Power vacuums are always filled, it is a iron law of human society. This has importance in all areas, the first of which is obviously in the area of security provision. A perfect case example of this phenomenon in action can be observed with the origins of the Sicilian Mafia. Numerous theories have been put forward in the past century and a half regarding the Mafia’s origins, the most colourful of which is the claim that the Mafia arose during the medieval period as a response to French rule. The truth is far more interesting.
The Mafia arose following the abolition of feudalism, the unification of Italy and the resulting failure of the Italian state to actually impose security and sovereignty correctly in Sicily. More specifically, the Mafia arose as a result of the need to protect lemon orchards. The reason for this is very simple, lemon trees take on average 5 years to mature after being planted. During this 5 years, lemon trees are susceptible to being damaged, at which point the investment is lost. Lemons during the period of Italian unification were a high value good, with one of the primary customers being the British navy (scurvy avoidance was obviously a major issue for us Limeys).
In a society which has strong official policing, and clear sovereignty in the form of a functioning state, the orchards will be protected adequately. In Sicily this function was never completely filled by the state. As a result, a niche (and an extremely profitable one at that) arose for non state actors to fill the power vacuum, and thus the Mafia we all know was born.
Interestingly, the Mafia did not always have the open field that the Italian state provided through incompetence. During the Mussolini era, the state deployed the full force of its power and launched a savage crackdown. The result was almost the complete destruction of the Mafia. The saving grace for the Mafia was the Sicilian invasion by Allied forces, and the subsequent re-imposition of a weak liberal state. The chaos created by the invasion also served as an excellent opportunity for the Mafia to destroy police records.
Following the World War Two, the Italian state became even more incompetent by virtue of being divided between Communism and the West. I have touched upon some of the issues here, suffice to say that the CIA was active in ensuring the Communist party was kept out of power, and if this included the right wing DC party dealing with the Mafia structures to ensure Sicilian votes, then this was acceptable. So we can clearly see, the Mafia’s strength was, and is inverse to the ability of the state to impose its power. Democracy and the media mean that the state is never able to impose itself directly as needed.
The Mafia in Sicily is not the only example of non-state actors arising as a result of a market need for property protection. This paper analysing the early economic rise of the Mafia also reviews other non-state actors such as the Triads, the Yakuza and the Russian Mob and makes the link between a lack of ability on the part of the state to enforce property rights and law, and the rise of Mafias. The following glorious passage regarding the Karbalan gangs encapsulates the entire issue of the modern state’s collapse and the rise of the non-state actors –
“The Karbalan gangs controlled the city until the 1840s. At that time, the new Ottoman ruler in Iraq decided that he did not want to have an Iranian-dominated city controlled by criminals and rebels in his empire, so he launched a military offensive against Karbala. When the Ottomans successfully retook Karbala in 1843, they responded by massacring 15-percent of the cities population, appointing a hard-line Sunni governor, and instituting highly restrictive policies that eliminated all Shiite autonomy. As a result, the power of the gangs was eliminated and many of the city’s Shiite inhabitants fled to Iran. With martial law in the city and their power base dissolved, the Karbalan gangs were eliminated.
Although the history of Karbala shows that it is possible to eliminate a mafia, the steps that the Ottomans took to do so are not a viable option for most governments. For example, the Italian government is not likely to take military action in Sicily, massacre a great portion of the population, and institute martial law. Doing so is highly costly and would rightly result in condemnation by the rest of the world.”
The underlined sections really do highlight that the nation state is toast.
The significance of all of this is that with the ever increasing collapse of the modern nation state, the velocity of non-state actors arising to fill the void of property protection will escalate. In regions such as the Middle East and Africa, this is clearly becoming chronic. In the west this is also becoming the case in “vibrant” areas.
To add further interest to this process of state failure is the interesting question of the secret services and the question of the deep state. On the Legionnaire blog, he has noted quite accurately the following –
“Deep States and organized criminal associations are manifestations of the same phenomenon.”
In the case of Russia, this played out quite clearly with the KGB in effect becoming an unofficial government by virtue of establishing ownership of vast amounts of the Russian infrastructure. There are clearly a lot of interesting lessons that can be teased out of the area of the Deep State and organised criminal organisations in relation to the state.
Another interesting angle in relation to the role of the state in modern society that I would like to twin with the rise of non-state actors and the deep state, is that of the state’s successful encroachments. Prior to the modern nation state, vast areas of society were in effect administered by the church, be this universities, hospitals or charities. With the advent of the modern nation state and the subsequent secularization process, the church’s hold on what were in effects aspects of the economy was reduced or eliminated, and subsequently appropriated by the state. The significance of this, if I may be utterly cynical at this point, is that for a religion to maintain its hold on society, it must be in a position in which dissent against the religious system is not only societaly unacceptable, but also economically punished.
An interesting case in point of the state not being able to appropriate the role of a given religions is provided by the current resurgence of Islam and the parallel collapse of the state in the middle east. The nation state is poison to any religion which actively expresses itself as a religion (poison to mass belief anyway.) Much as democracy is in effect systemic leftism personified, the state is systemic secular religion personified. Religion is booming in areas in which the secular nation state has failed.
The implications of all of this are that religious adherence by the general populace is simply a matter of economic and social necessity, and history seems to bear this out.
Of course, reality is quite messy and complicated, so the current situation in the West is a highly complex interplay of all of the factors I have raised here, and then some. One of the other more notable aspects that I have yet to cover is that of endo-colonisation, and what I believe should be called endo-imperialism in light of Jim’s History of the Left.
To explain this in more depth, the Cathedral system obviously cannot be seen as merely the western states, they are its core, but it also has a periphery in the old colonial territories which include such wonderful places as Pakistan, Uganda, North Africa and all the other vibrant areas that make up the international community. Endo-colonisation is the process by which techniques and technologies used successfully in the areas that are colonised end up boomeranging back onto the territory from which the colonisers originate from. Similarly, endo-imperialism is the process by which imperialism (basically leftism) is enacted on the imperial areas, and is then turned on the imperial territories source population and area once it is exhausted in the imperial areas.
With endo-colonisation this process usually occurs because all available market opportunities in the colonial territories are exhausted, so a market is sought in the colonialist home country with the perfected techniques. Endo-imperialism does the same, and so anti-racism in the form of universalism which has been enforced on South Africa, Rhodesia and the rest of Africa has rebounded on the source nations having exhausted all possibilities in the imperial territories. Of course this is not a one off process, but occurs in waves.
So, in addition to the current anti-racist endo-imperialism wave currently being enforced on traditional European homelands, we also have a anti-sexist/ anti-“homophobic”* imperialism wave which has been quickly followed by its own endo-imperialism wave.
Of course, whereas colonialism left in its wake functioning states (alas secular states) and profitable enterprises, imperialism being leftism has wrought utter destruction. This has led to a steady supply of “refugees”, “immigrants” and “dreamers” eager to seek the possibility of living in the areas in which imperialism has been last to hit – the European homelands. The imperialist obviously seeking to keep control of their empire (the Cathedral), and being unable to keep direct control over the periphery a.k.a. the vibrant areas, where the state is mysteriously collapsing despite the imposition of an obviously correct anti-racist, anti-colonial imperialism is more than willing to bring this section of its population within the confines of the areas in which the state still has some control. Of course, it is a lot more complicate than this, as the role of business leaders supporting mass immigration as a means to increase the market size (probably as a result of operating in the immigrant countries not being sufficiently profitable due to lack of state control) needs to be factored in as an additional driver of the unfolding chaos as well as numerous other issues, but this is beyond the scope of this post as it is already complicated enough. I will likely return to this subject at another time.
One thing I will add in conclusion though, is that if endo-imperialism and endo-colonialism are correct, then future forms of order that will emerge in the western world in the future will be observable in the imperial territories at present.