Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 12, 2011 / 12 Menachem-Av, 5771

Riot Rationalization Misses the Mark

By Jonah Goldberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Riots are fascinating things. How lawless greed, cruelty and violence suddenly set fire to the minds of men is one of the most mysterious, almost magical (though not in the positive sense) manifestations of human behavior.

And because they are a manifestation of human behavior, riots are as old as human nature. They were a common affair in cities before ancient Rome was new. This should invite humility in anyone purporting to know why riots happen.

Already, on both sides of the Atlantic, lots of people are sure they know why England is burning.

"The economic stagnation and cuts being imposed by the Tory government inevitably create social division," explained former London Mayor "Red" Ken Livingstone. Livingstone is joined by an intellectual mob of liberal members of Parliament -- particularly members of the Labor Party, which ran the country for more than a decade (the social incubation period of most of the rioters) -- and left-wing pundits both there and here who insist that the new Tory government's budget cuts have led to widespread violence, even though most of the relevant cuts haven't even gone into effect.

Of course, they always manage to say "there's no excuse" for violence. But there's always a "but" that leads a long parade of excuses.

Invariably, these rationalizations amount to a license to spend ever more on the social programs that have, at the least, helped to produce the sort of "youths" who will burn homes and cars and beat people to death should the programs be even moderately curtailed. Indeed, according to liberal logic, the mere threat of reforming such programs is enough to cause wholesale violence.

In other words, the cuts don't justify the violence, but the threat of violence justifies avoiding cuts. It's a clever rhetorical trick, but policy-wise it's both appeasement of and appealing to thuggery, pure and simple.

This helps to clarify how economic inequality has come to replace poverty as the most cited "root cause" of social unrest. Poverty, while a more slippery concept than you might think, is still a definable thing. If you lack adequate housing, food and clothing, you're very poor. Western democracies don't have much of a problem, comparatively speaking, with that kind of poverty.

But we do have income inequality. Inequality is a statistical artifact, an aesthetic offense. Its chief advantage as a bogeyman is that it will always exist and thus always justify programs to reduce it.

On the right, there are a host of explanations that hinge on theories of cultural decay, lapsed or nonexistent parenting, and the corrosive effects of a government that saps the vitality from civil society.

I'm much more sympathetic to this suite of theories. The last time I was in London, the tabloids were making a huge fuss over some lower-class parents staging quasi-gladiatorial fights with their toddlers so they could put the videos on YouTube. That's not a good sign, I thought at the time.

The problem, of course, is that even if conservatives are right, there's precious little government can do to fill the holes in such souls.

Moreover, I think we put way too much effort into intellectualizing or romanticizing mob violence. Whatever the root causes of such behavior, the simple and unavoidable truth is that looters loot because they can. As one looter explained on a British radio show: "The government aren't in control -- because if they was, we wouldn't be able to do it, could we?"

This is the shame of Britain right now. Four days of murder and mayhem demonstrated that the police have become an incompetent social worker program. As goons of all ethnicities destroyed the livelihoods of hardworking storeowners of all ethnicities (sorely in need of gun rights), as they targeted shops not for their political symbolism but for their inventory of the latest sneakers and video games, police held a delicate seminar on the propriety of water cannons.

Meanwhile, as the mobs' useful idiots organized conferences trying to imbue the wanton bloodshed and avarice with political nobility, the savages were announcing on their BlackBerrys which shopping district to swarm for "pure terror and havoc & free stuff."

Mustn't forget the free stuff.

There's an adage that the "plural of anecdote is data." Maybe so. But what we know for sure is that the plural of criminal is criminals. And the people tearing apart English society are simply criminals, whose villainy is not diluted by their numbers, but magnified by them.

If Britain lacks prisons to hold them, build more prisons. Call it a jobs program if it helps.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


To comment on JWR contributor Jonah Goldberg's column click here.

Jonah Goldberg Archives

© 2006 TMS

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles