvadorans may yet come to regret their Faustian bargain.
Yes, they can be detained indefinitely. El Salvador isn’t America. You can criticize El Salvador’s legal system if you’d like, but I think it’s the height of ignorant privilege to think the Salvadoran people should be as worried about the rights of criminals as they are about their own safety. Certainly, there are concerns with any regime having the level of power they do. But if the state cannot protect its citizenry, as El Salvador has failed to do for generations, Salvadorans are going to regret that their leaders never tried. The idea that good old liberal ideas governing civil rights ought to apply to all societies, at all times, under all conditions, all across the world is outright bigoted hubris.
Remember: El Salvador wasn’t a concern for the Left until they started jailing criminals en masse. It gives you a good idea of what concerns them and it’s not the high homicide rate or all the people who suffered because of crime. Central to the Left’s doctrine on crime is that, in their world, criminals are just like us: good people who’ve been done wrong by an unjust system, or good people who had a bad day, made some innocent mistakes, and had the book thrown at them. Certainly, the line between good and evil runs down the hearts of us all, but the Left takes this principle to an extreme, where criminals aren’t only morally on the same level as the rest of society, but are in fact the good guys!
In fact, it seems like the anarcho-tyrants are digging in their heels more than ever before. Read one of my earliest posts if you’d like to read a deep dive into the concept, but anarcho-tyranny is a regime where the state spares no effort nor expense to enforce the law when it comes to the obedient citizenry, but is unable or unwilling to do so when it comes to criminals and the unruly. At it’s most benign, it’s a low-hanging fruit approach to law enforcement, where the state does just enough to say it’s doing something and to put on a veneer of orderliness. For example, it’ll make sure you pay every last cent of your taxes and ticket you for every last code violation, but it won’t do much about the social predator who won’t leave you alone, just because he hasn’t technically broken any laws.
What El Salvador and Bukele is giving credence to is the belief that yes, with the political will, it’s possible to secure society against crime and disorder. But among anarcho-tyrants, almost universally on the Left, not only do they refuse to do much about crime, it seems like making crime worse is the point. It’s like they cannot bring themselves to even condemn criminals, let alone support employing tough measures against them.
Going back to the media, nearly all aligned with the leftist Regime in power in America, they will give voice to convicted murderers to own a rising right-wing politician. Look at this unbelievable headline from HuffPost:
Florida on Thursday executed 59-year-old Donald Dillbeck, who was sentenced to death 32 years ago by a non-unanimous jury under a death penalty statute that has since been found unconstitutional.
Dillbeck, who was killed as punishment for fatally stabbing a woman named Faye Vann, was the first person executed in Florida since 2019.
The timing of his execution appears to be part of a push by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to bring back death sentences by non-unanimous juries. DeSantis, who is expected to run for president, signed Dillbeck’s death warrant last month on the same day that he floated changing state law to allow non-unanimous juries to impose death sentences. “Maybe eight out of 12 have to agree or something,” DeSantis suggested at a Florida Sheriffs Association conference, just before ordering the execution of a man with that exact jury split.
“I know I hurt people when I was young. I really messed up,” Dillbeck reportedly said just before his death. “But I know Ron DeSantis has done a lot worse. He’s taken a lot from a lot of people. I speak for all men, women and children. He’s put his foot on our necks. Ron DeSantis and other people like him can s—k our d—s.”
In a written statement, Vann’s children, Tony and Laura Vann, thanked DeSantis for carrying out the execution.“We were robbed of years of memories with her, and it has been very painful ever since. However, the execution has given us some closure,” they wrote.
Really - is Donald Dillbeck really the hill HuffPost wants to die on? Apparently. After effectively acknowledging that yes, Dillbeck most certainly deserved to be put to death, they not only portray him as the victim, but they give voice to him hurling insults at Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a presumptive 2024 candidate and widely viewed as the most formidable political threat to the Left not named Donald Trump.
If there was legitimate concern regarding Florida’s capital punishment policy, there was absolutely a way to do it without characterizing Dillbeck as a “political pawn.” The fact is, writer Jessica Schulberg and HuffPost are against the death penalty and all strong anti-crime measures. If they truly understood the gravity of what Dillbeck had done, even if they disagreed with his sentence, maybe they would’ve spent less time criticizing Gov. DeSantis and say something more about Dillbeck’s victim? After all, aren’t victims always the most important part of the story?
Of course, the biggest blame rests with the politicians. Look at what’s happening in San Francisco, the one city in America we can say for certain is in a state of total collapse:
Framed by protesters holding signs that read “No ICE in SF,” four supervisors City lambasted their colleague Supervisor Matt Dorsey Tuesday in front of City Hall, calling out his proposal to cut accused fentanyl dealers out of San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy.
The immigrant advocacy group FREE SF Coalition launched a rally in response to recent news that both Dorsey and District Attorney Brooke Jenkins want to rescind a policy that grants immigrants some protections from deportation.
“Supervisor Dorsey is seeking to weaken our sanctuary ordinance,” Supervisor Hillary Ronen said. “We’re not going to let him do it. We’re not going to fall for this age-old attack on immigrants.”
In the past two weeks, Dorsey and Jenkins urged officials to make an exception to San Francisco’s Sanctuary City ordinance, which in most cases blocks the city from collaborating with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to deport undocumented immigrants. Exceptions are made for individuals accused of murder, rape, carjacking, arson, and robbery.
Last month, Dorsey proposed extending that exception category to undocumented immigrants who are newly charged with a violent or drug dealing felony and had been convicted of fentanyl dealing in the past seven years. That same week, Jenkins asked the Department of Homeland Security to extradite two individuals, one accused of sexually abusing children, and another of a 2009 domestic violence murder. The feds said they could not oblige while San Francisco’s extant sanctuary policy was upheld, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
Fentanyl is ravaging this country, but these SF politicians aren’t going to allow even those charged with violent and drug felonies nor those who dealt fentanyl to be deported in the interest of protecting illegal immigrants. Calling these people “stupid” or “unserious” doesn’t cut it any longer, because the consequences of their decisions are so horrendous. There’s no way to explain this other than as a deliberate attack against their own country.
Further south, see what newly-elected Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass has in mind for the city’s police:
Wait - shorten the time it takes to recruit, hire and train new officers? From later in the article:
The league’s only concern, he added, was that in the department’s rush to recruit, hire and train more officers to fill its sagging ranks, it was also lowering its job standards. Specifically, he said, the league had heard anecdotally that certain officers were being pushed through the hiring process even if they didn’t meet physical fitness standards.
“You start doing that, it creates Memphis problems. It creates Rampart,” he said, referring to the LAPD’s Rampart corruption scandal of the 2000s and to the Southern city’s embattled police force, which was thrust into the international spotlight after the beating that caused the death of Tyre Nichols last month.
Imagine thinking a police force composed of applicants of lower quality are going to contribute to positive reforms in law enforcement. But these are anarcho-tyrants we’re talking about. A lower-quality police force, which is likely to result in higher levels of misconduct, is probably what they’re aiming for. Not because they want a more brutal police force, but a more pliant, politically-reliable force:
Bass said that she also wants to strengthen systems for identifying and rooting out officers with ties to right-wing domestic terrorist groups but that the details of that plan have been left up to Moore. The plan also calls for her newly appointed director of public safety to hire “an outside evaluator” to examine the department’s complaint system.
A more crucial element of the mayor’s plan was the need to weed out officers who harbor extremist views, which Rice called an urgent problem across law enforcement that is the focus of a recent state law.
I don’t know to what extent officers in the LAPD have been implicated with ties to right-wing domestic terrorist groups. What I do know is that the Regime, of which mayors like Karen Bass are representative of, views political extremism problematic only if it comes from the Right, even though right-wing political violence, though greater in the number of incidents, are carried out by a insignificant percentage of even the far-right population and don’t affect the lives of most Americans. Meanwhile, the Left can mobilize tremendous numbers of extremists who can carry out massive riots and terrorize the populations of cities and metropolitan areas, but Mayor Bass doesn’t seem much worried about them. Probably because they’re on the same side.
We also know the Regime paints in very broad strokes when it comes to defining “right-wing extremism.” We saw this kind of rhetoric last year out of President Joe Biden, who characterized he act of voting for Donald Trump as an act of extremism (he uses the term “MAGA Republican”).
Politicians like Karen Bass simply cannot be trusted to fairly, soberly, and judiciously implement a policy to root out a specific kind of political extremism when she herself, along with most Democratic politicians, increasingly represents extremist movements on the Left. It’s interesting to note that she left the details of the plan up to the LAPD themselves, perhaps a sign her office realizes there are limits to the extent such a policy can be implemented without engaging in outright partisanship or violating an individual’s civil rights.
Fortunately, even as the anarcho-tyrants become further entrenched, there are signs the citizenry are growing weary of crime and disorder. Apparently, too much is indeed too much, even for a left-wing body politic. The other night, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was voted out of office, meaning her term will be the shortest for a Chicago mayor in 40 years.
I guess when you’re blaming your loss on race and gender (which didn’t stop Chicagoans from voting for her the first time) and not the Third Worldization of Chicago which occurred on your watch, you’re basically saying you’ve got nothing left to give. It’s difficult to say whether this points to any serious turning of the tide - the final round of the Chicago mayoral election will take place between Democratic candidates - but we also saw far-left extremist Chesa Boudin ousted as San Francisco’s district attorney last year. At least we know people do have a breaking point, whether it leads to a changing of minds or a realignment of politics or not.
I’ll close this post with a stirring speech from El Salvador President Nayib Bukele. And a question - if our country’s ultimate fate depended on it, what kind of regime would you prefer? The kleptocracy of Joe Biden and Lori Lightfoot? Or, as Rod Dreher likes to call it, the “Caesarism” of Nayib Bukele?
Max Remington is a defense, military, and foreign policy writer. Follow him on Twitter at @AgentLoyalist.
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