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The PJ Tatler

by
Robert Wargas

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August 18, 2011 - 9:46 am

What causes riots? Certainly not rioters, according to Deep Thinkers.

More noxious analyses of mob violence appear every day since the London riots. There are two basic ways for Deep Thinkers to explain rioters’ behavior. The first is to blame their violence on “poverty” and “alienation.” Such pop-Marxist theorizing is the stuff of Tony Benn, “Red” Ken Livingstone and fourth-rate sociology professors. Nothing new here.

The second is a variation on the first, but much more pernicious for its added dash of sado-masochism: the rioting was caused by “austerity” measures taken by the government. In England’s case, such “austerity” is the product of the wickedly laissez-faire Cameron government. The taxpayers thus brought it on themselves by refusing to provide their potential assailants with more free goodies.

This type of “analysis” appeared in a recent articlein The New Republic, glibly titled “It’s the Austerity, Stupid.” It deserves nothing but derision and ridicule. The writer declares: “The London riots were not political in nature. No chanting youth, linked arms, or raised banners. But the circumstances were: If the government hadn’t cut so many social services for young people, they literally wouldn’t have been on the streets.”

Aside from the obvious fact that no such “austerity” has been imposed on the chavs and dregs of London–they all have smartphones, free education, free medical care, and, evidently, access to designer clothing–the most odious thing about this “theory” is its logical conclusion: That society, if it wishes not to be destroyed by mobs, must pay those mobs for the service of not exploding into an orgy of criminality.

The article continues with its blase diagnosis: “The prime culprit in the riots is youth boredom and anomie that have been exacerbated by the austerity measures.”

“Boredom”? There’s some more prattle about unemployment among British youth, but, as Theodore Dalrymple explains, and as is clear to anyone who visits England, the country imports foreigners to fill its service positions, since young native Brits refuse to take such jobs. Moreover, anyone who has a Blackberry and riots at the mere mention of “austerity” is probably not someone who is employable under any circumstances.

Then, the closer: “By denying that the state has a responsibility to [assist young people], Cameron is contributing to the problem.”

I like to compare this type of analysis to blaming a rape victim’s troubles on her choice of provocative clothing: If only she hadn’t worn that short skirt. She had it coming. She should therefore “assist” potential rapists by covering up her body.

So with British taxpayers: If only they hadn’t been so greedy as to suggest keeping more of their own earned incomes and not subsidizing a violent underclass, those citizens wouldn’t have had to burn buildings and assault bystanders.

Welfare, then, has become a kind of protection racket, whereby a large and parasitic segment of the population holds off on its violence so long as it is given free stuff by others—others who should expect to be rioted upon if they think twice about coughing up their money.

Robert Wargas is a contributor to PJ Media. A native of Long Island, he was educated at the City University of New York and Yale University, and has also written for The Daily Telegraph of London and The Weekly Standard. Outside of opinion writing, he has worked as a professional historian for a major research laboratory and university, documenting the history of biotechnology since the 1970s. He has also reported for both weekly and daily newspapers, including Newsday. He maintains a personal blog/website at robertwargas.org. Follow him on Twitter @RobertWargas
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