To round out your reading on the British riots, I first recommend today’s offerings on the main AmSpec site (here and here). But be sure to puruse this equally worthy piece by Max Hastings in the Mail Online. It’s clear evidence that destructive social policy — from winking at crime to rewarding single motherhood to shunning legitimate discipline of children — has a lasting impact on a culture’s health, including its economic vibrancy.
The unnerving aspect is that the United States might be a decade or two removed from the United Kingdom’s youthful chaos. Much of the blame, Hastings argues, can be laid at the feet of liberals who fear calling bad behavior bad, and enacting punishment. Frequently, Western cultures no longer feel comfortable punishing negative behavior. Indeed, we often reward it with a welfare check.
Consider an able-bodied young man or woman. Don’t want to work? Government will step in and provide out of a misguided sense that the rest of society owes these people a free ride. It’s a classic example of a hand out rather than a hand up.
What’s to blame? Hastings has an idea:
The breakdown of families, the pernicious promotion of single motherhood as a desirable state, the decline of domestic life so that even shared meals are a rarity, have all contributed importantly to the condition of the young underclass.
The British riots are another link between a society’s social and economic health. Stable, two-parent families would not have produced such a stampede of vengeful rioters. In the moral vacuum brought about by Europe’s abandonment of Christianity and the Judeo-Christian ethic, mixed with scant punishment for crime, young people have no reason to behave responsibly. “Love your neighbor” rings hallow when hedonism and moral relativism are the order of the day.
Family structure, faith, and moral teaching do matter. Liberals don’t acknowledge that truth, instead relying on government intervention, including through “education.” The U.K. riots are the result.