Class Warfare Erupts Into Just Plain Warfare
Lately it seems the only thing more sobering than America's creeping decline is Europe's rapid decline. The riots in London put a painfully fine point on the dark future that awaits us. It is true that Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Italy show us the grim numerical realities of unlimited government, but all those nations were past their prime before the American Founding.
Great Britain is different. There are people alive now who remember when Great Britain was the preeminent world power. Today's hollowed-out version serves as an example of how quickly greatness can slip through a nation's fingers.
The riots in London show the logical conclusion of a brand politics which is ashamed of national identity and is built on class warfare.
The violence was lit off when, in what has been reported as a gunfight between London police and some number of alleged assailants, a black man named Mark Duggan was killed. Years of multiculturalism's racial-grievance appeasement led the first rioters to seek retribution for supposed police racism. Never mind that an officer was hurt in the confrontation or, as a friend described it, Duggan was "involved in things" -- rioters maintained that Duggan's family required "justice."
Before long, the racial component of the protest was swallowed up in an apparent socioeconomic war. To try to decipher the mob's motivations, an incredulous BBC reporter asked rioters, "Why is it targeting local people, your own people?" One of the two drunken assailants responded, "It's the rich people. It's the rich people, the people who've got businesses, and that's why this has happened."
The "this" in her statement doesn't refer to the riots themselves, but some condition over which the rioters are protesting. Mary Riddell of the UK Telegraph calls the riots an uprising of the "underclass." Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone blames the violence on "social division" brought on by conservative cuts to welfare spending. The New York Times writes that the cuts in social programs "have hit the country's poor especially hard, including large numbers of the minority youths who have been at the forefront of the unrest."
Such conclusions fit the longtime political narrative of the left, but they struggle to match reality. After faulting government austerity for causing the violence, the Times reports that British authorities may disable BlackBerry Messenger's encryption capability. Why? Because rioters are coordinating attacks using the private message system. How exactly we can call these smartphone-owning agitators "the underclass" is unclear. What is clear, however, is that, on some level, the rioters believe it. "This was always going to happen," declared Tony, a former resident who believes the left's narrative.
Belief in the "underclass" meme sets England's anarchy apart from most other austerity-related vandalism. The protests in Wisconsin, for example, were a combination of well-to-do leftists chasing Vietnam-era nostalgia and a privileged public-sector union class who wanted to maintain their favored position. Conversely, the English rioters genuinely appear to believe that they are somehow cheated.
As a result, those who have their schooling, food, housing, and medical care paid for are now turning on their benefactors, ostensibly as punishment for the benefactors' privilege. It is not so difficult to see how such a deeply ingrained sense of entitlement and backward view of personal property can come to exist.
Just look at the terms of the recent debt ceiling debate here at home. "It's not right to ask middle-class families to pay more" preached President Obama while advocating for his so-called balanced approach. Nancy Pelosi said of one Republican plan that it "burdens the middle class and seniors." To read these sentiments, one would think that huge tax increases on the middle class and seniors were on the table. But no such proposal ever existed. The "burden" and "pay hike" described by Democrats were actually a reduction in transfer payments to these groups. That mindset equates shrinking a social program to stealing from the program's beneficiaries.
Thus a free and prosperous society destroys itself. Both Great Britain and America became the world's leading economic powers because they fiercely protected their citizens' property rights. Not surprisingly, both nations sink into decline as they now fiercely protect their citizens' ability to violate property rights.
John Adams, a man who was both a British subject and an American president, shared these prophetic words in 1787: "The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God...anarchy and tyranny commence." Because England was ashamed of her national identity and cast aside her protection of property rights, anarchy and tyranny have commenced. Tragically, America nips at her heels.