Imagine discovering your preteen daughter had been groomed by an online predator and has sent pictures of herself to him. One of the first things you might do is call the police. You probably want to do other things. Maybe you glance at your gun safe. But you call the police instead, because that’s the civilized thing to do. When they arrive at your doorstep, they tell you that your daughter, the victim, could be charged with producing child pornography. Why track down the predator when they could more easily grab the criminal accomplice, your 11-year-old daughter?
This is reality for an Ohio man who, when two officers from the Columbus Division of Police arrived at his home, discovered they had come to charge rather than help her. The viral doorbell camera footage is so surreal it seems fake. But it is real, and it is illustrative of the deteriorating social order of a society gradually losing its collective mind.
A caption on the video claims the police arrived at midnight; six hours after being called. When the father emerges from his home, he begins explaining the situation, thinking they are there to help. He is cut short by an unidentified female officer flatly telling him his daughter could be charged with creating “child porn.”
“She’s 11 years old,” the father says. “She’s creating it,” the officer responds, adding that her age is irrelevant. The father angrily protests. A male cop stands silently in the corner of the porch, apparently unbothered by his partner’s behavior. “It doesn’t matter,” the female officer replies impudently. “She’s still creating it.”
After the video went viral, Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said in a statement, “Every victim of crime deserves to be treated with dignity, compassion and decency. What I saw in that video did not reflect those actions.” Perhaps not. But they do reflect the madness sweeping our late-stage American empire.
In the state of nature, as conceived by Thomas Hobbes, life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Increasingly, however, the problem is that life looks that way from within society, too. Theoretically, the way out of the state of perpetual warfare is to transfer our individual sovereignty—our power over life and death—to a government. In exchange for our unlimited freedoms, we are supposed to get security administered by those we recognize as having a monopoly on force. That’s why a father doesn’t simply take matters into his own hands when he discovers a predator grooming his daughter. We have agreed that living in society means surrendering the right to act as judge, jury, and executioner.
When those we have entrusted to keep us safe and to whom we have forfeited the right of retribution do not fulfill their duty, or worse, target us, there’s something fundamentally amiss with this arrangement.
If you protest this inversion too hard, however, you may find yourself in handcuffs, as recently happened to a handful of unhappy New Yorkers.
Over 110,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in New York City since spring 2022, with over 60,000 still in the city’s care. Left unchecked, Mayor Eric Adams has warned, immigration threatens to “destroy” the Big Apple by overwhelming the city’s already strained resources and social services. It was a rare moment of honesty from a Democrat. But talk is cheap, and Adam’s words have not yet translated into policy.
When buses loaded with foreign nationals began heading to a former home for the elderly called Island Shores on Staten Island, a swarm of protestors blocked the streets. Among the displaced from that facility was a 95-year-old veteran of the Korean War. The reward he received for his service, and with only two months’ notice, was to have his bags placed on the curb to make way for the ungrateful and uninvited.
They successfully forced back the caravan, at least temporarily, but police officers made several arrests. Arguably, these Americans were treated more harshly than illegal border-crossers.
Adams said he understood the frustrations of New Yorkers but that this is just how things work now, and nothing would stop it. In fact, he accused the protestors of having “bullied” the city. It was an absurd thing to say, but these are absurd times.
Maybe we are somewhere between Thomas Hobbes and Hobb’s End, the fictional setting of John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness. The protagonist, freelance insurance investigator John Trent (Sam Neill), is led there in his hunt to find the disappeared popular horror novelist Sutter Cane (Jürgen Prochnow), whose best-selling books drive readers mad to the point of being murderous.
When Trent discovers Hobb’s End is a real place, he is gradually disabused of his skepticism and disarmed of his sanity as he is drawn into a world of horrors beyond human comprehension. He learns that his fate is entirely under the control of the mind of Cane, whose powers allow him to bend and tear the fabric of reality in the service of dark and hideous gods.
Everything Trent suffers happens because Cane is authoring it. Everything is traceable to a cruel source wielding totalitarian control over every aspect of life. Even his freedom was an illusion.
Just as in Carpenter’s tale, in the U.S. today there is design beneath the façade of chaos. What seems like deteriorating order is actually the bloody birth of a different world with a different god, purposefully inhospitable to the flourishing of Man. At this moment in history, Americans find themselves walking the road to Hobb’s End. ◆