In a recent article in the Sunday Times property section, Phil Spencer called for the barricades to be stormed. He took great offence (no pun intended) to the fact that communities were erecting security fences and creating their own private, secluded worlds seemingly cut off from the real world that you, he and I inhabit. What he fails to understand is one of the deep psychological underpinnings of human nature: the need to surround yourself with those of a similar mentality, especially with regard to such things as property, trust and respect. Some people feel the need to wall themselves off from the threats that the wider community now carries, and in a free sociey, why shouldn’t they?
Mr Spencer claims that these gated communities separate rich from poor, cut off once publicly accessible roads and undermine law and order. But the reason for cutting off these roads to public access is that many people are failing to respect the private property and the lives of others, while the state is failing in its primary duty to provide security and administer justice. Unable to rely on traditional institutions, the residents of gated communities choose to protect their personal domain in other ways.
Throughout our lives we consciously erect barriers to others based on previous experiences and similarly exhibited character traits. We do so to protect ourselves from wider harm, trusting those with an equivalent outlook. Attempting to create a free, respectful and trustworthy society of individuals through political interference steeped in the ideas of political correctness and multiculturalism has failed. The gated communities are the burgeoning pockets of resistance, the resting place of decent civil society free from the cloying fingers of statism. Society would be stronger now if political interference over the past 50 years had not been so pervasive.