Thursday, August 25, 2011

Britain’s Sick Society

London bus burning, #1

Prof. Robert Wistrich is a professor of Modern European History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the director of its Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA). The piece below, originally published in Jewish Journal, was written as a response to the recent riots in London.

Britain’s Sick Society
by Robert S. Wistrich

Watching the ferocious criminality displayed during the riots in British cities during the past weeks, one might be forgiven for thinking that this explosion of mob violence was taking place in some dilapidated god-forsaken Third World country. The horrific scenes of homes and businesses of ordinary Britons going up in flames will not be easily forgotten. Property was smashed up with brazen impunity, cars burned, and there was looting on a truly massive scale. Not only businesses, banks, post-offices, off-licenses, newsagents and luxury-goods shops but also restaurants, pubs and cafes were comprehensively trashed. The video-recordings often show hooded looters replete with bundles of “free” sports goods under their arms, emerging from shops with big grins on their faces. Looters helped themselves to everything from flat-screen TVs and mobile phones to iPads, laptops and a wide variety of electronics.

For the first three days, the Metropolitan Police (MET) in Britain’s capital city appeared alarmingly powerless to stem the tide. The police have, unfortunately, had to function within a society paralyzed by the politics of victimhood, loudly defended by an increasingly misguided liberal intelligentsia. Within this victim culture most social problems are conveniently blamed on the “racism” or oppression of the majority, while ignoring the failings or delinquency of criminal individuals or gangs. Under this banner, even the British riots can be blamed on unemployment, poverty and the cuts in public spending (not yet implemented) proposed in the austerity program of the Cameron government. The simplistic equation adopted by the liberal Left sees the root cause of social disorder in “economic despair” and unspecified “racial tensions” between various communities. Not unexpectedly, London’s former Leftist Mayor, “Red” Ken Livingstone, immediately blamed the “Thatcherism” of the present Tory Government for the violence. For Livingstone and most of the Labour Left, it is all stunningly obvious — no spending cuts, no riots.
This has also been the kneejerk response of the New York Times, pontificating about the alienation and resentments of Britain’s unemployed youth, as if they were the real victims. But as Max Hastings pointed out in the London Daily Mail, the British mayhem was not sparked by hunger or evidence of real want, let alone any social or political agenda. It reflects the emergence not just of an amorphous underclass but of an amoral, brutalized subculture in which intellectually challenged youngsters claimed to be showing the rich and the fuzz that “we can do what we like.”

British Prime Minister, David Cameron, got it partly right when he responded to the chaos by stating: “This is not about poverty, it’s about culture” — a culture of rights and no responsibilities. But conservatives as much as liberals or leftists are to blame for their foolish support for a dependency culture in which recipients of the largesse of the welfare State have no incentive to be employed. Together with the dependency culture, came the disastrous assumption of entitlement to a high standard of living irrespective of any individual effort. As a result, the nanny-State has created a generation of morally crippled youths with no compunction about willfully smashing up their own communities.

During the last 40 years Britain has seen the breakdown of the family, households with absent fathers, high divorce rates in general, and the encouragement of a sexual free-for-all, embroidered by the dominant clichés of life-style choice. Liberal and leftist intellectuals have continued their relentless assault on British national identity in the name of multi-culturalism and “anti-imperialism”; calls for drug liberalization became increasingly frequent; education has become more and more “child-centered,” leaving issues of sexual morality and drug-taking largely in the hands of teenagers themselves. Sadly, Britain has been fostering an educational system in which teachers are more intimidated than pupils, a society where the police force is partially paralyzed by young looters destroying property with utter impunity, where corrupt politicians fiddle their expenses, where millionaires repeatedly evade tax and uncontrolled immigration is steadily undermining the social fabric.

In the United Kingdom, long notorious for its uncouth soccer hooligans and yob culture, there had long been disturbing signs of the incipient breakdown of civilized behavior which were studiously ignored. The current collapse of the British welfare-state model into mindless thuggery is a warning to all countries of the fragile nature of supposedly stable Western democracies. The thin façade of civilization protecting us from barbarism and mob rule has been exposed to full view. No society in which a significant sector of its youth are without fathers, without guidance, educational qualifications, modern skills or positive ambitions, can expect to survive, let alone prosper. The writing is on the wall for all to read.


Rob said...

I think that this article is spot on. Pandering to and appeasing the grievances of the victim classes only gives their, mostly self created, realities more validity. By supporting their outlook, it only emboldens them more while it enforces their belief that they should be taken care of by society-that they are owed something by society. People need to start teaching these people that they are responsible for their actions, their lives, and their successes and/or failures. This will then empower them. The power they think they have in rioting is false power. Victim culture is a disease and needs to be dealt with.

Expelliarmus13 said...

It is so sad :( THe question is, what can be done now, in order to find a way out, or at least save the things which can still be saved. Is there any way out?
How can this generation of teensthat come from broken homes, be brought back on the right track?
Questions over Questions. Are there any answers?
Even so, this IS a really good piece of writing.

Franklin said...

In the long sight, two major events have got us to where we are today. 1.) Hitler killed off all the intelligencia and working men. Hence the importation of both after WW2 from muslim und untermensch countries.
2.) The advent and acceptance of "multi~kulti" by conservative and liberal governments in the past sixty years. (This multiculturalism has brought about a total dumbing down of the world population in order not to exclude or hurt anyone's feelings. Therefore stupid and uneducated people have been re-elected continually to the point where no one has the smarts to govern). Pity, isn't it?

Dymphna said...

@ Expelliarmus13

You're right: this is sad in the extreme.

Your question, "what is to be done?", isn't easy to answer.

Here's my guess: by the estimates of many "experts" who study socialist, nanny cultures, keeping these money-intensive programs leads to economic collapsge, usually within two, or at most three, generations.

In places like the UK the various factions and fissions which make up the underclasss outbreed the middle class by a wide margin. In many countries within the EU these educated elites aren't even having enough children to replace themselves. All too often women opt out of parenthood entirely, preferring to focus on their careers.

Individual decisions, perfectly reasonable, have far-reaching consequences.

In addiiton, government stupidities, multiplied repeatedly over time, increase the burdens on the unbred middle class so they can support the "poor" as this segment continues to breed.

The govt's unintended consequences have reaped a whirlwind of disorder and degradation which they do nothing to check. Nothing.

It's a ponzi scheme will is going to come crashing down in the near future. No one quite knows when. I suggest drawing up a reading list re likely outcomes in the wake of this implosion (though it may be a more gradual slide into squalor) and figure out what you can do to stay safe when things go sideways.

IOW, the govt has spent you into financial and cultural ruin. Never forget that bureaucrata are stupid. They may start out w/ normal intelligence, but as memo after memo piles up on top of directive after directive, the toxic environment makes them dumbed and numbed downward.

So: the first thing to do is to figure out where you are. You know, the social/cultural OODA loop...

Sorry I don't have better answers. Here in the US, we're facing huge problems when this goes down. But with the states and the federal bureaucracies in place, there is at least some diffusion.

JS123 said...

Someday someone is going to write a great book called "Darwin vs. Liberalism" which shows how liberalism is an unmitigated disaster from a Darwinian perspective: any people which adopt it go extinct.