Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain — and since labor is pain in itself — it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work….When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.” –Frederic Bastiat in The Law
This article does not peer into the deep philosophical or moral aspects of the riots. If you want that, read this article.
Ah, English riots. There’s nothing quite like it. After the recent riots performed for no legitimate reason — and the other recent window-smashing party being over college tuition — British riots are getting as common as bangers and mash.
Yes I know, you might think I’m being unfair. But I’m not. You also might think that the British rioters are in a minority because they’re “poor” and on welfare. “Fewer than two-fifths of eurozone citizens work, and over 60 percent receive state benefits.” Says Mark Steyn in the latest issue of National Review. And a recent study showed that there are 352,000 British households in which nobody had ever worked before. Minority? Far from it. The rioters have been generally identified as the uneducated, non-working among the Brits who undoubtedly are receiving state benefits. I guess wealthy, working guys in suits just don’t go for looting gas stations and burning cars.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has claimed that the thuggery is not in any way representative of their country. The problem is that massive welfare and dependence is representative of their country and such programs certainly bear some of the blame for the wanton violence. Programs like welfare create massive dependency on the government dole. Thus, when politicians cut welfare like they should, dependents can be expected to respond like the little brats the program has created. This is fact was made explicitly apparent when British youth threw that massive temper tantrum after the government tried to make them pay slightly more for their college tuition in the face of unsustainable debt.
Some politicians try to blame spending cuts as an excuse for what the rioters have done. It’s not, obviously. It’s not the cuts that are at fault, it is the fact that such programs have been allowed to thrive for so long. Yet even still, the welfare programs do not bear all the blame.
Cameron has decided that instead of doing politically damaging things like cutting welfare, they’ll just restrict social media. That should solve the problem right? After all, we didn’t have riots before we had social media, did we? While it is true that social media has been widely used by rioters to plot attacks, restricting social media doesn’t mean the rioters will change their convictions. They will just plot attacks by calling people instead of tweeting, or having actual conversations with their co-conspirators. Only, they will probably carry a conversation in which neither side speaks more than 140 characters at a time.
Social media is being used more and more by the discontented majority. The protests in the Middle East, after all, was called the Facebook Revolution. Maybe we could call the British riots the Blackberry Revolution. Blackberrys have been recognized as a British rioter’s best friend. Yes, Blackberrys are quite attractive from the perspective of a rioter: Cheap, but with the capabilities of a smartphone; plus the fact that Blackberry text messages are encrypted so that only the sender and receiver can see it. At least, it would be an added benefit if the British Government couldn’t already read Blackberry text messages. Creepy, huh? Countries like Saudi Arabia for the longest time have been unable to see the messages sent from a Blackberry until after they threatened to ban the phone in their country. But the British government never had to make any such threat. It turns out that under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) the British government is allowed to access the messages sent to and from Blackberrys.
You could call it: “Britain’s Grim RIPA.”
Sure technology is “changing the world.” But not without the watchful eye of the government. They’re everywhere. Maybe they just don’t want to be left out…
Now their yen for inclusion has led the British police to arrest two men for “inciting” riots on their Facebook pages. But, if nobody took the Facebook pages seriously, there would have been no problem. If I read “kill so-and-so” scrawled onto the wall of a bathroom stall, do I go and do it? No. But then again, I wouldn’t have gone rioting either. Still, you cannot place days of burning cars and smashed windows on two random people who might not have even been rioters themselves.
One was arrested for saying, “Smash Down Northwich Town,” and encouraging people to gather “behind maccies” — translated to mean MacDonald’s. The other was arrested for saying, “Let’s Have a Riot in Latchford.” Both comments are vague and indefinite.
Although, British law enforcement has been effectively useless for quite some time. Consider the three men who were killed defending their homes in London. Why? Because there’s not a big difference between a homeowner with a stick and a cop with a stick. The only marginal difference is that the homeowner probably cares more. Mark Steyn, a Brit himself, says that in Britain everything is policed except for crime. Indeed, when Sam Brown noted to a mounted police officer on Cornmarket Street in Oxford, “Do you know your horse is gay?”, he was quickly surrounded by six police officers and several squad cars, handcuffed, and thrown into the Bastille for a night and then fined 80 pounds for his homophobic comment. Or Simon Ledger who was arrested on racism charges for singing the 70’s classic Kung Fu Fighting in an English bar. Yes, British law enforcement has turned into a bit of an intolerant, hypersensitive joke.
Cameron pledges to mend their “broken society” now that the riots have stopped. How? By passing some more ineffective and despotic regulations on your people? The government can’t fix society, it can only allow for mending to take place. The only conceivable way the government can try to fix a society is by giving it money or things that cost money provided by taxpayers. It only picks the pockets of the British people so that government to hand it back to them in the most inefficient way possible. If Cameron wants to pass more massive welfare measure to “fix” Britain, he wouldn’t be solving the problem, he’d be making it worse. And didn’t you say in your address to the House of Commons that, “there is no one step that can be taken?”
Well there is, but it doesn’t involve the government blocking social media the access of suspected rioters or throwing money at people. It involves the government getting out of the way to grant people the opportunity to do it themselves. Part of the solution also lies in cutting the cumbersome and prodigious welfare programs.
All this may solve the problem, but one thing that’s missing is…
Well, now I’m getting into the deep stuff.