Dystopian Pittsburgh’s road to anarchy

Dystopian Pittsburgh’s road to anarchy

By just about every accounting, and in far too many neighborhoods, law and order no longer exists in the City of Pittsburgh. And without law and order, this city cannot survive.

The stories are legion:

Shooting after shooting after shooting. Many fatal. Many brazen.

In one case, no less than an assassination on the Fort Pitt Bridge in apparent retaliation for a prior shooting – of a child, a mere 18 months old.

The city’s South Side has become a shooting gallery.

A Downtown police substation was even “bricked” last week.

The allegations are troubling:

According to media accounts, police have either been told to stand down or, of their own volition, are doing just that.

Some sections of the city are being termed “The Wild, Wild West.”

The fallout:

One business owner reports finding a loaded pistol near a back entrance. Fearing for the safety of her employees, it closed up shop.

Still another reported multiple bullet holes through his business.

One reported an employee had been hit in the leg.

Vast swaths of the city no longer are safe after dark. But daylight increasingly offers no refuge from the lawlessness that appears to know no limits.

“Civil society” in Pittsburgh has become an endangered species as a burgeoning cadre of specious actors are allowed to run amok and terrorize spaces public and private.

It once was written that the first duty of government is to maintain law and order so that life, property and religious beliefs are fully protected.

Consider it the paramount public policy that must exist to pour the footer to support the foundation of all other public policies. Without it, a city crumbles. The rule of law is swept away and outlaws rule.

The City of Pittsburgh is failing, and flailing, badly. It is crumbling before our very eyes. Common thugs and reprobates appear to be in charge now.

Again, “The essential function of the State is to maintain peace, justice, law and order, and to protect the individual citizens against aggression, violence …,” offered late economics journalist Henry Hazlitt.

Yet Pittsburgh’s leaders have failed this fundamental, “essential function.”

“Law and order are the medicine of the body politic and when the body politic gets sick, medicine must be administered,” wrote B.R. Ambedkar, one of the drafters of India’s Constitution.

Sadly, tragically, Pittsburgh’s leaders appear to have lost that medicine’s prescription. And the city sinks lower and lower into chaos.

Perhaps the great John Locke put it best, in his seminal “Second Treatise of Government”:

“No man in civil society can be exempted from the laws of it: for if any man may do what he thinks fit, and there be no appeal on earth, for redress or security against any harm he shall do; I ask, whether he be not perfectly still in the state of nature, and so can be no part or member of that civil society; unless any one will say, the state of nature and civil society are one and the same thing, which I have never yet found any one so great a patron of anarchy as to affirm.”

We commend his sentiments to a city perilously close to succumbing to anarchy. Pittsburgh does not deserve such a fate. But left unchecked, its dystopian fate will be sealed.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org)