Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Uncomfortable truths about the ‘riots’

Quite a lot of teenage lads (and some girls) are genetically wired to kick off and to rob – for excitement and to acquire the “brands” they want for nowt.

That, simply put, is why there’s been so much copycat trouble in urban England in the last few nights since the Tottenham riots. Easy digital communications technology has also help spread the nasty behaviour.

What happened in Manchester, Liverpool, some parts of the Midlands, and in Birkenhead (near me!) in recent nights, isn’t really rioting at all. It is gleeful trouble-making, arson, thuggery, thieving and burglary, carried out by young people, many of whom are staggeringly thick, and some of whom are actually EVIL.

It has been both interesting and saddening to watch coverage of the trouble on Sky News. I’m afraid I simply can’t bear to watch the smug and the politically correct opining on the BBC News Channel.

I was particularly impressed by the contribution about the mayhem made on Sky News (Tuesday0 by crisis management expert Peter Power. The so-called riots, he said, were not politically motivated, and not a response to injustice. Rather he said they were forms of “very aggressive, late-night shopping”. Spot on.

And Mr Power rightly castigated another TV "expert" who wrongly evoked the name of American civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King in an attempt to explain (or excuse) the recent kick-offs in England.

Now, I’d argue that teenagers down through the centuries, have been gleefully disposed to join in all sorts of rebellion again authority.

But what’s changed now is that many more teenagers are inarticulate and poorly educated. You can hear it in the way they speak – and it’s not restricted to young people either, as there has been a systemic failure in education across several generations in the UK, and a coarsening of culture.

That some teenagers today are thicker than their counterparts in previous generations seems to me to be a self-evident truth. I feel sorry for these kids, really I do; being stupid isn’t a pleasant experience.

Even more worrying is that so many of today’s youngsters lack a moral compass. They have had very little moral training - the sort of instruction absolutely necessary for the formation of decent human society.

Moral training in our country traditionally comes from the Judaeo-Christian tradition – yes, the Ten Commandments and all that! For most people in England such instruction has traditionally been the responsibility of churches and of Christian parents – the passing on of immutable moral values. Now that function appears to be failing on a much larger scale than it has within my own lifetime (and I am aged 54).

Often now you hear the phrase “you don’t have to be religious to be a good person”. Perhaps, in some cases, that is true. But most people need rules and a firm teaching of the good options in life if they are to develop successfully as human beings capable of living socially.

Also, it is often parroted that a person can make their own choices about moral, religious and spiritual values – as if these were simply a matter of consumer choice! What a spectacularly erroneous view! Yet it gains a false credence in a society where worship of the self, consumer addiction, and a terrible and utterly wrong belief in human autonomy, are all encouraged.

This is serious stuff. I am talking about the proper transmission of human identity.

There is more at stakee for all of us than damaged property and stolen goods – bad and frightening though those transgressions are for those who suffer from them.

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