Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Brendan O'Neill of The Australian writes a very perceptive piece about the senseless rioting that has swallowed up London, correctly noting the role of the welfare state in shaping the minds of the rioters:
What we have on the streets of London and elsewhere are welfare-state mobs. The youth who are shattering their own communities represent a generation that has been suckled by the state more than any generation before it. They live in urban territories where the sharp-elbowed intrusion of the welfare state during the past 30 years has pushed aside older ideals of self-reliance and community spirit. The march of the welfare state into every aspect of urban, less well-off people's existences, from their financial wellbeing to their child-rearing habits and even into their emotional lives, with the rise of therapeutic welfarism designed to ensure that the poor remain "mentally fit", has undermined individual resourcefulness and social bonding. The antisocial youthful rioters are the end-product of this antisocial system of state intervention.Much later, O'Neill succinctly, if indelicately, characterizes the rioters as, "a generation happy to shit on its own doorstep," after "the tentacle-like spread of the welfare state into every area of people's lives has utterly zapped old social bonds." To the rioters' minds, why shouldn't they behave like this, when the adults will clean up after them, as they always have? And, what sorts of meaningful bonds can someone form, who knows how to want, but not how to value things, in the sense of having to work to obtain them? The agony of the store owner who loses everything in a fire set on a lark won't be real to such savages.
--- In Other News ---
For a really depressing example of bad premises driving out good, consider the following Alan Greenspan quote in light of what he knows, but has decided to ignore, about inflation (scroll down): "The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that. So there is zero probability of default."
The following good question comes from the end of a conservative commentator's analysis of the mentality of Paul Krugman and his leftist ilk: "How can they plume themselves on their 'scientific' thoughtfulness and rationality, when they haven't done the basic work of sitting down and figuring out how to make a convincing argument?"
Via Instapundit is an executive summary of the proximate cause of London's Welfare State Riots, given the irrationality of the rioters: "What’s the cause of the riot? I’m guessing lack of incoming fire."