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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

London Bridges Falling Down, My Fair Lady

You don’t make the poor richer by making the rich poorer.” — Winston Churchill

There is an old children’s nursery rhyme that goes “London bridges falling down, falling down, falling down my fair lady.” It seems that after four nights of rioting, looting and vandalism by thousands of thugs the bridges of London are still standing, but for how long?

News reports claim that London was quiet last night with triple the normal police on the streets, but the violence had shifted to the northern cities of Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

Thousands of extra police officers on the streets kept a nervous London quiet Tuesday night after three nights of rioting, but looting flared in Manchester and Birmingham, where a murder probe was opened when three men were killed after being hit by a car.

Eerie calm prevailed in the capital, where hundreds of shops were shuttered or boarded up as a precaution, but unrest spread across England on a fourth night of violence by brazen crowds of young people.

Scenes of ransacked stores, torched cars and blackened buildings have frightened and outraged Britons just a year before their country is to host next summer's Olympic Games, bringing demands for a tougher response from law enforcement. Police across the country have made almost 1,200 arrests since the violence broke out over the weekend.

In London, where armored vehicles and convoys of police vans patrolled the streets, authorities said there were 16,000 officers on duty — almost triple the number present Monday night.

The show of force seems to have worked. There were no reports of major trouble in London, although there were scores of arrests — almost 800 people in the capital since violence began Saturday.

"What happened in London last night was, when community leaders and the police came together, there were significant arrests," said police deputy assistant chief constable Stephen Kavanagh. "Some looters were taken away before they got into doing anything, but it was that joint action that made the difference."

The rioting may be coming to a temporary end, but the debate over the causes has yet to begin. Conservatives will claim a victory by the stronger police presence and claim it was only small groups malcontents who were the culprits. Liberals will claim the riots were the results of budget cuts in the welfare programs and that the rioters were expressing their displeasure with the lack of social and economic justice in what they call the British class system. Neither is correct.

Take as an example a report of what happened at a London restaurant:

The looters, wearing masks and hoodies, stormed the well known restaurant at 10:52pm and immediately began threatening those inside with machetes, knives and bats.

Louise Yang, who was dining with her husband, used her blog to describe how her meal was suddenly interrupted.

"The restaurant staff was yelling at us to get away from the windows. Before I knew it, the front door, a solid piece of glass shattered and people came crashing in with hoodies, masks, and random weapons," she wrote.

"The looters were yelling at us to get down and throwing stuff all over the place. I got down and started taking off my wedding and engagement ring to hide somewhere, but unfortunately wasn't fast enough. One looter came up and demanded my phone. I didn't have it with me since it was in my purse and it was out of arm's reach. I also didn't want to lead him to my passport, so I said I didn't have one.

"He told me to take off my rings and grabbed my hand, trying to yank them off. His friend tried to help too, but the rings wouldn't come off and I just yelled at him that I'd take them off myself. In hindsight, now that I know that gun control is so fierce in England and he only had bat, I should have held on to my rings better and maybe slugged him in the face."

Maggie and Clive Wilkinson, in their 50s, were celebrating their 29th wedding anniversary when they heard an enormous crash as the youths broke through the windows.

"Thirty people burst in, it was like something out of a movie," Maggie Wilkinson told The (London) Times. "They had baseball bats, things like that. They were shouting at people, 'We want your money, your wallets, your watches, your phones.' Everyone was screaming."

Does this sound like people looking for social justice? Yet the apologists on the progressive left will turn it into a referendum on the lack of social spending in the once great United Kingdom. Already reporters, journalists and pundits are using words like; “poor”, “diverse”, “class system”, “austerity program” and “budget cuts on the back of minorities and the poor.” Just read the reports and op-ed pieces and you will see a plethora of these words.

I doubt that many, if any, reports will delve into the real cause of the riots — the failure of over 100 years of a growing welfare state began by England’s Fabian Socialists. Or will they explore the teachings of Cloward and Piven, Saul Alinsky, Van Jones and other progressive left-wing preachers.

What is happening in England is indicative of that failing all over Europe and growing in the United States as exemplified in Wisconsin, Philadelphia and the latest East Coast Verizon strike. Britain‘s riots began Saturday when an initially peaceful protest over a police shooting in London’s Tottenham neighborhood turned violent. That clash has morphed into a general lawlessness in London and several other cities that police have struggled to halt with ordinary tactics.

While the rioters have run off with sneakers, bikes, electronics and leather goods, they also have torched stores apparently just for the fun of seeing something burn. They were left virtually unchallenged in several neighborhoods, and when police did arrive they often were able to flee quickly and regroup.

Some saw Britain’s economic crisis and deep cuts planned for social benefits as a deeper underlying cause for the outburst of violence.

CNBC published an article yesterday showing where the unrest is spreading. So where is that, exactly? How about Israel, Spain, Greece, Portugal, the Philippines, China, and Syria.

Great Britain and other parts of the world are experiencing unrest at a time of global economic uncertainty and stock market volatility,” the article notes. “Here‘s a look at what’s happening around the world and how economic downturns are bringing protestors into the streets.”

We’ve well documented what’s going on in Great Britain, so here are some excerpts from CNBC’s analysis of the rest of the world. Here are some of the demands from protestors, according to Reuters:

  • Increase personal tax brackets for top earners
  • Enshrine the right to housing in the law; introduce rent controls; boost mortgage relief
  • Stop further privatization of things such as health facilities
  • Provide free education for all from the age of three months
  • Raise the minimum wage to 50 percent of the average wage

This stuff is exactly what the progressive left is demanding in the United States. They believe the most effective means to obtain these demands is to follow the Cloward and Piven strategy of crashing the system and creating chaos.

Bob Livingston wrote in his article about Benevolent Totalitarianism:

The human population is composed of two personality types. The masses are the worker bees, and a small minority are human parasites who live off the masses through deception and manipulation.

The political and social order is the creation of evil men from which and through which greater humanity is ruled. Most, but not all, politicians work behind masks. They speak in a seductive language and manipulate the minds of the people who vote for them. The ruling elite highly favor deceptive politicians who think nothing of selling their souls for money.

Since only a very small number is comprised of the ruling elite and their obedient lackeys, they must rule with deceit and from sanctuaries of privilege, out of sight, like the city of London. (See Empire of the City by E.C. Knuth.)

When the elite rulers walk among us, they do so under disguises and complicated cloaks. However, students of the World Order have detected over the years that the esoteric is revealed to the discerning in signs and symbols.

These signs and symbols portray innocence and even benevolence to the public, but they operate on a dual or hidden agenda, i.e., deception.”

The conventional wisdom has it that cuts in government services and poverty are driving these hooligans into Britain's streets. Certainly, the left has a vested interest in promoting that viewpoint. But British writer, Philip Womack, offers a far less conventional — indeed, intriguing — perspective on the looters and rioters:

“But these riots are not Ballardian. His concern the middle classes – journalists, politicians, children's writers – who, unable to cope with the psychological pressures of modern life, revert to primeval tendencies. They have some layer of civilization which is removed. This is also what I discussed in my novel The Liberators , where the villainous Luther-Ross brothers offered a version of freedom – the removal of conscience – which resulted in murders, violence and rioting in Oxford Circus.”

“The Luther-Ross brothers [characters from his novel] would have no trouble recruiting the rioters to their band of Liberators. They have no consciences to be removed in the first place. What we need to do is systemic, and it needs to be done from the roots up, and it needs to be done now. It has nothing to do with cuts, or even poverty. It is to do with generational psychological flaws: and the only way to solve this is to get in there and talk, and show that every action, mindless or not, has its equal and opposite reaction. We need to show unity, and show these children that their actions are not a form of freedom. Freedom comes from self-regulation, not self-abandonment. Their actions will only lead them into slavery: psychological, and real.”

As Professor Victor Davis Hanson writes in his blog about the inexplicables, comments that, except for the time reference mirror my thoughts to a tee.

“I came into this world in 1953 replete with electricity, and modern medicine at the dawn of the age of antibiotics and polio vaccines, and relative peace — no Japanese imperialism, or German Nazism, no death from tetanus. Who gave us all that and at what price? California had then a wonderful university system, impressive freeways, a lean and hardworking public sector, and vibrant industry. We were given so much and yet appreciate so little of that inheritance, citing the sins of past generations, less commonly the gifts they bestowed. I said “gifts” because if they were not benefactions, we would have blown up Hetch-Hetchy dam, turned off the juice from the Morro Bay or Moss Landing power plants, or passed on driving on the 99. Has our generation improved test scores, or created safer streets? Is air travel so much better than forty years ago? When one walks into the DMV, or the county assessor’s office, are the employees so much more polite and competent than in the past?

So I am baffled by the paradox that our present generation is the most critical in our history of its predecessors, and yet in so many areas so clearly wanting. When I meet a contractor, go to a car dealer’s shop, or scan a government bureau, I instinctively look for the “old person,” that is, some man or woman over 60 (and preferably over 70) of any race or class or gender, whose quite different assumptions about life might permeate the work force, or whose greater expertise might rub off on others. When he is absent, chaos seems to reign. The tragedy of the entire university, postmodern race/class/gender writ against past Americans is the fact that our generation has little to show for its moral posturing. When Obama lists our sins from Hiroshima to supposed genocide, I wonder how he would have managed a wagon train, or what he would have done when facing the horrific choices of either sending the napalm-carrying B-29s over Japan or invading the island to trump an Okinawa ten times over. Would he have voted present?

How much dialoguing with people — kids or otherwise — conducting themselves as savages is of any real value is dubious. Jail time might be a better cure. But Womack's other insights point strongly to the tragic results of anything goes, value- and moral-free progressive culture.

And, one might add, it points to the British welfare state as a culprit and expression of the emptiness of progressive society. Young people who are all too accustomed to government handouts have been denied the opportunities and incentives to develop initiative to build independence and self-worth through their own efforts. The state is a layer atop a degraded culture that has made British streets mean and brutish. And as the movie trailers proclaim; “coming to your neighborhood soon.”

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