August 9, 2011
Another night of fiery riots in London. Scores of homes and businesses looted and destroyed. Innocents beaten, robbed, and humiliated. Most of the rioters and looters are young, teenagers. Of course, one wonders why London and other British cities are seeing outbreaks of mob action and lawlessness.
The conventional wisdom has it that cuts in government services and poverty are driving these hooligans into Britain’s streets. Certainly, the left has a vested interest in promoting that viewpoint. But British writer, Philip Womack, offers a far less conventional — indeed, intriguing – perspective on the looters and rioters.
The Luther-Ross brothers [characters from a Womack novel] would have no trouble recruiting the rioters to their band of Liberators. They have no consciences to be removed in the first place. What we need to do is systemic, and it needs to be done from the roots up, and it needs to be done now. It has nothing to do with cuts, or even poverty. It is to do with generational psychological flaws: and the only way to solve this is to get in there and talk, and show that every action, mindless or not, has its equal and opposite reaction. We need to show unity, and show these children that their actions are not a form of freedom. Freedom comes from self-regulation, not self-abandonment. Their actions will only lead them into slavery: psychological, and real.
How much dialoguing with people — kids or otherwise — conducting themselves as savages is of any real value is dubious. Jail time might be a better cure. But Womack’s other insights point strongly to the tragic results of anything goes, value- and moral-free progressive culture.
And, one might add, it points to the British welfare state as a culprit and expression of the emptiness of progressive society. Young people who are all too accustomed to government handouts have been denied the opportunites and incentives to develop initiative to build independence and self-worth through their own efforts. The state is a layer atop a degraded culture that has made British streets mean and brutish.