Of the many tragic events of a highly unusual summer and autumn, the stories of young, male refugees abusing women throughout many European countries and in Germany in particular, is amongst the most unfortunate. Blame is being cast in every political direction and this has caused people to question the ethical and social standards of religious doctrine and sociological realities throughout the world.
The irresponsible decision of Angela Merkel to fragrantly violate the Dublin Convention may well prohibit her from achieving electoral victory. The decision has already cost her party many votes in regional elections.
The world now knows that Merkel’s refugee policy has been an abject failure. But what is a solution. I write the following as a thought exercise in an attempt to find where one might lie.
Some of these criticisms of social standards and religious doctrines that have come to the fore in the aftermath of Merkel’s decision are well intentioned and others are not, but in every mainstream analysis of these horrific events, people have either neglected or intentionally ignored the sociological role that law enforcement plays on a collective national and even trans-national conscience.
Nietzsche said, “In individuals, madness is the exception, in groups it is the rule”. This has been true throughout human history and is currently being played out in the streets and town centres of Germany and elsewhere. The human being is an animal, an animal capable of the highest invention an lowest barbarism of any mammal. In order to restrain the more violent and predatory instincts amongst humans, the laws of man, distinct from the laws of nature, were invented along with various ways of enforcing these laws.
There is a general historical trend for laws to become more intricate over time and the same can be said for methods of enforcing those laws. It was during the industrial revolutions in Europe when law enforcement agencies became increasingly professionalised and specialised.
It was during the second half of the 19th century that organisations known colloquially as ‘secret police’ came into being. Before one gets too tangled in semantics, one must say that one person’s definition of ‘secret police’ is an ‘intelligence agency’ according to another’s lexicon.
At this time it is accurate to say that some of the places in the world that best safeguard women’s rights are countries that have a long history of an organised and effective secret police force. In respect of Germany, it was in the Prussia where the Preußische Geheimpolizei appeared as a model of secret police forces that would arise in the 20th century.
Tsarist Russia had its Отделение по Охранению Общественной Безопасности и Порядка (The Department for Protecting the Public Security and Order). By 1950 most European states and many states beyond had highly stratified secret police forces.
An effective secret police force has clear advantages and disadvantages and like any organisation, corruption can transpire. However it is a fact, perhaps an uncomfortable one for some, that the states which either currently have or have in recently historical memory had an effective secret police, where the rights of women are best protected.
A secret police force whose existence is ingrained on the consciousness of a population has a profound effect on the consciences of individuals in such a population. The implied threat of harm from secret police is far more psychologically effective than public showings of strength through the presence of uniformed officers.
The notion that one is always being watched has the psychological effect of turning a would be violent criminal into one who restrains himself due to the fear that his illegal and immoral actions are being noted by a force he cannot see.
Countries with a strong secret police generally have low crime rates and in many if not most cases, far better records on protecting the rights of women than states which do not have such effective forces. Looking at countries where women enjoy the most sexual freedoms, the most social freedoms and the highest rates of education, one notices a close coronation between such realities and the historical presence of a secret police.
And it is not just a European phenomenon. Iraq in the 1970s had one of the highest rates of female education not just in the Arab world, but in the entire world and Iraqi women generally enjoyed the kind of rights many could only dream of in the 21st century.
The push to educate Iraqi women in the 1970s under the government of Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, happened in the same era during which the Mukhabarat (Iraqi Intelligence Service) was formed. This was not coincidental. The push to educate females and increase the social rights of women is always one of the most fiercely resisted measures that a secular government takes.
Because of this, it often needs the power of strong law enforcement to implement these changes and enshrine these new realities into the minds of the populace.
The same can be said of Assad’s Syria where under the watch of Syrian secret police, women’s rates of education and social rights remain the highest in the region, exempting of course the portions of Syria currently occupied by ISIS and their fellow travellers.
Social values in central Europe have not changed a great deal since the 1970s, but the power and even existence of secret police forces has done. Thus, many people in countries like Germany have an expectation that the psychological/unconscious restraints that a secret police force ingrains upon the minds of would be sex criminals would persist.
Such restraints generally do remain, but only amongst those with a shared collective historical memory. To newcomers into such societies only present realities are seen: a country with no secret police to strictly enforce the law. Therefore outside of the presence of uniformed police, many feel that the law can be broken.
I am convinced that a strong secret police in European societies would rapidly end the spree of crimes being committed against women. However, this is not necessarily the ideal solution. A secret police force can often balloon into an organisation which quashes free speech and restrains the rights of artists, something I personally find intolerable. At the same time, many of these stereotypes are based on now extinct organisations.
Russia’s modern FSB exist in a society that has opened itself up to the age of free expression and instant communication. Indeed, Russia’s pledge to protect the life of Edward Snowden demonstrates a willingness to protect free speech advocates on an international stage. Russia’s commitment to protect people like Snowden coexists with a highly trained, non-corrupt and effective FSB.
New problems require new solutions and since Merkel’s government remains supportive of increased refugee inflow, the establishment of a modern secret police force/intelligence agency could be the most effective way or ending horrific attacks on women. I’m not suggesting a return to the days of the Stasi, but an FSB style organisation could easily be established.
Once again Russia leads the way in the efforts to balance freedom and security. It is an example others ought to research more seriously.