Friday, May 31, 2013

Hot Town, Riots in the City

In my last article, I talked about liberalism and its growing failure as a political system, in large part because of its failure to "deliver the goods." Clearly, though, there are different kinds of goods; and the liberal state's inability to provide one kind is increasingly threatening it on its most basic level.

Since the media's good at hiding stories like this, it may have escaped your attention, but as usually happens this time of year, parts of Europe are in crisis--again. It started almost two weeks ago, in the suburbs of Stockholm, Sweden, where dozens of cars were burned for several nights in a row, repeated attacks on police have taken place, and so on. General riotous behavior, replete with the apparently-required "car barbecues" (or "carbecues," if you will). Who are the culprits? Well, it took several days, but eventually the media began reporting that this was the work of young Muslims, heavily concentrated in the neighborhood.

A Swedish youth organization tried to diffuse responsibility by pointing out that these suburbs have the highest rate of youth unemployment in the country, and that "We need to understand the underlying motives for the riots, and understand why they are taking place." Which, apparently, is why people in what has been described as traditional Muslim garb have been burning cars and assaulting Jews and their synagogues: Because they're unemployed and no one "understands" them. Got it.

Not that there's a deliberate connection between one and the other, but there has been a similar outbreak of violence in Britain. Not long after the Stockholm riots started, a U.K. soldier was horribly hacked to death by two men with machetes. His crime? Wearing a "Help for Heroes" T-Shirt--which, as everyone knows, is an obvious sign of Western imperialism and dominance and such. The radicalized youths who committed the atrocity proudly announced that they did it in the name of their Islamic brethren. In the days since, there seems to have been at least one copycat crime proceeding from this, in France, both involving young Muslim men.

But don't worry. After several days of slowness and dithering, the responsible authorities at all these flashpoints have kicked into action and are cracking down on these lawbreakers.....Ha! Hahaha!! Oh, I'm just kidding. They're actually going after the people protesting the violence.

In the past few days, police have made numerous arrests of members of the English Defence League, described as a "far-right" organization calling for tighter immigration controls, the expulsion of radical imams from Britain, and the general protection of Western cultural values. Apparently a few of their members seem to have attributed these crimes to Muslims as a group; therefore it's a hate crime, and there has been pressure from government, the media, and much of "enlightened society" to not only arrest those responsible but eliminate private funding for the group altogether. Meanwhile, back in Scandinavia, a number of citizens who took up arms to defend their property from the rioters found themselves denounced as "vigilantes" and "hooligans" and actively prevented by police from trying to break up packs of vandals. This, on the heels of the Stockholm Police Chief admitting official policy was to do "as little as possible" to interfere with the rioters. Again, the excuse is that some are nationalists or neo-Nazis, though there doesn't seem to be any hard evidence that this is the case.

Look, I'm not here to defend this individual or that organization. As we've repeatedly discussed, there's racial animosity on all sides in Europe, and at least a few of these protestors have been caught using racist language. A more pressing question is, why should anyone be surprised that this is taking place? I use the examples of Islamic violence because they're so recent, but the fact is, in a country like Britain, where a woman can be arrested for trying to ward off the guys robbing her with a toy gun (apparently the prospect of getting shot was damaging to their sense of well-being or something), how can one maintain with a straight face that the state is there to protect its citizenry? Because in cases like these, it seems that government policy is to enforce multiculturalism, sooth hurt feelings, and enhance all-around "tolerance," even at the cost of law-abiding citizens' safety.

I guess for some people, this is a worthy goal. But it does raise the question of what right such a state has to expect its people's loyalty and obedience. I'm not one of those people who think the government exists solely because of a social contract with its citizens or whatever, but it definitely derives its legitimacy from an expectation that it will protect the people over which it has power. Any ideology which seriously undermines that expectation is bound to break that relationship. And this may be the ultimate failure of liberalism today--its goals have, in certain cases, led it into direct opposition with the most basic needs of the public. The longer "tolerance" and "acceptance" continue to be the top priority of England, Sweden, and other countries, the greater this tendency towards violence and division will be.

32 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I read this story in a leftist British paper after the fourth night... first I'd heard of it. You should have seen the gymnastics they went through (1) to mention that this rioting was because Muslims feel so horribly mistreated by the racist Swedes, yet (2) studiously avoid ever suggesting that it was Muslims rioting.

The article felt like something right out of 1984.

K said...

Andrew: If you look for the hole in the puzzle from those leftist descriptions, you'll see the missing puzzle piece is multiculturalism.

The answer to the immigration problem, of political correctness and leftist big government is getting rid of it.

AndrewPrice said...

This is off topic:

I managed to get my book into the prime program at Amazon two days ago (long story). So I've been able to make it free today and tomorrow. If you didn't buy it when it was a dollar -- go get it now.

LINK

Read it... think about it... leave a review. We'll discuss it in the future. Thanks.

Patriot said...

T-Rav.....All this brings to mind the old saying "Liberalism kills."

When we won't even condemn rioters and murderers because of their religion, so as to make other societies believe we are sooooo enlightened, then we're done, or close to done as a civil society.

And you're right, if the State can't do it's most basic reason for being, providing for a safe and secure society, and then denying us the most basic of self defense rights, we might have drawn up our death wish.

Looks like this will be a war of attrition. Hope there are more of us than them (liberals).

Tennessee Jed said...

strikes me that just like the term "diversity," "multi-culturism" becomes some kind of end in itself. It is neither good nor bad per se, it just "is." As such, any government which does not protect it's citizenry under the guise of "multi-culturism" is unworthy of respect.

Tennessee Jed said...

As an aside, I paid full freight for my paperback copy of "Agenda," and was happy to do so. I still just enjoy holding a book. Color me "old fashioned," but please no puns about "holding" a book being some kine of sub-conscious endorsement of Eric.

El Gordo said...

What is going on in Europe looks basically like class warfare reversed, with the ruling elites as the aggressors.

The elites are actually NOT taking the side of the good citizens against the rabble. Why is that? I can only imagine that, like the nobility of old, they do not have a country. They have a fiefdom. They don´t give a damn which peoples they are ruling and what their culture is. No, strike that. A good citizen who pays his own way and demands limits on government is far more repugnant to them than a welfare junkie or a radical sect which can be bought off at the expense of other subjects.

It´s all very 18th century. The EU made it worse by creating a whole new strata of wannabe rulers. Imagine: you have served your party well enough to be sent to Brussels, where everyone is well paid (by the standards of the poorers countries, extremely well) and you become part of a new transnational class, which demands absolute loyalty. Doesn´t that remind you of Imperial China or the Ottoman or Habsburg Empire?

Do you get ever the impression that these politicians and pundits can feel insulted on behalf of their country? That something might make them angry, make them want to protect their nation and her People? I don´t.

And Washington is not much better, frankly.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I know when I feel repressed, I generally react by burning the car of someone I've never met.

For those who watch Mad Men, there was a minor character in the last episode who got beat up by some minority gang members (setting is 1968 New York). He refused to cooperate with police or even say whether they were black, Puerto Rican, etc., because, as he later explained to his girlfriend, they were just acting out their legitimate frustrations and there was no way he was going to help "those fascist police pigs" make things tougher for them.

That's pretty much what's going on here. Call it white guilt, political correctness, or whatever, but it can and does override common sense on the most basic level.

T-Rav said...

K, I agree about multiculturalism being the key to all this, but "getting rid of it" is much easier said than done. Reducing government leaves the encrusted sections of academia, the media, and the entertainment industry to contend with. It'll be an uphill slog, all the way, since what we're combating is not a political organization but an entire counterculture.

T-Rav said...

Happy to hear, Andrew. I'll leave a review shortly. :-)

BevfromNYC said...

As an addendum to the Swedish riots, the people whose cars got torched were ticketed for leaving their burned out shells of cars on the streets. And it was also reported that their beef wasn't necessarily because of "high unemployment", but the fact that they don't want to assimilate and for everyone to just leave their community alone...or they will kill you.

T-Rav said...

Patriot, you have to understand that by being part of the bourgeois system, we are the enemy just as much as those terrible policemen, and deserve to be punished, and....blah blah blah.

Normally, I'm pretty pessimistic, but on this narrow topic I'm not. This sort of situation just can't last. It doesn't matter if you're a liberal, a moderate, or a conservative, if hoodlums are out burning your property and endangering your person, you're going to be upset, with them and with a government that protects them and not you. There will be a reaction of some kind--to judge by the strength of some far-right parties, there already is.

T-Rav said...

Jed, absolutely. Whatever its original intention, multiculturalism has been bureaucratized and boiled down to bean-counting in matters of employment and handouts, plus periodic expressions of guilt that get imposed on the entire native population. I have to imagine it's only the threat of official persecution and the European's tendency towards order and obedience that have kept people from openly repudiating these governments. That may change.

T-Rav said...

Jed, I fully agree about the joy of holding an actual book. And apparently you read way more into these expressions than some of us do. ;-)

BevfromNYC said...

As to "multiculturalism", there is no reason that different cultures can't live in harmony with mutual respect, but they cannot do it with just tolerance. Tolerance is not respect. Tolerance just means we don't like you but we won't expel you, harm or kill you...yet. Respect means "We may not agree, we may worship differently, we may look different and sound different, but I recognize your right to your way of life and that you are not a threat to me and I am not a threat to you and we have much to learn form each other."

Respect is earned; Tolerance is manufactured.

T-Rav said...

Interesting take, El Gordo. The difference being, of course, that the 18th-century Habsburgs and others were motivated by a genuine sense of noblesse oblige.

I'm really not sure how the European elites see themselves and those below them. What we would have called nobles a century or two ago, we now call technocrats. But clearly, they see themselves as having a right to rule, and anything that threatens that right upsets them. And as I just alluded to, they act now without any sense of responsibility to the citizenry. One would think they had learned from the long list of political revolutions that you can't do that.

T-Rav said...

Bev, I hadn't seen that. And of course that's understandable; it's not like there's any difficulty in starting up your charred vehicle and moving it somewhere else....

I'm sure that pretty much is what the Muslim rioters want--to run their little community as they see fit. What's left out, obviously, is that this would include imposing their rules on the non-Muslims in their midst.

T-Rav said...

By the way, it's worth noting that for us on this side of the pond, this is not exactly an academic matter. Make of this story what you will. LINK

rlaWTX said...

Bev, that is an excellent description and differentiation!!!! I'll probably quote you elsewhere!

I have a cousin in the USAF who married a Brit and we are friends on fb. She went on a rant the other day about people with a certain set of beliefs within the Muslim culture (want to chop off heads and have Islamic rule). She got taken to task by one of her friends who knew a very nice Muslim and who was worried this friend might be being treated badly by people who don't "understand" - yadda, yadda. Cousin's wife tried to explain, but she just got told to be tolerant. Then she and I were discussing the Brit police responses to "hate speech" on fb... she's decided to keep her opinions to herself to be on the safe side -- total ridiculousness.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Happy to hear it. Book people still outnumber Kindle people. I don't think books will ever die.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, It amazes me that people think like that -- that it's ok to hurt some third person just because you're upset at somebody else.

Think about that in real life terms. Your friend punches you so you retaliated by punch a stranger. What kind of sick mindset thinks like that? Yet, when it comes to identity politics, it becomes acceptable -- both by the idiots doing the third-party harm and by the liberals excusing it.

It's sickening.

K said...

"getting rid of it" is much easier said than done.

Agree. But a long journey begins with a single step. Something which the left understands but pro-liberty folks don't get. We tend to be reactive instead of pro-active. Something which has to change.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Exactly! You cannot tolerate people who won't tolerate you. And the problem with Islam is that it refuses to tolerate others.

BevfromNYC said...

Respect is to Tolerance what Locally Grown Organic is to Monsanto...

T-Rav said...

Bev, I couldn't say it better. People talk all the time today about "tolerance," but what they really mean is "acceptance," and the two are not the same. Object lesson in linguistics, that.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, it doesn't make any sense to me either--but keep in mind, that's pretty much what our whole taxation system is based on. Great.

BevfromNYC said...

T-Rav - "Acceptance" is a MUCH better word that "respect". Therefore I revise my original statement from above...

As to "multiculturalism", there is no reason that different cultures can't live in harmony with ACCEPTANCE, but they cannot do it with just tolerance. Tolerance is not ACCEPTANCE. Tolerance just means we don't like you but we won't expel you, harm or kill you...yet. ACCEPTANCE means that we may not agree, we may worship differently, we may look different and sound different, but we recognize your right to your way of life and that you are not a threat to us and we am not a threat to you and we have much to learn form each other."

ACCEPTANCE is earned; Tolerance is manufactured.


T-Rav said...

rla, that's so annoying. I don't think I would have that issue; I instinctively double down on my statements in that sort of situation. But I can understand not wanting to face a backlash.

BevfromNYC said...

This kind of goes without saying (but that never stopped me) but it is deeply disturbing that in a 1st World country where someone is beheaded on the street, the people being arrested are the ones who are being vocal that they don't like citizens being beheaded on the street. But, hey, that's just me...

T-Rav said...

Bev, that just goes to show how narrow-minded and culturally imperialist you are, and how wrong it is to impose your beliefs on people who have no experience with something like logic or common decency. Tsk, tsk.

Glad I could inadvertently improve your remarks. ;-)

BevfromNYC said...

T-Rav - It was enlighteningly 'inadvertent'! Your edumacation ain't bein' wasted!

T-Rav said...

:-)

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