By now we’re all well-informed of the widespread rioting and looting in Britain. But there is a mystery at the heart of it: motive. There must, one ponders, be some reason for large groups of people to break the law so wantonly and destroy their neighbors’ property in such egregious ways.
What’s rather startling about the anarchy in the UK is how widespread it has been. One article (quoted below) says the London police force of 31,000 couldn’t handle the problem, and reinforcements had to be brought in. Think of that: 31,000 police overwhelmed by mobs. Looking at the pictures of the riots is sobering: the amount of destruction that bands of impassioned youths can cause in a supposedly modern, forward-looking Western society should wake that society up.
Looking a little more deeply, we can see some clues to possible motivations for the riots. Here are some quotes from an article in a London paper:
The small crowds of very young men and women, of every skin colour, typically dressed in almost identical hooded sweatshirts, were on the main streets of the mainly poor neighbourhoods along the city’s northeastern, southern and western boundaries . . . .
These are not race riots: Though they began, on Saturday afternoon, with a small protest in Tottenham, north London, over the shooting of a dark-skinned man by police under suspicious circumstances, they quickly became a much wider and less purposeful explosion of youth criminality. . . .
Nor are these explicitly political riots: There is no message, no motive, no cause, no slogan. Efforts by some opposition politicians to link these events to Prime Minister David Cameron’s spending cuts have been met with incredulity in the affected neighbourhoods, where those cuts have not yet had any municipal effect. . . .
There are some things uniting the London rioters. Almost all are under 20. Police reported that the youngest arrested over the weekend was 11 years old, and that almost all were born in the 1990s.
And most, according to their own accounts in interviews and Facebook postings, come from the same neighbourhoods they are looting and burning: Mostly poor neighbourhoods, thick with public-housing towers and short on employment opportunities.
“I think that there was disillusionment among some segments of the rioters,” said Heidi Alexander, the Member of Parliament for Lewisham, south London, where huge fires and large-scale rioting erupted Monday night. “There are high levels of youth unemployment in my district, they have trouble staying on in work or getting education, and they get caught up in this.”
Whether the thousands of rioters actually did express disillusionment – some did say they were angry at police or the world, but many appeared gleeful or greedy – it is clear that most had nothing else to do with themselves, and no reason to fear or feel responsible for the consequences of their actions.
This is a chronic problem in Britain, which has a “lost generation” of young high-school dropouts far larger than most other Western countries.
Note the reference to neighborhoods “thick with public housing. “ Well. Public housing, to be perfectly clear about it, means housing paid for by the hard work of other people, the nation’s taxpayers. The story also cites the lack of employment in these same neighborhoods. It attributes this to a shortage of “employment opportunities,” a truly charming euphemism. What it fails to acknowledge is why this shortage exists, which economists trace to the very welfare state that provides the free housing and other amenities of British idleness, as it confiscates resources from productive people to give to the unproductive. Within such a scheme, the fact that jobs are scarce should puzzle no one but an idiot.
In light of these facts, one might wonder whether there might just be a correlation between people being given something for nothing and their decision to do nothing and expect something. Even a cursory analysis of human nature as manifested over the last 5,000 years will tell you how predictable such “disillusionment” should be. Yet modern liberals always seem surprised when human beings behave in ways that any reasonable person would expect them to.
Of course, the modern liberal doesn’t anticipate such behavior among the underclasses (they predict it only among Southern U.S. whites, which hasn’t happened in decades, we are happy to report), because the only thing that’s wrong with the poor is that they have less money than they should have. The modern liberal’s understanding of human nature—insofar as they are willing to accept that there is such a thing—is clouded by their ideology, their desperate belief that the state, via wealth redistribution, can create social equality and individual happiness.
An additional—and perhaps initially puzzling—element of the technocratic megastate is revealed in the new media’s relentless identification of the rioters as including young people of “every skin colour.” The fact that the disturbances started out as race riots is thoroughly documented. This suggests that at least some of these youths do not see themselves first and foremost as British. Such an attitude reflects a central element of the modern state: multiculturalism. This pipedream is not the recipe for harmony many people think it is. Behind this view of equality of cultures is an enervating relativism, inculcated in U.S. schools and the American culture as well as those of Britain.
The central tenet behind multiculturalism, as you’re probably well aware, is that all values are relative, that no one culture, religion, or worldview is better than any other. Note that word any; it’s crucial. Even a society devoted to individual liberty and personal responsibility (should such a thing ever exist!) can be no better than one under sharia law or one that practices slavery and genital mutilation.
Oh, wait, there is one kind of society that is inferior to all others, according to the statist: one that affords any unconditional rights and liberties to the individual.
Objectively, everyone knows that this self-contradictory thicket of prejudices is utter hogwash, but it’s just not polite to say so. Indeed, in many cases it is illegal to point this out. Obviously, however, teaching people that any value or personal choice is as good as any other will encourage people toward individualistic implementations of hedonistic utilitarianism and undermine any sense of loyalty to one’s neighbors or community. That is to say, in any particular instance they will pursue whatever choice seems likely to produce the most pleasure the soonest, and they will leave it to the government (and taxpayers) to fix anything that might go wrong. After all, the government promised exactly this.
The statistics on marriage, employment, drug usage, and other such choices in these communities thoroughly confirm this intuitively obvious truth. Thus today the megastate is reaping the weeds of multiculturalism in the streets of England. After the riots in Milwaukee and smaller disturbances in other cities, one wonders how soon these chickens may come home to roost in greater profusion across the rest of the United States.
One famous American president had the confidence to assert that we could eliminate poverty in our lifetimes. That was more than 45 years ago. His belief in this premise now seems almost forgivably quaint. (Two millennia ago, Jesus said the opposite, and had it right.) This worthy statist statesman also said this:
There are those timid souls that say this battle cannot be won; that we are condemned to a soulless wealth. I do not agree. We have the power to shape the civilization that we want. But we need your will and your labor and your hearts, if we are to build that kind of society.
That “Great Society” did not work out as promised, of course, but the philosophy ofstatism (variously called progressivism, modern liberalism, etc.—the name changing each time its adherents recognize that the current label causes utter revulsion among voters) could not be stated any more bluntly than President Lyndon Johnson expressed it here. The statist believes that through government we have the power to “shape the civilization that we want.”
Sounds simple enough, right? But who, exactly, shall determine what civilization we “want”? A progressive aristocracy of technocratic experts, of course, applying strictly utilitarian and materialistic measures of value. All nicely scientific and undeniable. The role of ordinary people is to give these worthies “your labor and your hearts” so that they can get on with their fabulous work of shaping civilization.
Plus ca change! The current occupant of the White House likewise appears to believe that he, too, can “shape civilization.” His plan, if such it can be called, has been even less satisfying than Johnson’s.
President Obama is a perfect example of the other tenet of statism: professions of good intentions, plus control over the media of communications, means never having to say you’re sorry. Even if your policies result in enormous riots among restless youth, a terrifying national debt crisis, a big-government economic stimulus that doesn’t stimulate anything but a taxpayer rebellion, a public education system that leaves inner-city youth uneducated, unemployable, frustrated, and driven into lives of crime, and other such catastrophes, it’s alwaysother people’s fault: specifically, greedy millionaires and born-again Christians.
It’s the greatest scam of all time, statism. Your massive, expensive, soul-destroying government programs don’t don’t create the results you intend and in fact do the very opposite, but no worry: your satraps in the press cover it all up for you and blame your political opponents.
What do we do about all these horrific problems caused by millionaires and Christians? Confiscate even more money from them and throw it to the very same government that created the problems in the first place. Create more government programs, more government regulations, and more legislation. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Perhaps this situation seems rather hopeless to you. Maybe, however, those evil millionaires and Christians are on to something. Perhaps the countless hardworking small-business entrepreneurs, middle-class suburbanites, and libertarian idealists who contribute to the Tea Party movement have a point. They suggest that the real solutions to our problems . . .
- Can never come from government, can never be successfully imposed from the top down.
- Require liberty, lots more of it, and significantly less intrusion by government into individuals’ choices.
- Are based on a free market of free people taking responsibility for their lives, freely earning their living, pursuing their own happiness, and voluntarily helping those who can’t make it on their own.
- Require a government that does not undermine intact, two-parent, two-gender (we shouldn’t even have to say that) families that don’t rely on government largesse to survive.
- Involve the government not undermining Judeo-Christian values in government schools that teach a narcissistic relativism that holds all meaning and values are self-referential and don’t exist objectively within a naturally ordered reality.
- Cannot be imagined, determined, or implemented by a class of self-appointed experts who know what is best for every individual and community and have the right to force them to do what their superiors decide is right for them.
Modern liberals love to talk about “root causes” of all the ills of the world, always claiming that the problem is too much freedom. The root causes of the riots across England, Europe, and now apparently on the rise in the United States are quite evident. But statism means never having to say you’re sorry, and the solution to each government-created problem is more government.
It shouldn’t be very difficult, then, to figure out where all of this is heading.
—Mike D’Virgilio and S. T. Karnick