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English Yobs

Just a few months ago, our family was studying the rich history of the English. We admired how the English planted worldwide highly refined views and systems of law, culture, and society.  The English system as reflected in its former colonies and former and current Commonwealth has been a blessing to millions if not billions over time.  The English belief in the rule of law, the common law, and the integrity of civil institutions has led to some of the freest and materially blessed countries in the world, to include our United States.  Our British friends are a long way from Runnymede and it’s been a dark hour in what used to be the center of an empire where the sun never set.

Are the English riots symptomatic of something fundamentally astray in the UK?  Are these the latest signs of the West unraveling?  Or are these isolated, unique occurrences?

Mark Levin believes the British riots are not an isolated aberrant event, but are instead reflective of the ongoing and accelerating collapse of the West.  See Levin: We are watching our society transform right before our eyes

Michael Youssef opines in Americans Should Learn from London, that those who sounded the warnings and tried to fix the UK’s unsustainable policies are being blamed for the violence and lawlessness – “whoever tries to bring sanity to a nation or a culture heading in the wrong direction will become the scapegoat.” The UK Socialist party readily agrees, at least that the Tory party reformers (conservatives) are to blame for the riots.  Indeed, they argue that the violent protests are a response to “Tory attacks.” The British socialists explain the nature of these supposed attacks – reductions in social welfare and overall government spending.  See here.

A Brit, Iain Murray has perhaps the most pointed and stinging critique of what gave rise to these mass acts of violence:

Most [rioters] have no jobs to go to or exams they might pass. They know no family role models, for most live in homes in which the father is unemployed, or from which he has decamped.

They are illiterate and innumerate, beyond maybe some dexterity with computer games and BlackBerries.

They are essentially wild beasts. I use that phrase advisedly, because it seems appropriate to young people bereft of the discipline that might make them employable; of the conscience that distinguishes between right and wrong.

They respond only to instinctive animal impulses — to eat and drink, have sex, seize or destroy the accessible property of others.

So there we have it: a large, amoral, brutalised sub-culture of young British people who lack education because they have no will to learn, and skills which might make them employable. They are too idle to accept work waitressing or doing domestic labour, which is why almost all such jobs are filled by immigrants.

They have no code of values to dissuade them from behaving anti-socially or, indeed, criminally, and small chance of being punished if they do so.

They have no sense of responsibility for themselves, far less towards others, and look to no future beyond the next meal, sexual encounter or TV football game.

They are an absolute deadweight upon society, because they contribute nothing yet cost the taxpayer billions. Liberal opinion holds they are victims, because society has failed to provide them with opportunities to develop their potential.

Most of us would say this is nonsense. Rather, they are victims of a perverted social ethos, which elevates personal freedom to an absolute, and denies the underclass the discipline — tough love — which alone might enable some of its members to escape from the swamp of dependency in which they live.

Only education — together with politicians, judges, policemen and teachers with the courage to force feral humans to obey rules the rest of us have accepted all our lives — can provide a way forward and a way out for these people.

They are products of a culture which gives them so much unconditionally that they are let off learning how to become human beings. My dogs are better behaved and subscribe to a higher code of values than the young rioters of Tottenham, Hackney, Clapham and Birmingham.

See his full critique: The Failure of the Rule of Law in Britain

In unwittingly supporting Mr. Murray, two English women explained their motivation to riot: “It was madness, good fun … . Showing the rich people we do what we want.”

As always, Jonah Goldberg in Riot Rationalization Misses the Mark, makes eminent sense in cautioning against reading too much into a riot or series of riots, since riots have been around as long as human nature.

The problem, of course, is that even if conservatives are right, there’s precious little government can do to fill the holes in such souls.

Moreover, I think we put way too much effort into intellectualizing or romanticizing mob violence. Whatever the root causes of such behavior, the simple and unavoidable truth is that looters loot because they can.

[T]he people tearing apart English society are simply criminals, whose villainy is not diluted by their numbers, but magnified by them.

Solution? I think Mr. Goldberg provides a valid short-term solution: “If Britain lacks prisons to hold them, build more prisons. Call it a jobs program if it helps.”

Ultimately, however, Mr. Goldberg’s suggestion is myopic.  You can never build enough prisons to restrain the vices of an immoral culture.  The disease of systemic immorality is spreading across the West.  Whether it’s a lack of respect for civil authority, rampant sexual promiscuity, normalization of perversion, a disregard for your neighbor’s property, or gross fiscal irresponsibility, the Western nations are rapidly loosing their moral bearings. Indeed, we’re rapidly becoming exemplars of Romans 1:18-32.  This should not be surprising to Christians since over the past 100 years, particularly in Europe, westerners have strayed further and further away from Biblical truth and morality.  You can build more prisons, but the answer long-term is in building more churches and training and equipping the next generation in the truths of God’s word. 

A beauty of the West, thus far at least, is that we can openly observe, comment and argue over what we’re doing incorrect and right ourselves before it’s too late.  While there is presently much going wrong with western liberalism, there’s nothing so drastic that an open, free and determined people cannot overcome.

[revised 8/15/11]