Great Britain is slowly regaining its breath after a week of ferocious riots that collapsed the civilized veneer of London and several other large British cities. The presence of willful anti-social behavior is nothing new in western society, but the scale and scope of these riots was something Brits and other Europeans had always associated with the more uncouth United States. No more. A particularly rabid form of animal behavior surged over British cities and it was led by a concoction of races, ages, and crime behaviors. The physical damage was in the hundreds of millions and the psychological damage to British society staggeringly more. A completely uncontrolled youth Clockwork Orange-like thuggery met up with a completely unprepared police “service”, and the outcome was predictable – arson, looting, beatings, and worse on a countrywide remorseless scale.
The British stiff upper lip is now stiff from a self induced beating. The underlying causes of such acts are being hashed out. Mark Steyn is quite sure he knows what happened. His new book has a chapter on the elements causing collapse of British cultural stability and prophetically predates the violence, but predicts it as inevitable. His National Review Online article points to a concerted effort by British governments to remove responsibility and risk from British life, with cradle to grave support regardless of personal contribution or effort. A generation whose central meaning for existence is pure unadulterated want has been created, and Steyn traces the rapidness of the conversion from the generation that tolerated insufferable hardship in World War II fighting off the Nazi menace to a generation in whom tolerance for any hardship is insufferable. He suggests that the lesson learned is a society that has forgotten its identity, discipline and culture has no capacity to defend itself against its own destruction. Great Britain practically invented the rights and principles of due process, international trade, the industrial revolution, the universality of education, and taking time for tea but can not seem to discern the destructive virus of lives without meaning and purpose. The portrait of a broken society is sharply brought into view every week on Prime Minister’s questions when one of the great deliberative legislative bodies in history spend the greater portion of their time excoriating each other as to their inability to micro-manage the quality of sanitation at local hospitals, or the length of their waiting lists. No one bothers to ask as to why such conditions exist and why their efforts continue to be so ineffective. Like everything else in a crumbling society, the argument is how to drag everyone to mediocrity for fear of exposing any one individual into a personal decision of responsibility. The government wastes its time trying to keep every citizen from feeling stress in any way, only to create a citizen that can barely feel anything.
The obvious corollary of a Great Britain that has lost its way with an America that is heading down the same path is unavoidable. The elite in America see as terrorists a grassroots movement that has asked the country to live within its means, promote personal responsibility, and conform to the principles that are outlined in its own Constitution. Pretty radical stuff, no? Its radical of course only because those that would see in the British social experiment a course to emulate rather than a course to avoid are the principle tea party name callers. The resistance of a mature society to these invectives is the measure of its energy, resilience, and progress. Great Britain may have lost its soul but its not too late for us, if we recognize in time the format of destruction. To those in great Britain and greater Europe I say:
Save your Lectures, but, Thanks for the Lessons…