An uncivil society

A conversation with a friend alerted me to the situation regarding the proliferation of gated communities in the US (and elsewhere), in particular, large gated communities

Even in relatively small gated communities there are strict rules regarding what you can and cannot do, items such as the mowing of lawns, house maintenance, parking of cars, access, security requirements and so on. And, the rules seem to become more intrusive as the wealth increases.

Within these communities live the wealthy and privileged, those who likely value their individual rights, resent the intrusion of the state and the paying of (what they see as) excessive taxes. They have chosen to opt out of the day to day happenings that influence the lives of the majority of people so as to create a miniature world of their own.

Curiously, a large number of US citizens actively work to ‘minimise the intrusion of the state into their daily lives’ while, at the same time willingly submitting to gated community contractual arrangements that allow for very close intrusion into their everyday living.

These communities comprise like-minded people who have agreed to operate in a certain way for the greater good of the whole community – they enter into a sort of social contract. So, what do they see as the difficulty in applying the same concept on a grander scale?

Perhaps these communities could be expanded to include a group of people willingly occupying a country in which everyone agrees to abide by a set of rules that offer security, comfort and shared resources for everyone in exchange for the agreed loss of some personal freedoms.

Gated communities, coupled with private health care, private security, and the occupants’ desire to pay the least possible in the way of taxes are an expression of people opting out of their obligation to the wider community in terms of providing health care, roading, security, parks, inter-state highways and other facilities that benefit everyone – including themselves!

In short, people living in gated communities are eating away at the underpinnings of civil society.

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