Free Markets, Free People


It’s the collectivist that are the problem, not the individualists

I’m amazed at times by what I read in major daily newspapers.  OK, not as much now as I would have been say 10 or 15 years ago.   Maybe it’s just awareness on my part now, but as I get older I am confronted by what I see as half-baked opinion on the pages of such rags than I ever remember before.

Maybe it’s me.  Maybe I’m the one that’s gotten sharper over the years and am able to spot nonsense more easily than before.   Take for instance, Nina Power of the Guardian.   Power is a senior lecturer in philosophy at Roehampton University, so she can be forgiven for being somewhat removed from reality. In her opinion, which the Guardian gladly publishes, the problem of the riots in London and elsewhere can be laid at the feet of government and austerity policies.  Why?  Well let her explain:

Since the coalition came to power just over a year ago, the country has seen multiple student protests, occupations of dozens of universities, several strikes, a half-a-million-strong trade union march and now unrest on the streets of the capital (preceded by clashes with Bristol police in Stokes Croft earlier in the year). Each of these events was sparked by a different cause, yet all take place against a backdrop of brutal cuts and enforced austerity measures. The government knows very well that it is taking a gamble, and that its policies run the risk of sparking mass unrest on a scale we haven’t seen since the early 1980s. With people taking to the streets of Tottenham, Edmonton, Brixton and elsewhere over the past few nights, we could be about to see the government enter a sustained and serious losing streak.

It’s the “brutal cuts” and the “enforced austerity measures”.  Note she admits that “each of these events was sparked by a different cause”, however she then rejects that admission and claims that in reality they all come back to government cut backs.

Really?  It couldn’t be good old technology aided criminality could it?   Or something else completely?   Or a combination of other things altogether?

For instance, in the next paragraph, she says:

The policies of the past year may have clarified the division between the entitled and the dispossessed in extreme terms, but the context for social unrest cuts much deeper. The fatal shooting of Mark Duggan last Thursday, where it appears, contrary to initial accounts, that only police bullets were fired, is another tragic event in a longer history of the Metropolitan police’s treatment of ordinary Londoners, especially those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and the singling out of specific areas and individuals for monitoring, stop and search and daily harassment.

One journalist wrote that he was surprised how many people in Tottenham knew of and were critical of the IPCC, but there should be nothing surprising about this. When you look at the figures for deaths in police custody (at least 333 since 1998 and not a single conviction of any police officer for any of them), then the IPCC and the courts are seen by many, quite reasonably, to be protecting the police rather than the people.

Oh, so it could be all about police harassment then and nothing to do with “brutal cuts” or austerity?   It could be that the spark that lit this fire had to do with police treatment of minorities?  It certainly seems that is what she’s saying.  And of course the riots elsewhere could simply be copy-cat.  Criminal gangs who learned the methods used in Tottenham and deploying them elsewhere to loot and avoid the police?

Well, yes, it could be.  In fact, it could really have nothing at all to do with the “entitled and dispossessed”.

Combine understandable suspicion of and resentment towards the police based on experience and memory with high poverty and large unemployment and the reasons why people are taking to the streets become clear.

They do?  What’s clear is she’s bound and determined to link them, that’s for sure.  But clarity … yeah, not so much.

But that is necessary, even if not true, to conclude the following:

Those condemning the events of the past couple of nights in north London and elsewhere would do well to take a step back and consider the bigger picture: a country in which the richest 10% are now 100 times better off than the poorest, where consumerism predicated on personal debt has been pushed for years as the solution to a faltering economy, and where, according to the OECD, social mobility is worse than any other developed country.

As Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett point out in The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone, phenomena usually described as "social problems" (crime, ill-health, imprisonment rates, mental illness) are far more common in unequal societies than ones with better economic distribution and less gap between the richest and the poorest. Decades of individualism, competition and state-encouraged selfishness – combined with a systematic crushing of unions and the ever-increasing criminalisation of dissent – have made Britain one of the most unequal countries in the developed world.

All of that from a riot against police that one could conclude was a long time fermenting.   Recall the LA riots – was that because of “brutal cuts” and “enforced austerity measures”?  Was the looting that took place then a result of “decades of individualism, competition and state-encouraged selfishness” or mobs taking advantage of the lawlessness the riots brought to loot what they wanted?

And even if she’s half right – what’s the solution she’d desire?  Well “equality” of course.   She’d rather trample the rights of those who’ve won “life’s lottery” (even though they worked their rear ends off to do so) and redistribute it to the poor and disenfranchised than ask the poor and disenfranchised to do what is necessary to give themselves a chance in life and quit demanding others do it for them.

Collectivism, although she never comes out and says it, is her answer.   And we’ve seen how well those equal societies did, didn’t we?  Well at least those of us who had been born before the collapse of the USSR and objectively observed the outcome.  

Yes, friends, a whole new generation of collectivists begin to rear their heads, some having never seen what the collectivism of the last century brought in terms of “equality” -  Equality of misery, equality of oppression and equality of hopelessness.

The problem in the UK isn’t austerity, it’s the results of collectivism and the fact that the inevitable outcome has begun.  It isn’t individualism that’s the fault.  It’s a massive state which robs people of incentive through it’s supposed benign acts of state sponsored charity.  Why strive if you will be taken care of whether you do or not?   Why seek food if you’re not hungry or don’t care what you eat?   Why take care of yourself if the state will do it for you?   And if you start running out of money, tax the rich bastards who want better.

Uncle Jimbo, at Blackfive, puts the exclamation mark on the real reason London is burning:

Liberal social policies have brought western civilization to the breaking point. They had the best of intentions, just ask them. But they, and sadly we, are getting a heaping dose of the law of unintended consequences. If you train an entire cohort of society to believe that the government doesn’t just offer a safety net but a way of life, well you get this- gangs of scum who will take what they want if the free lunch stops showing up. The chattering class is doing their level best to paint this as a legitimate reaction to dire economic times, and for once I agree with them. This is what happens when you run out of other people’s money.

By the way, this isn’t just a one-off bit of nonsense from Ms. Power.  She’s been quite active in the Guardian pages denouncing all sorts of things with titles such as “Don’t Assume the Police Are On Our Side”, which makes me wonder what “our side” might be, and “Happiness has been Consumed by Capitalism” which clarifies the sides.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Print
  • Google Bookmarks

23 Responses to It’s the collectivist that are the problem, not the individualists

  • The best explanation I’ve heard regarding the reason for the continued rioting is this:  lack of incoming fire.

    • I am seeing a few references in the UK press to the contrast with South Central L.A, where the shopkeepers opened fire from their rooftops and thereby saved themselves and their family businesses. But it’s too late for that ever to be considered here. The poulace has been disarmed, and disarmed (and helpless) they will remain.

      • Look up “folding shovels” on the interweb.  Something like a 250000% spike in sales, along with baseball bats in England.
        They are re-arming.

        • Based on the London riots, I would invest in baseball bats.
          It seems that Londoners have taken great affection to the American past-time, as Amazon sales of baseball bats has sky-rocketed since the start of the riots.

    • There is a real sense of irony with the UK situation.\
      One the one hand you have rioters, who claim the the are unhappy that the government refuses to provide for their personal needs.  On the other hand, you have the rest of the populace, who can’t get the public safety services which are the bedrock of what a government is supposed to provide.
      Come to think of it, this is exactly what happens when mother’s milk dries up.  The babies are left to cry.

      • NeoOne the one hand you have rioters, who claim the the are unhappy that the government refuses to provide for their personal needs.  On the other hand, you have the rest of the populace, who can’t get the public safety services which are the bedrock of what a government is supposed to provide.

        A very succinct and insightful take on the problem, sir!

        Thanks to decades of socialism, EVERYBODY in Britain is f*cked in one way or another.

      • My point was that the government has failed both the rioters and tne non-rioters.
        There is a real irony when forced to disappoint, the government can’t keep anybody happy.

  • Reality is the problem.  They just don’t like it, ans some folks just won’t take it.

  • Decades of individualism, competition and state-encouraged selfishness – combined with a systematic crushing of unions and the ever-increasing criminalisation of dissent – have made Britain one of the most unequal countries in the developed world
      


    >>>> You know what the MOST EQUAL country in the world is?  North Korea.

  • A society that does not have the cultural self confidence to defend itself is on the road to collapse. That the government itself was divided and confused about how to respond is a signal indication. It also demonstrates that the law enforcement organizations have lost the habit of acting decisively in the face of assaults on the very people they are supposed to protect.
    We’ve had more than our share of this type of thing in the past 50 years. And while there has been much to criticize in how our own city and state governments have responded, we have never seen a de facto abandonment of the obligation to protect society. Do Americans expect more of their governments? Or, is it that the British public had the same expectations, but the government did not share that common ideal?
    What’s really striking is that citizens and business owners who banded together for self defense expressed a fear that they might be punished for their actions. I fear that the British no longer have a habit of liberty.

  • McQ - Even if [Power is] half right – what’s the solution she’d desire?  Well “equality” of course.   She’d rather trample the rights of those who’ve won “life’s lottery” (even though they worked their rear ends off to do so) and redistribute it to the poor and disenfranchised than ask the poor and disenfranchised to do what is necessary to give themselves a chance in life and quit demanding others do it for them.


    In short, she wants to pay the Danegeld.

  • Lower the cost of anything, and you will see a greater demand for that thing.

    Outlawry is not exception to the LAWS of economics.  The veneer of civility is never very thick.

  • Only education — together with politicians, judges, policemen and teachers with the courage to force feral humans to obey rules the rest of us have accepted all our lives — can provide a way forward and a way out for these people.
    They are products of a culture which gives them so much unconditionally that they are let off learning how to become human beings. My dogs are better behaved and subscribe to a higher code of values than the young rioters of Tottenham, Hackney, Clapham and Birmingham.

  • “Happiness has been Consumed by Capitalism”

    I was awestruck by this quote from John Menard Keynes I found in a Ed Driscoll piece a few days back…

    What an extraordinary episode in the economic progress of man that age was which came to an end in August 1914! The greater part of the population, it is true, worked hard and lived at low standard of comfort, yet were, to all appearances, reasonably contented with this lot. But escape was possible, for any man of capacity or character at all exceeding the average, into the middle and upper classes, for whom life offered, at a low cost and with the least trouble, conveniences, comforts, and amenities beyond the compass of the richest and most powerful monarchs of other ages.
    The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, in such quantity as he might see fit, and reasonably expect their early delivery upon his doorstep; he could at the same moment and by the same means adventure his wealth in the natural resources and new enterprises of any quarter of the world, and share, without exertion or even trouble, in their prospective fruits and advantages; or he could decide to couple the security of his fortunes with the good faith of the townspeople of any substantial municipality in any continent that fancy or information might recommend. He could secure forthwith, if he wished it, cheap and comfortable means of transit to any country or climate without passport or other formality, could despatch his servant to the neighbouring office of a bank for such supply of the precious metals as might seem convenient, and could then proceed abroad to foreign quarters, without knowledge of their religion, language, or customs, bearing coined wealth upon his person, and would consider himself greatly aggrieved and much surprised at the least interference.

    What a horrible contrast…and clear repudiation of the idiot Power.

  • Deep down in their hearts and minds libs are frightened by those they have been “providing for”.   They think if they (we) pay enough to provide for their basic needs food, clothing & shelter, they will not tear down the doors and take all they can carry off.

  • Which pretty much goes right to the core of why Libtards fear the TEA Party. As they see the TEA Party is the adult in the room, they fear “free stuff”, or at least stuff paid for by “other peoples money” will and must come to an end. The Horror!

    Only one thing left for the Radical Left to do, and that is, cry. Unfortunately the Extreme Left’s expression of crying, is burning others peoples money if they can’t take it by government fiat.

    Let us not emulate Europe: fight back.

  • I’m put in mind of a Dallas police chief some time back who was very pro gun control.  He assured his citizens that it was his job to protect them, and they had no business with firearms.

    I think the response time in Dallas at the time was about 20 minutes.  Which meant, of course, they would arrive to find your cooling carcass and tidy up a bit.

    I seem to recall a trucker being arrested in Dallas for possession of a deadly weapon when police found he had a tire billy (for testing the inflation of his tires…which the Feds require you to do at least daily).

    This was another of those synthetic instances when I could only conclude that the Collective is truly mad

    • I still believe that almost anyone for restrictive gun control has simply never been on either end of an actual gun.

  • I have a question for you guys.  If conservatives win the next election and push through some ‘extreme austerity measures’ do you think there will be rioting in the U.S.?

    • There is now.
      And yes.

      • It seems others think so as well.

        Anarchy and Austerity: Why London Won’t Be The Last City to Burn

        http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/08/anarchy-and-austerity-why-london-wont-be-the-last-city-to-burn/243435/

        I think there is little doubt they will try and succeed in some places.  In other places not so much.  After the Rodney King incident they went wild in L.A.  In Mobile the police didn’t tolerate any BS.  They kicked a few asses and threw the leaders and instigators in jail.  The black officers were even less tolerant than might be expected.  I remember one saying “If you want to act that way move to L.A. cause their troubles don’t affect us here.”

        Unlike the PC police in the U.K. I think police here will be more inclined and prepared to stop it early and will not be afraid to do what is necessary to keep the peace.

michael kors outlet michael kors handbags outlet michael kors factory outlet