Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The UK Is Burning

I have been listening to the news from the UK and it is both terrifying and heartbreaking.  It is also ominous.

Terrifying because the thought of gangs of angry, destructive people roaming the cities in packs, destroying everything in their path, is one that makes me feel particularly powerless.  How do you reason with a pack?

Heartbreaking because the "authorities" whose authority is being rejected are reacting like disapproving parents.  I actually heard one government spokesman say, "If they'll go home and behave we'll talk to them."  Behave?  Up until now, they have.  And no one talks to them.  That's not how the game is played.  Power talks to dissent when it can no longer ignore it.

Heartbreaking because there has to be a reason this is happening.  People don't just suddenly explode into violence.  They burn, slowly and steadily, for a long time.  They simmer.  If the heat isn't turned down, they boil.  And at some point, they boil over or blow up.

I don't condone violence.  I don't argue that there's anything justified about the destruction, the looting, the theft.  But I know there has got to be a REASON.  I found a Londoner's blog today that offers a damned good guess at what's happening.  Everyday people have nothing to lose and that is dangerous.

Meet Penny Red.  And pay attention.  Don't think this is a strictly UK phenomenon, you great embarrassments in Washington.

Panic in the Streets


Ruth said...

I agree. I heard a man on NPR yesterday, in response to the reporter's question, 'why are you doing this': "would you be listening to me if I weren't?"

Nocomme1 said...

I think Laurie Penny misses the point . If the riots are based on disenfranchment and a lack of hope why isn't India in flames? Why aren't countries with much greater poverty and despair burning? A more comprehensive explanation is required.

For my money Mark Steyn offers a far more compelling case As Steyn states these riots represent "the logical dead end of the Nanny State.". This criminal, thuggish behavior can be laid at the feet of a 50 year year old policy of political correctness, multiculturalism and depedency-nurturing socialism. When you are told that the govt owes you everything and then doesn't deliver and when you are told you deserve to be given everything, you have no feeling of ownership. It is easy to put the torch to things that have no value to you than those things you think you do. These punks have been told so long that the West is evil and corrupt that burning it down makes perfect sense. This situation can only arise in a populace that thinks that society is shit and that is what the Left has been saying about the West for decades. You reap what you sew.

Susan said...

I'm a bit confused by that last comment. The West? Isn't the UK the West? These aren't third world riots - they're a motley crew of British people, some of them immigrants, many of them UK born and bred.

Where are the riots where people feel disenfranchised? Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Israel.....

I don't totally disagree with you. There is a sense of trust betrayed - the government said "We'll take care of you." It can't. Or it won't.

Much as my liberal heart loves the idea of socialism, there's clearly a flaw. Canada's having big trouble with its medical system. So is the UK. And the capitalist pay as you go system has degenerated into a pay insurance until you're broke model because of a system which rewards greed and subsidizes mediocrity.

It's a new world and not a better one. I feel for today's young people. We're not leaving them much to be proud of.

JamaGenie said...

Don't know who said it originally, but "Men with paychecks in their pockets don't riot". A resident of one of the torched neighborhoods said that the looters and arsonists were "mostly young men with nothing to do all day".

Contrary to popular opinion, people become part of the Nanny State when they have no other way to support themselves and their families.

There's no rioting in India because India is awash in jobs provided by U.S. companies bent on trimming the almighty bottom line even if it means letting America devolve into a banana republic.

In the UK, unequal distribution of wealth has been a way of life for centuries. Emigration to America, Canada or Australia used to be the alternative for those near the bottom of the heap who wanted a better life, but not any more.

The London riots are a rehearsal for what will be happening in the U.S. if the do nothings in Congress continue to do nothing to create jobs for Americans.

Nocomme1 said...

In fact the unemployment rate in India is very high: 10.8%. So high unemployment does NOT alone explain the English riots.

And I would contend that it is not up to Congress to create jobs. You can't legislate or mandate employment. The private sector creates jobs and is hampered from doing so by government getting in the way.

Susan said...

India is not quiet.

This is about global government problems. No one is immune.

Nocomme1 said...

I'm a little surpised that you would find a peaceful, candle light vigil protesting the incareceration of an anti-corruption activist with the nihilistic burnings, murders, looting and general mayhem committed by thousands of young people whose only real stated motive is to get stuff because nobody can stop them. In the Indian case the protestors are invested in making positive changes in their society. In the English case you have a generation of thugs who think their society is worthless.

There is a difference between political protest and crime. The English rioters had no stated agenda beyond getting free stuff and having a good time. The protests in all the countries you point to are about people wanting to make some sort political change.

In my comments about the West I was trying to say that multiculturalism in the West frequently denigrates Western Civilization (which can no longer even be found as a course in most colleges), blaming it for most of history's evils. At its best it promotes the idea that Western Civilization is nothing special. That idea combined with the development of a Nanny State mentality sets the scene for a populace that thinks their society is a crappy sham that owes them something. Bingo: Nihilistic British rioters.

If those half-wit punks in England had pride in their country and felt invested in it - that they have the opportunity to make positive changes in their lives, and that changes only come from some govt beaurocrat's whim, they wouldn't have headed for the torches.