chapter  2
10 Pages

The spectrum of political conflict

The deepest anxiety amongst ordinary people in a community arises when they perceive a threat of

collapse of order and security; lest the lives of their families have no protection against armed intruders

or rampaging mobs; and lest their property, their food stocks, and their savings become vulnerable

to seizure or destruction without hope of restitution. This has been so for at least 12,000 years, since

people first set up agricultural communities and villages, when survival and prosperity began

manifestly to depend upon confidence that their crops and domestic animals would safely mature to

provide their food, and that women and children would not be abducted while the men were hunting

or working in the fields-in other words, that there was internal security under a rule of law with a

collective means to enforce it. Then, as a village agricultural community became more prosperous

than the nomadic tribes outside, external security also became essential lest the hungry tribesmen

swarmed in to seize the animals and fertile fields and put the villagers to death or into bondage. Thus

security and the rule of law were from the start and still remain the foundations of civilized society.