After the riots, all we hear are excuses. In this excoriating attack against our excuse-culture, Christopher Wheeler tells us what really is wrong with our society.
The Riots in England last week were a disgrace and reflected badly on not just the image of the United Kingdom but also the society we live in. However, we must forget that the looters and rioters involved were totally to blame for their actions and it is a sickening sight to see people trying to excuse the inexcusable.
Nevertheless, even as the disorder was continuing on the streets of Britain, numerous ordinary citizens and professional political commentators were trying to justify the lawlessness which had gripped the country. These attempts at justification were sickening but not surprising as whenever mass public disorder occurs there are always liberal, left wing idiots who argue that the lawbreakers were in some way heroically making a valid point.
The first of the many excuses used was that such widespread disorder was a direct result of police actions in Tottenham, specifically the execution of gangster Mark Duggan. Certainly, if people have legitimate questions on these issues they should have their voices heard but it is no excuse for widespread destruction. However, by citing the execution of Duggan as justification, the rioter’s apologists are excusing violent thuggery.
A similar reason based on unjustifiable police actions was offered less than a year ago when a large number of yobs (under the disguise of a quite pointless and actually factually inaccurate protest against student fees) smashed up parts of Central London. At that time the usual suspects came out to say that police actions such as kettleing had forced protesters to commit violent acts. Another excuse constantly peddled when there are mass acts of criminality is tiresome one about young people having nothing to do and finding occupation in illegal activities. This is without a shadow of a doubt one of the weakest justifications but it is always mentioned.
Yet another old favourite used to justify riotous actions is that these people and the areas in which they live are poor and deprived. This is no excuse for criminal behaviour because there are numerous areas in the United Kingdom which are relatively poor and saw no looting, rioting or any other forms of tumult. Also these people may be poor relative to some members of society, but they are not poor compared to the individuals and families just one generation ago.
Being poor or coming from a deprived area is not a reasonable excuse; not everyone who is poor rioted and, compared past generations, this generation has much more disposable income and economic wealth.
Another excuse made for the rioters is that they are disposed and have no one to speak for them. Many people feel this way about their politicians because recent years have shown politicians to be pretty self-serving. However, the idea that these criminals are justified to get their voices heard is manifestly wrong. We have suffered from an ignorant political elite for many years now. It is hardly anything new. Besides, most of the rioters “political” grievances are in the most part pathetic.
Don’t forget, this is the age group which does not bother voting in large numbers. If they actually used their votes and involved themselves in the political process they might not feel excluded from it.
The other excuse made by commentators and some of the general population is that government cuts have damaged their life chances. This is untrue because the cuts have yet to be implemented. Also, a number of people who have always obeyed the law, and are well-qualified but cannot find work, are not smashing up large parts of the country. Call me a cynic, but these rioters and looters do not seem to have much knowledge or interest politics or their life chances. Instead they seem to be criminals out for what they can get. Why else almost exclusively raid shops selling desirable, consumer goods or destroy property?
Some commentators on the Right have conceded that the broken homes many of the rioters come from might explain their disaffection. But many people come from unconventional family structures and many of them know the difference between right and wrong.
Whenever someone does something wrong, we always look for excuses. In many cases they are simply justifying the unjustifiable. Excuses don’t help to solve the real problems of our society. These are the real problems: Everybody knows their rights but not their responsibilities; wealth and celebrity and instant gratification are highly regarded; discipline, hard-work and respect are regarded as outdated.
Fix these wrong-headed attitudes and society can start to get back on track.