When a problem is particularly intractable it usually has many moving parts making its solution that much more difficult to achieve.
Causes and effects become confused, especially so when little to nothing is fixed in position.
In the case of illegality, in societies where integrity cannot particularly be counted on from either side of the supposed divide and all parties suspect self-serving corruption at all levels, the fight against crime is often self-defeating.
Western populations have been encouraged to regard individualism as paramount since the Reagan/Thatcher years. Greed and the exploitation of all avenues, whether wholly honest or not, have led to a dubious level of personal integrity.
The line between self-enforced honesty and naive self-exclusion has become progressively blurred and those sticking to the rules have become to be seen as straight-laced losers. Those who take advantage of loopholes in the law and accruing benefit to themselves they are not entitled to tend to be, and be seen to be, the winners.
In addition to, and in tandem, with the above, all and sundry have been encouraged to conceive themselves to be entitled to respect for their opinions and lifestyles no matter how wrong or wrongheaded they may be. Perfect freedom under the law has been the zeitgeist of at least the past fifty years in the West. Individualism, self-confidence and the right to as good an opinion as anyone else have travelled the same path as the new religion of unlimited consumption.
By comparison with past and present societies we can see how that in the West has increasingly and mostly favoured atomization rather than anything approaching solidarity or community. The USA and UK during and after the Reagan/Thatcher era encouraged the same exploitation and competition individually that had previously been seen to greatest extent within the corporate world. Now each individual was encouraged to be a god or goddess with the right to exploit whatever they had in competition with all others.
With the massive decline in the influence of traditional Christian beliefs and strictures concerning honesty the gods most favoured were those of Mammon and Bacchus, the gods of riches and excess. Individuals were to become empowered and fully able assert their rights in self-confident fashion on all occasions. They were to become in other words randomly moving parts, or at least acting much more randomly than ever before. This does not relate only to their physical motion of course but also to the motion of their minds.
The gods of the ancient world were not always as benign as the single Christian god of the Western world is presumed to be. There were many within the Greek and Roman pantheons and particularly the primordial deities had a high degree of individual power while under the supposed supervision of ‘king of the gods’, Zeus/Jupiter. So it is with the individuals of the western world raised to almost godlike status in terms of the right to be as different from all others as possible, if that be their wish.
Contrast the ability of western individuals to engage in maximum freedom due to having access to the privileges of western wealth built on long-term colonialism and the exploitation of others’ weakness and abuse of far greater powers, with those where cooperation, not individualism and competition bring sustained benefit. In the case of the latter grouping individualism, maximum competition and a high degree of integrity-free exploitation bring increasing vulnerability to all manner of threats likely to decrease the survival potential of populations.
Societies working together to obtain the wherewithal needed to allow all members to live to an acceptable standard within nations of minimal excess tend to have an ability and willingness to react to any threat facing them. They tend to have leaders who guide populations based on objective fact rather than expedient self-interest on diverse political benefit to themselves. Such a society exists in China and to some extent in Russia, though China represents the paramount example of such a society.
The population of the West has been encouraged by its privileged historical position to resist unity, or better said, to fully embrace individuality. In an ideal world of course totally free individuals imbued with impeccable wisdom could do little harm and would unite in common cause against threats through a logic shared among them due to their communal wisdom and equanimity of spirit. But we can see clearly that the wisdom element and the impulse to coordination and solidarity is clearly lacking in the “free” nations of the West.
In lieu of perfect individuals imbued with great wisdom I think we can see where western anarchy will lead humanity. To ever greater chaos, division and disagreement as totally empowered individuals clash believing themselves in each case to be as empowered gods albeit with the crucial element of wisdom almost completely lacking. This latter attribute being lacking is of course not acknowledged for a moment, all having been told their view is equal to that of all others.
This I believe is where western society will increasingly be seen to be inadequate to the challenges and threats now engulfing it and those to come whether these be further pandemics or the catastrophic effects of climate change. And conversely this I believe is where the historically poorer cultures of the East will increasingly be seen to succeed, in unity, discipline, adherence to traditional mores of honesty, decency and the solidarity of community and collective values.
The god game of the West has created a narcissistic, self-interested greed that has already overwhelmed much of the traditional honesty that was once fostered through its religious beliefs. I see no evidence that any return to collective unity of purpose or desire for societal integrity will transpire within western societies. The random nature of its parts appears set to make any solution worthy of the name to its problems all but impossible.