What do you make of the riots happening in many British cities? I’ve read with some interest the discussion on GE’s blog, although I personally believe the emphasis on race is misplaced.
I’m just returned from a week on the road, and my inbox is overflowing, so I’ll summarize my view briefly. Anyone who thinks there is an instinctive urge to violence inherent in young males of the negro, latino, Indian or any other particular race is facing an extremely uphill battle against reality. I’m sure many young fellows of those races, confronted by such a proposition, would be likely to reply, grinning, at least I’m not a bloody Viking! So, we can forget all about race being a factor in any of this.
Culture, though—that’s a different matter altogether. I’d say what you are witnessing is a “perfect storm” of toxic cultural influences. British readers of this blog (resident and expatriate) could articulate these, I’m sure, far better than I, but a confected, cynically- and commercially-driven gangsta culture which may or may not have ever existed in this form in its supposed home of Jamaica; a welfare culture of ungrateful and irresponsible entitlement and helpless mendicancy which I discussed at length here; and above all, a lack of leadership, on every level are, in my opinion, the factors driving the current civil unrest in Britain.
Leadership. Where the devil are these boys’ fathers? Most likely, absent from the moment they were aware their mothers were pregnant. The decline of the family as the core social unit, and the explosion of pregnancies amongst unwed, teenage girls (up to 70% of all live births in some parts of the U.S. and U.K.) is central to understanding this issue. When you consider that 75% of all violent crime in the United States is committed by young men who grew up in a home without a father (a statistic which British readers on James’ blog told me is replicated there as well, and which I suspect is true also of Australia and New Zealand), you realise the magnitude of the problem. And no, this is not a slur against single mothers; rather it is a condemnation of men who evade their responsibility.
And why shouldn’t they? In the toxic culture of the welfare state, personal responsibility is evaporated away, diluted into an amorphous responsibility of “society”; by which is invariably meant government. An unwanted baby is presumed to be someone else’s problem. I don’t know about you, but I can’t look into the mirror and convince myself that had I been brought up in such circumstances, in such a moral vacuum, that I would have turned out any different to some of these boys we are watching on television today. If that makes me a dinosaur, so be it.
Then there is the failure of community. The adage that the devil makes use of idle hands was never so apt as here. Young men who are busy educating themselves or beginning careers, and who invest their leisure time in sporting and other healthy recreational pursuits, are far less likely (as they have so much more to lose) to get caught up in the kind of violence we have witnessed this past week. In Sydney, where I grew up, the police force long ago recognized this basic reality, and in 1937 formed the Police Boys’ Club, which served to channel the energy of at-risk young men into football, boxing and the like. The number of adult men the police helped keep out of jail over many decades, and the number of Australian sporting champions that were produced as a result, no-one will ever know.
There is failure of leadership, too, at the government level. When was the last UK Prime Minister who could proclaim, We are the British people, and we are proud of it! (ironically, the last pommie PM with that kind of cojones actually didn’t possess any). Such a sentiment uttered today would be met by the MSM with howling accusations of racism—accusations which, in an increasingly multi-racial nation, grow more hollow with each passing year. No, the kind of simpering, cowering “leaders” we have seen of late are more concerned with reducing themselves to mere deputies of Britain’s real leaders across La Manche. Terrified of offending anybody (an impossible task in a society, a sizeable proportion of which are determined to characterize themselves as victims, no matter how implausibly), Britain’s leaders appear incapable of taking any really decisive action to deal with these uprisings. This is shameful in itself, but it is symptomatic of a wider malaise in society.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the root of the problem is not the juxtaposition of races or ethnic backgrounds, but an all-too-eager willingness to cede individual responsibility to the state. Those who do so, rarely realise that in so doing they are also ceding the rights upon which those responsibilities are attendant. I cannot see any long-term solution until there is a general re-awakening to the fact that self-betterment begins from within. From my own vantage point at the far end of the planet, I would suggest that, in an age where even this is possible, salvation may be closer than you think.
I’ll be tied up with work all week, but will check in when I’m able.