Friday, August 12, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Comrade Earth Bound Misfit made this very perceptive observation about the London riots today:
Rioting is a self-destructive action. Riots generally only cause the authorities to become even more brutal and oppressive. Riots also are a sign that people feel helpless and believe that they have no power to change the system. The difference between a riot and an insurrection is that in an insurrection, people do have a sense that they can effect change.

What Do Hosni Mubarack, Bashar al-Assad, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and David Cameron All Have in Common?
The thought that occurred to me as I was reading about these riots is how similar they were to the 1960s riots in America. Destroying the neighborhood you live in or near must be one of the ultimate signs of hopelessness. If you're mad enough to fight someone, why not fight the people who caused the problem? At least part of the answer is that they just don't see any hope that it will do any good.

Cameron is like those other guys Comrade EB mentions, partly because he uses the same sort of misdirection to accuse others of causing the problems his own government is largely responsible for:
In a sombre address to MPs recalled from their summer break, Mr Cameron promised to "restore a sense of morality" to Britain, laying much of the blame for the violence at the door of parents whose children took part. Rejecting claims that poverty lay behind the rioting and looting, Mr Cameron said the root causes of the violence were cultural, not economic. "A culture that glorifies violence, shows disrespect to authority, and says everything about rights but nothing about responsibilities. The young people stealing flatscreen televisions and burning shops – that was not about politics or protest, it was about theft," he said.

UK riots: tougher powers could curb Twitter
I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that those young people are unemployed (NOTE 1) far more than the country at large, and Cameron's government just decided to cut the safety net so they could feed more money to the banks.

By the way, as someone pointed out today, there is at least one way that David Cameron isn't like those other guys. They wouldn't hypocritically criticize the U.K. government for acts like cutting off Internet and Blackberry access to quell a riot, and then do the very same thing a few months later.

NOTE 1: To see what I mean, enable Flashmedia and Javascript as necessary, then visit the purple areas in the London detail map.

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