I started writng this in response to Ana’s post but then felt it warranted a separate entry.
Ana has written an interesting post. However, I can’t help feeling that she has gone against her own advice and that rather than “stand back from such events before forming a definite judgement, simply to allow the facts to settle”, she has reached a conclusion. “It’s no more than hooliganism, based on forms of avarice that would shame even the greediest banker.”
It is of course easy to say that and is probably true. But what it does not reveal is that given the right environment, avarice and hooliganism are present in most human beings. You do not have to be hard up to be greedy. The various financial bubbles, Tulips, Louisiana, South Sea, Dot-Com, Credit etc. have all proved that greed is present even in the most ‘civilized’, affluent and well educated individuals. Just consider some of the high profile divorce cases to see how wives such as Heather Mills or Linda Evangelista try and screw every undeserved penny out of their ‘errant’ husbands. Or those who have sued their employers for sexual harassment stemming from a pat on the bum. Or look at those people from companies such as Enron, WorldCom, Tyco etc to see how with little regard for others, they plundered their companies’ resources and ruined the lives of tens of thousands of employees and shareholders. As for the Credit Bubble, everybody from the unemployedAtlantasingle mother on benefits who took a mortgage she could not begin to afford right up to the likes Fred Goodwin and Alan Greenspan, was guilty of greed and hubris.
With regards to hooliganism, you only have to send young men off to war to see how they will behave when discipline breaks down.My Laiand Abu Ghraib are two examples that spring to mind. Then you have the tragedy of Heysel Stadium. These are cases where largely decent people descend into savagery. I have witnessed good people do bad things in times of war. William Golding wrote about what happens to civilized people when order and discipline are removed.
Human nature requires us to possess various extremes of behaviour. For the most part they remain latent, but should the right circumstances occur we are all capable of behaving in ways that would otherwise shock our more reserved selves. No doubt some individuals have a greater capacity for unruly and violent behaviour than others and I would certainly go as far as to say that genetics, sex and race, as well as culture play a part, but ultimately when circumstances are ripe, each of us is capable of riotous behaviour.
That is where society and the government come into play. Between them, they have to recognise that dissatisfaction exists within certain elements and unless that dissatisfaction is dealt with such breakdowns are likely to occur. I am confident in claiming that if vast majority of youths who were involved in the riots were adequately employed and had sufficient outlets for their physical aggression such events would be much less likely to occur. Young men especially need to let off physical steam. Until about 50 years ago, sport was the normal method of doing this. Before that it was the army and war and before that it was probably hunting for survival. But inner city youths from deprived areas do not have access to playing fields. They cannot play football or basket ball in the streets because of all the cars and because it would be against health and safety regulations and because neighbours would complain. National Service was done away with years ago. Entertainment comes in the form of music, television and computer games, none of which require physical exercise. It must be intensely frustrating being holed up in a ghetto where there is little chance of getting any form of excitement and the prospects for a successful working career are limited.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this justifies their behaviour. However, while leaving your wallet on the dashboard of your car with the window open does not justify its theft or a young girl dressed in a boob tube and pussy-pelmet wandering the streets at night does not justify her being raped the likeliness of those things happening is increased by such behaviour. Government and society would be well advised to look at the root causes of dissatisfaction and make some effort to overcome them.
The problem is of course that society/government insists on assuming that everybody is equal and that they will behave in the same way under the same conditions and that they are all capable of achieving the same levels of success. That is clearly not true and the sooner it is recognised and accepted the better. I suggest that society needs to consider some of the following:
1) Multiculturalism does not and cannot work. The laws of the country are designed to work with the culture of the country. More than one culture means more than one set of laws which is clearly untenable.
2) Elitism is not a dirty word. We strive for it in our own lives. We want the best for ourselves and our children in all fields including wealth, culture, education, diet, physical appearance, health and social circles. Some people are going to achieve greater levels of success, i.e. elitism than others.
3) Political Correctness, in all its guises, is a dirty concept. It needs to be eradicated from the lexicon and replaced with terms such as honesty, accountability and responsibility.
4) Everybody needs discipline. They need a set of rules that must be enforced by parents, teachers and the elders of society and they need a set of laws that must be enforced by the government. The better mannered a child learns to be the better citizen he will become and the less likely he will break the law. Good manners and a sound appreciation of right and wrong needs to be instilled upon them at an early age. Children learn to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ just like they learn their ‘times tables’; by repetition.
5) The government needs to recognise that not everybody can be a well paid executive. There will always be a need for menial workers. Provided that there are no laws against social mobility, then it should aim to produce sufficient workers to fill all sections and needs of society, from street cleaners, plumbers and teachers all the way down to estate agents, lawyers and politicians. It should not provide false hope that every girl can become a TV presenter just because she has read media studies or that every chap can become a merchant banker because he has a GCSE in maths.
6) Men and women are different. Young men really do need outlets for their aggression. If you expect them to behave calmly and demurely like prim little convent girls then you are in for a shock. Young men need to learn how to handle their testosterone filled rages. A National Service programme that allows for physical aggression, camaraderie, discipline, team spirit, responsibility, accountability and independence would do wonders for the youth ofGreat Britain. Skills such as basic car mechanics, plumbing, bricklaying carpentry should be included along with financial managment. Such a programme would certainly have greater benefits than many degrees, not to mention the pointless gap years that so many kids take today, which are just an excuse to get drunk and party at their parents’ expense.
7) Women need to be treated and expected to behave like women. They are not men and will never be able to achieve many of the things that men do and which they claim is their right to do. By the same token men will never achieve many of those things at which women excel. A National Service programme for women needs to centre on areas that are fundamental to what it is being a woman. That includes household budgeting, child rearing, basic nursing, cooking and primary education. Careers can be considered when and if they get to university. But learn the basics first.
8) Tertiary education does not mean a guaranteed job. The government needs to recognise that. Much better to get a good secondary or even primary education than a bad tertiary education. If you are proficient in the 3 Rs and have decent values and a good work ethic, you are better placed than most misfits spewing out ofBritain’s universities.
There you have it, a solution for Britain’s ills.