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The Lessons of the English Riots

In anticipation of what may develop from the “flash mob” activity in America, perhaps it’s time to revisit the recent riots in England and extract whatever lessons we can.

Being that the United Kingdom has legislated ultra-strict limitations on the right to own weapons, it can be assumed that the populace has forfeited its right to bear arms for the promise of governmental protection from those who would do them harm or illegally confiscate or destroy their personal property. And if that means fire hoses, tear gas, rubber bullets, or even rifles, one would think that the British government has an obligation to employ all necessary measures to fulfill this duty of protecting its people.

But during the recent riots in England, that government failed miserably in doing its job.

Some Americans, however, approve of the outcome. Though he concedes that the extent of the damage was probably greater due to Englishmen not having firearms to defend themselves, The Boston Globe’s Ben Jacobs asserts that letting the violence naturally subside without having these rioters meet an armed citizenry was a good thing, as very few died during the riots. Adam Shah of Media Matters responded to Ann Coulter’s suggestion that the riots would have quickly ended after a “few well-placed rifle shots” by accusing her of inciting a massacre.  Therefore, England’s pacifistic approach was preferable in his eyes.

They underlying suggestion here is that violence against these criminals would be a greater injustice than a century-old business being burnt to the ground, or innocent children being beaten and having their property stolen. They think this way because they are plagued by the common ignorance of their ilk. To them, the riots were merely a physical manifestation of the people’s anger at Britain’s representative government, and the rioters should therefore not be subjected to forceful suppression. They seem unable to make a distinction between peaceable assemblies “to petition the government for a redress of grievances” and a violent mob selfishly and opportunistically targeting innocent people and their property.

Such ignorance should be nothing new to us. The same voices made a similar argument for those criminals who looted businesses, raped innocent people, and even fired upon their rescuers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. They were by and large not to be held accountable for their actions- they were simply made out to be victims of a government that did not properly care for them.

Though our founders believed firmly that all men are created equal, they also firmly believed that diligence, character, and earned wisdom would dictate a man’s success in his “pursuit of happiness.” Progressives, on the other hand, seem to believe not only that all men are created equal, but that all men are always equal regardless of the choices they make, and any lack of success in the “pursuit of happiness” is a result of societal repression. This diseased mindset has led to the creation of the welfare state, whose fruits have now come to bear in England.

The problem is that being given a substantial livelihood does not result in character growth or earned wisdom; it results in a sense of entitlement that creates societal stagnancy, and the bottled-up angst of idle generations that leads to class war against the successful.

The welfare state in England has not produced Englishmen who are interested in the advancement of its culture. It has produced parasitic millions that merely subsist on the product of English sweat. Now, the host has begun to swoon, and according to one BBC report, England was helpless throughout the rioting. “Unless these gangs of youths tire of the violence,” this report stated, “it doesn’t seem that there’s any real reason for it to stop.”

In America, these youths would have been met with the barrel of a gun in nearly every home and business they unlawfully entered, and that might give them a reason to stop before they got tired of beating and robbing their innocent neighbors. Since England doesn’t have that luxury, maybe next time, for the sake of its people whose children were beaten and robbed and whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed, they should consider stronger measures to protect the English people.

So when it is all said and done, what are the lessons we have learned? That we must resist the progressive nudging to expand the welfare state, as it does little more than decay our society to a culture of dependence and unwarranted entitlement.  And we are reminded that we must defend our cherished right to arm and protect ourselves in America, because we cannot rely on an impotent nanny state to do this for us.

William Sullivan frequently contributes to American Thinker and blogs at http://politcalpalaverblog.blogspot.com.

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