Obama's Riotous London Friends

What's the difference between the looters and welfare taxes?

When images of the London riots splashed across our TV screen, many people's first and decidedly un-PC reaction was, "Yup, it's welfare blacks causing trouble again."  For a while, especially since the media refused to report the race of those involved, it certainly seemed so just by looking at the pictures.

We are now getting a decidedly different and far better documented perspective, via the parade of criminal arrestees processing through England's justice system.  The Daily Mail reports:

Collecting welfare without the middleman.

While the trouble has been largely blamed on feral teenagers, many of those paraded before the courts yesterday led apparently respectable lives.

A postman, a primary school mentor, lifeguard, charity worker and a father of a newborn baby were among defendants appearing alongside schoolchildren and college students to answer charges ranging from theft to violent disorder.

Some wept, some grinned and others merely stood in blank defiance at the magistrates.

Liberals, of course, are blaming the riots on welfare benefit cuts that have not even taken place yet - but these criminals aren't on welfare.  The cuts mean nothing to them.

Robbing Hoods

London's ubiquitous CCTVs are finally of some use, but as the police review the tapes, they are discovering the shocking fact that the looters came from all segments of youth society.  Yes, there are known criminals and long-term unemployed among them - and also students, teachers, the gainfully employed, even, as with one girl, people with not a care in the world:

Millionaire's daughter Laura Johnson, 19, was charged with stealing £5,000-worth of electronic goods, including a Toshiba TV, Goodmans TV, microwave and mobile phones. 

The goods were allegedly found in a car being driven by Miss Johnson after a branch of Comet in Charlton, south-east London, was raided.

Bexleyheath magistrates heard that a 'public order kit' of balaclava, gloves and a bandana was also found in the car.

Miss Johnson attended St Olave's Grammar School in Orpington, Kent, the fourth best performing state school in the country, after transferring from its sister school Newstead Wood.

One can somewhat understand, while not sympathizing with, permanently deprived youth taking the opportunity to grab expensive items they'd otherwise never have.  For ordinary middle-class workers who have every expectation of moving up in life to risk everything for something they could reasonably buy anyway, though - that shows a problem of an entirely different sort.  Who does that?

A striking BBC interview with a couple of young female looters gives us a hint.  The video, naturally enough, doesn't show the girls' faces, but they certainly sound both white and middle-class, possibly working-class, definitely not illiterate chavs.

What's their take?  "We're showing the rich that we can do what we want."

Of course, they aren't showing "the rich" anything; "the rich" are insured.  The victims of the looting are the small-time mom-and-pop shopowners whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed.  Yet even after this is pointed out by the interviewer, our lady thieves merrily and specifically state that, in their view, anyone who owns and operates a shop is "the rich"!

That's an interesting point of view - just because you own property, automatically you are vaulted into the oppressor class, the rightful victim of anyone else.  Where have we heard that before?

Steal from the Rich; Give to ME!

Ah, yes!  None other than Candidate Barack Obama, in his famous discourse to Joe the Plumber, emphasized the importance of "spreading the wealth around."  Whose wealth?  Why, Joe's wealth, of course - as a small-business owner, he's automatically one of the Evil Rich who should provide for everyone else!

What is the sacking of London but spreading the wealth around by other means?  What is the moral difference between the government using the threat of force to take the private property of individuals to give it to someone else who hasn't earned it, and some looter heaving a brick through the window and running off with a TV?

There is none, and looters know it:

Welfare dependency further created the entitlement culture that the looters so egregiously display. It taught them that the world owed them a living. It taught them that their actions had no consequences. And it taught them that the world revolved around themselves...

The idea that they should not steal other people’s property, or beat up and rob passers-by, appears to be as weird and outlandish to them as the suggestion that they should fly to the moon. These youths feel absolutely entitled to go ‘on the rob’ and steal whatever they want. Indeed, they are incredulous that anyone should suggest they might pass up such an opportunity.

Indeed, why should they, when the honored members of Government do exactly the same thing on less pretext?

Open Season on Stores

Another notable aspect of the riots was the complete failure of the police to even attempt to stop them.  We all know that London cops don't carry guns; but they do have guns locked up back at the police station.  It should have taken no more than an hour to get their hands on the artillery, and a few dead looters lying on the ground would have discouraged the rest.

That's what would have been done in decades gone by.  That's still what happens in the U.S.; remember how the National Guard ended the Rodney King riots?  Soldiers in tanks can bring order right quick.

That method assumes that the culture blames the looters for their crimes, rather than finding excuses as to why it's not their fault.  There is a phrase for this: "class warfare," and the unfortunate residents of London surely do feel like they've been in a war.

What prevents people from starting private wars, class or otherwise?  A strong social pressure to behave peacefully, as well as moral teaching as to what's right and what's wrong, two things which have been utterly destroyed by liberal governance:

A key factor in delinquency is lack of effective sanctions to deter it. From an early stage, feral children discover that they can bully fellow pupils at school, shout abuse at people in the streets, urinate outside pubs, hurl litter from car windows, play car radios at deafening volumes, and, indeed, commit casual assaults with only a negligible prospect of facing rebuke, far less retribution. John Stuart Mill wrote in his great 1859 essay On Liberty: ‘The liberty of the individual must be thus far limited; he must not make himself a nuisance to other people.’

Yet every day up and down the land, this vital principle of civilised societies is breached with impunity. Anyone who reproaches a child, far less an adult, for discarding rubbish, making a racket, committing vandalism or driving unsociably will receive in return a torrent of obscenities, if not violence.

If there is no respect for private property, there can be no effective liberty.  To our Founders, the right to private property was so fundamental that it's reflected in almost every amendment of the Bill of Rights.

Freedom of the press is meaningless if you can't own and control a press, likewise the right to keep and bear arms.  What is "freedom from quartering," the right against unlawful search and seizure, and compensation for takings, but a reflection of the importance of private property?

John Adams put it bluntly:

The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God ... anarchy and tyranny commence. Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist.

It's the Culture, Stupid!

As a long parade of governmental disasters have amply demonstrated, Western bureaucrats and liberals hold neither the laws of God, nor of property, nor of anything else to be sacred.  The only thing that's sacred is the pursuit of greed and power by whatever means necessary.

Obama, he of the "unwarranted expenditure" view that tax cuts cost the government money which is rightfully his, has no respect for anyone's private property.  No more do the London looters.

Looters work outside the law, such as it is.  Mr. Obama wrests the law to mean whatever he pleases.  Both are the enemies of liberty and must be stopped.

Read other Scragged.com articles by Hobbes or other articles on Foreign Affairs.
Reader Comments

The obamination that the United States has become, did not start with our fearless golfer - nor will it end with him. The cigarette smoking cripple of the 1930's and his "uncle" in the USSR put the world on the track it is on today. The USSR is no more.
When the administration in office in the 1930's decided that the "rich" weren't paying enough in taxes, and that inflation was good for the farmers, we were firmly put on the road to perdition that the Federal Reserve Act paved.
The alleged man fouling the air in our house at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, District of Criminals is but the last in a long line of charlatans that have destroyed the Republic. We could not keep the Republic. It is lost.
We can blame parents for not raising their children in the proper manner, or any number of things. But the lawlessness started when unjust laws were passed. Laws that were reportedly to take money from the rich and to give it to the poor. Whether the poor or rich agreed. But things are not always as they seem. The laws that were to help the poor, were designed to rob the poor and give to the rich.
But even that has changed. All of the constituents are being robbed to give to the government employees. Are your firemen and policemen forced to take part in the Social Security System? I'll bet not. They have their own retirement and health insurances - paid for by the taxpayer. Do the members of Congress take part in the SSS? Nope. They have their own health and retirement programs - paid for by the taxpayers.
And who exactly, are the taxpayers? Those who pay sales taxes, excise taxes, income taxes, Social Security taxes, death taxes, gasoline taxes, cigarette taxes, school taxes, business license fees, road use fees, auto registration fees, driver's license fees, are the taxpayers. And the government employee gets the reward.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 16, 2011 11:49 AM

And what is wrong, Willey, with Law and Order? It was or is a popular TV show.
The need for law and order brought about such things as the guillotine, the hangman's noose, the electric chair, and now a cocktail of death dealing drugs, not to mention the crucifix.
It has brought us tanks in our streets to keep the riffraff (that's me) in line.
Our local policemen have more protective gear than the soldiers in Vietnam had. They need it in order to keep law and order. "Stand in line children, and walk to the right."
The lawlessness of the Wild West is nothing compared to the lawlessness we witness on the streets of America on a nightly basis.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 16, 2011 12:28 PM

The riots in England got out of hand for whatever reason they got out of hand - it isn't important. Riots will always happen now and then.

The real focus should be on the police's lack of ability to get it under control within a few hours.

They should have armed themselves to the teeth with two tiers of equipment: riot class (tasers, water cannons, tear gas) and lethal class (guns).

Immediately they should have begun hammering the rioters with the riot class weapons until they saw a break. If that didn't work, they should have immediately issued a city wide curfew for everyone to get off the street. Those that didn't comply would be shot.

The riots would have lasted a few hours tops.

Instead, England got 4 days of countless destruction, hundreds of millions in damage and several innocent bystanders killed.

When the good guys don't carry guns, only the bad guys have them. Trying to get rid of all guns doesn't work. You can only disarm the good guys. England is so stupid, they not only disarmed the good guy citizens, they've also disarmed the good guy cops.

August 16, 2011 12:41 PM

I never thought the mobs were all "welfare blacks." The first day of news coverage quite clearly showed it was mostly youth of all races, white as much or more than anything else. Anyone that though it was just minorities wasn't paying attention.

August 16, 2011 12:47 PM

There is a difference between riots and looting. The riots of the 1960's regarding the lack of rights afforded the Blacks in America came about because of the police trying to block marches for peace. No such thing happened in England.
The lawlessness was just that - lawlessness. There was no social cause behind the looting and destruction.
The tasers of which you seem to be so fond, and the guns might have quelled the mischievousness a bit earlier, but those thugs who were bent on simply looting and destroying would have gone on looting and destroying.
The riots that erupted after the verdicts in the Rodney King trial were of a different order than what happened in England. There was a very obvious reason for the anger. The policemen who beat King with clubs were very guilty of abuse.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 16, 2011 3:14 PM

No, I don't think the looters would have gone on looting after they got a couple bullets in them. Eventually you'll get them all and the looting will stop.

August 16, 2011 3:17 PM

There was both rioting and looting in England. The looting came after the rioting, and the rioting was started after a Jamaican drug dealer was shot by police.

I agree with most of what you said, Robert, but my hope is that Americans get the real take-away from all of this: pacifist disarmed societies have no way to stop violence when it breaks out.

I, personally, am armed to the teeth (at least relative to any of the urbanites that live in my area).

I can guarantee you without a doubt that if that kind of rioting/looting broke out around me, I would not be touched. Nor would my family, house or property. I'd go Korean style and sit on the roof of my house with a shotgun.

PS. I am not "fond" of tasers. I am fond of analyzing statistics objectively.

August 16, 2011 3:46 PM

As to the looters, criminals, moochers, in London, Birmingham, etc. there is actually little the law can do if there are enough of these people in the streets. It is called anarchy and when it reaches a level that overcomes the police the society will be changed. Some will say that bullets will stop them but I think that history says no. You need not look back far in history, take a look at Syria, have bullets stopped their resolve? No. If it is not too late, and I think it is, England will have to drastically cut their welfare culture. What is the saying about idle hands? It leads to problems. A step towards capitalism away from their current socialist state is the only way out. Man must have hope for advancement, capitalism does that. It is time for England to play hard ball, they need another Maggie.

August 16, 2011 4:23 PM

Looks like the Brits are trying to set a serious precedent.

A couple of guys got jailed for FOUR YEARS for using Facebook to incite disorder:


These guys weren't even the ones out breaking windows and stealing stuff; they merely set up web pages to encourage others to do it.

If the Brits are going to get serious about the issue, this is probably a good first step. Put the fear of God in everyone by dropping harsh sentences on the people they catch.

August 17, 2011 8:24 AM

The serious precedent is indeed serious. It is an infringement on free speech. The English tried to stop Sam Adams, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, etc. It didn't work then, and it won't work now. It is not the answer. The answer is for the "goody two shoes" government to get out of the way and let the people live the way they want to live without interference from an idiot with some letters behind his/her name.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 17, 2011 1:19 PM

Wait a tic, Rob. You really believe that the rioters/looters were in the right? That the government should get out of the way and let them "live the way they want to live without interference"?? I think we've crossed wires here.

August 17, 2011 1:21 PM

No, our wires are not crossed. If the right to send messages by any means is infringed, a natural right has been infringed.
I do not advocate riotous actions. The riots of England came about because of the government's interference in the personal lives of the English people. That is the problem. The rioters and looters should all be brought to task. The punishment should be swift and severe. But to jail someone for sending messages is not the answer.
The Socialist Government of England is the problem. 352,000 families in England were found where no members had ever worked. You read that correct, 352,000 families, none of whom had ever worked. Someone cared for them, The workers paid taxes to care for them. The "rich" who went out and worked and created some wealth were taxed to support the non workers. That is what's wrong.
The members of the families were not satisfied with what the government was furnishing them. They are dissatisfied with their lot in life, but do not work.
Over 40% of Americans are now receiving some sort of subsidy from the government. That means those of us who work must earn two and a half times what would normally be required, so that we can support the 40%.
Government intervention is, and always has been, the problem and not the solution.
Putting someone in jail for sending a message, is not the answer. What is in the message may be punishable, but sending it never should be.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 17, 2011 4:56 PM

The proper punishment is not 4 years in jail, which will cost a BUNCH and make it impossible for them to work again. The right punishment is a severe public flogging. Quick, cheap, and sends the appropriate message, "Don't do that!"

August 17, 2011 7:00 PM

Argentina’s mass looting was called El Saqueo—the sacking. That was politically significant because it was the very same word used to describe what that country’s elites had done by selling off the country’s national assets in flagrantly corrupt privatization deals, hiding their money offshore, then passing on the bill to the people with a brutal austerity package. Argentines understood that the saqueo of the shopping centers would not have happened without the bigger saqueo of the country, and that the real gangsters were the ones in charge.

But England is not Latin America, and its riots are not political, or so we keep hearing. They are just about lawless kids taking advantage of a situation to take what isn’t theirs. And British society, Cameron tells us, abhors that kind of behavior.

But England is not Latin America, and its riots are not political, or so we keep hearing. They are just about lawless kids taking advantage of a situation to take what isn’t theirs. And British society, Cameron tells us, abhors that kind of behavior.

This is said in all seriousness. As if the massive bank bailouts never happened, followed by the defiant record bonuses. Followed by the emergency G-8 and G-20 meetings, when the leaders decided, collectively, not to do anything to punish the bankers for any of this, nor to do anything serious to prevent a similar crisis from happening again. Instead they would all go home to their respective countries and force sacrifices on the most vulnerable. They would do this by firing public sector workers, scapegoating teachers, closing libraries, upping tuitions, rolling back union contracts, creating rush privatizations of public assets and decreasing pensions – mix the cocktail for where you live. And who is on television lecturing about the need to give up these “entitlements”? The bankers and hedge-fund managers, of course.

This is the global Saqueo, a time of great taking. Fueled by a pathological sense of entitlement, this looting has all been done with the lights left on, as if there was nothing at all to hide. There are some nagging fears, however. In early July, the Wall Street Journal, citing a new poll, reported that 94 percent of millionaires were afraid of “violence in the streets.” This, it turns out, was a reasonable fear.~Naomi Klein

August 19, 2011 10:27 PM
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