The noble scientific pioneers of the the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, in between barroom brawls, gunfights and cattle rustling, have taken time out to study what happens to primate behaviour when the alpha males are removed from circulation. Their theory was that the role of these high-ranking individuals extended beyond simply maintaining their own primacy, to include breaking up conflicts between lower-ranking individuals even if they had no stake in the outcome, effectively acting as the local bobbies on their own beats.
Picking on a troop of previously blameless pigtailed macaques, they put this theory to the test. Sure enough, removing the coppers for just a few hours every day
“resulted in the remaining monkeys grooming fewer others, playing with fewer others and dividing up into cliques as the social network that held the troop together broke down. The number of aggressive incidents also increased”
The boffins conclude that
“the role of policing in these monkeys is to allow individuals to socialise widely at little risk and thus hold a large troop together, since the police will intervene if things get out of hand”
The relevance of this study to the human condition is self-evident when one considers the many parts of Britain’s towns and cities where the humble copper has long since become a sight unseen. Not that this is exactly a novel insight. Edmund Burke (1729-1797) says it rather well:
“Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites... Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
Given that forty years of comprehensive education and welfarism have left a significant percentage of our urban population somewhat less civilized than a pigtailed macaque, perhaps the time has come once again to draw a leaf from Mother Nature’s recipé book and apply it to our high-rise Sodoms. One could of course try to winkle our current policemen out of their squad cars and diversity training seminars and back onto the streets they are paid to patrol, but they would doubtless consider that infra dig, and anyway who would then compile the quarterly hate speech statistics, replace the film in all the speed cameras, and shoot passing Brazilians?
No, if other primates can do such an effortless and effective job of policing their own societies, let’s outsource our own policing to them. Let chimps twist the heads off of shoplifters and gorillas throw muggers into the paddy wagon one limb at a time. As an added bonus, they can hardly be accused of racism, and so can strangle gangstas with their own chains and ram a certain cleric’s hooks up his arse with unimpeachable impartiality.
The sight of an adult male silverback tying some lippy chav into a pretzel will I am sure remind all other nearby undesireables of pressing business elsewhere, and the streets will once again become safe for women, children and the elderly, as they were back in that unimaginably distant past when the human police actually did their damned jobs.
Come on, boys – let’s go to work…
Did somebody say “Pig”?