'From Oakland to Greece'
"From Oakland to Greece, f--- the police!" Such was the clever rhyme protesters used at Heather Mac Donald's recent speech at Claremont McKenna College, where total costs for four years of schooling exceed a quarter million dollars. Looking at the videos of these little girls (here used inclusively to embrace cis, trans, bi, or indeterminate hominids), I wonder what they would do should their Audi be stolen. Surely, they could not report it to the police? Would they report to their safe space, "equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets"? Wait, that's Brown University. (Notice that teddy bears are not included. I suppose that would be animalist appropriation. After all, the Council for Promotion of Bruins' Rights has not granted permission for use of ursine simulacra to soothe postpubescent angst.)
This all puts me in mind of Jack London. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he was the most popular and highest paid author in America. London was a dedicated socialist: in addition to The Call of the Wild and White Fang, he wrote The Iron Heel and The War of the Classes. He used his earnings to purchase 1,000 acres in Sonoma County, California and had a four-story, 15,000-square-foot stone mansion built (which burned down just before he was to move in). The house alone cost over $2 million in 2017 dollars.
A letter London wrote to his workers is rich with unintended irony: "The overall tone of the letter is that these working class stiffs were determined to do as little as possible and steal from him. In fact, the very first rule involves how 'lost' tools will be charged to the employee. Hero of the working man!" As historian Kevin Starr wrote, "[h]e liked the show of managerial power, but not grinding attention to detail[.] ... London's workers laughed at his efforts to play big-time rancher [and considered] the operation a rich man's hobby."
Mark Twain summed up London's beliefs and practice nicely: "It would serve this man London right to have the working class get control of things. He would have to call out the militia to collect his royalties." We can only pray that the snowflakes of Claremont McKenna College and other seats of "higher" education do not find out what it is like to live in a country without police.
Henry Percy is the nom de guerre of a writer in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d[at]gmail.com.