Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quotes of The Day

Two for one this Sunday.

First up, Janet Daley gives a right-wing explanation for the recent riots in England:
"What real people know – and have known for quite a long time – is that the great tacit agreement which once held civic life together has been deliberately blown apart. There was a time within living memory when all reasonable grown-ups were considered to be on the same side. Parents, teachers, police, judges, politicians – decent citizens of every station and calling – formed an unspoken confederacy to uphold standards of behaviour within their own communities. But their shared values and expectations about human conduct were systematically undermined by a post-Sixties political ideology that preached wholesale disrespect for authority, and legitimised anti-social activity in the name of protest."
Which oddly enough sounds like the left-wing explanation put forward by Brendan O'Neill:
"Because the very problem in rundown urban communities is the surfeit of ‘external solutions’, the surfeit of welfarism and authoritarian measures and do-gooding initiatives that have been imposed from without in recent years. A tsunami of economic, political and therapeutic programmes has had the effect of severely undermining community bonds and social solidarity in many areas. The welfarisation of people’s lives, where their every basic need is met by faceless bureaucrats who simply want to keep people ticking over, has undercut both the spirit of self-reliance and the trend for community solidarity.

...Time and again, external interference has undermined communities’ internal resources and their organic forms of solidarity and authority. In essence, such interventions have undercut good forms of dependency – such as children being dependent upon their parents or neighbours being dependent on each another – with a bad form of dependency: reliance upon the external force, the state, the apparently all-seeing, all-knowing expert who lives outside of your community walls."
The Welfare State has become the enemy of the Working Class.


  1. Janet Daley's comments are nearer the mark. The only definition of 'community' that holds any water is that of 'shared values'. When you have a large group of people sharing a geographical space who have nothing in common and radically different ideas on the important things in life, then you have a recipe for conflict. It should be a simple thing to understand, but politicians, like Ed Miliband, seem to be willfully evading the logical conclusions arising from the riots.

  2. Have they really such radically different ideas on 'the important things in life'?

    Or just radically different ideas on differing authoritative entities? - Such authoritative entities as self or family tradition; national legislation or koran; corporate leader or radical mullah; business competitiveness dictats or consumerist competitiveness dictats; policeman or older brother..

  3. If one thinks that 'authoritative entities' are among the most important things in life, then perhaps not. But does the average looter agonize over the different examples provided by a 'radical mullah and a corporate leader'?

  4. The 'average looter' in the London riots appeared to encompass quite a wide spectrum. What they had most in common appeared to me to be a fairly low position in the social and economic hierarchy. They partook in a herd like behaviour more than anything else. ie. they seemed to be for the most part fairly mindless. So I wouldn't say they agonised over anything. And the prevailing authoritative entity appeared to be a combination of the 'herd' and consumerism. Anyway, I just wanted to take you up on the comment that a large group of people sharing a geographical space have nothing in common and radically different ideas and that is inevitably going to lead to conflict... They have their humanity in common. And that is a lot to have in common. But there are dynamics of alienation and mindlessness at play on both sides which ensures they never feel this common humanity. So it seems to me.


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