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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: London Riots - The Root Cause
ken
Ship's Roundhead
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quote:
Originally posted by malik3000:
"a litany of grotty chavdom"

Politically incorrect, Ken, but quite a turn of phrase. [Snigger]

I'm allowed to say that, I live here [Smile]

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Imaginary Friend

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# 186

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quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
Is talk of fairness in essence the politics of appeasement to the "give me what you have or I'll burn the place down" crowd?

No it's not. Talk of fairness is the essence of being human.

But if that's too idealistic for you, the "give me what you have or I'll burn the place down" is no worse than "work like a slave for a pittance of a wage or I'll sack you".

--------------------
"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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shamwari
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My parents lived in fairly run down rented properties.

My Dad died when I was 12.

My Mum brought me up as a single parent in straightened circumstances.

I was taught that covetesness was a sin, so was the ""get something for nothing" attitude. That I should work for what I wanted. That I should respect "authority". That I should stand up for what is right and strive for justice both economic and social.

It was a hard life. But at least it was a moral life.

And I have no sympathy nor would I attempt to justify/excuse what is going on in these riots.

The root causes of this madness seem to me to lie in a breakdown of basic morality inculcated by a breakdown of community and family.

And a loss of God.

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angelicum
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quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
Is talk of fairness in essence the politics of appeasement to the "give me what you have or I'll burn the place down" crowd?

No it's not. Talk of fairness is the essence of being human.

But if that's too idealistic for you, the "give me what you have or I'll burn the place down" is no worse than "work like a slave for a pittance of a wage or I'll sack you".

And it seems to me both should be condemned, both the thugs who exploit labour are wrong, and also the thugs who riot and loot because of disengagement from society. Instead it seems to me that what we are saying is that labour exploitation is wrong (and rightly so), but that we should appease the other group you give through mechanisms which foster less social inequality? Why pander to any group?

You want to live in a society, you live by that society's rules surely. You want to disengage yourself from that society, fine - I don't think anyone is stopping you. But don't then come back creating havoc and whining about how you've been excluded from society.

Where does personal responsibility (and personal culpability) come in? Why should society (and myself as a member of society) share the blame for what is going on - most of us just go about our daily lives minding our own business without exploiting these people or bothering them in any way.

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shamwari
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I may add that I was left as the only white on a mission station when black students rioted in protest at Ian Smith's policies in Rhodesia ( the rest of the mission staff fled) and I know what it is to be beleagured and scared stiff and in danger of my life.
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Imaginary Friend

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quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
You want to live in a society, you live by that society's rules surely.

Except that "work like a slave for a pittance or I'll fire you" is society's rules. It's inherently unfair.

But let me be clear: I do not for a second condone the looting, attacks on police, vandalism or any of the other violence that has happened since Saturday. Not for a single second. All I am trying to do is point out where the attitudes driving it come from. Expressing those attitudes in this way is wrong, but I believe that the attitudes themselves are not far wide of the mark.

--------------------
"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Geneviève

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So the question still remains: what are the root causes? And just because the looters are not all poor, I don't think simply calling what's happening "greed and opportunism" explains everything.....unless of course you are willing to say that same thing about members of parliament, etc...without the perjorative leaning so heavily on the looters.
I do wonder about a breakdown in society's morals. I don't see--in the US at any rate--and this is a GENERALITY--a sense that the common good is important. What's important is getting it for me and then for my group.

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"Ineffable" defined: "I cannot and will not be effed with." (Courtesy of CCTooSweet in Running the Books)

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Jessie Phillips
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quote:
Originally posted by Geneviève:
So the question still remains: what are the root causes? And just because the looters are not all poor, I don't think simply calling what's happening "greed and opportunism" explains everything.....unless of course you are willing to say that same thing about members of parliament, etc...without the perjorative leaning so heavily on the looters.
I do wonder about a breakdown in society's morals. I don't see--in the US at any rate--and this is a GENERALITY--a sense that the common good is important. What's important is getting it for me and then for my group.

I still think that opportunism is a big part of it - however, I agree with you that this doesn't fully explain it - because it doesn't explain why every city all over the world doesn't have year round rioting, and why, when these riots do start, they tend not to run for more than a few weeks.

Mark Duggan was seen as a martyr. Mistakenly, perhaps, but whether the view is mistaken or not is beside the point. People were frustrated at being fobbed off by the police, a few people allowed those frustrations to spill over - and a bunch of rubbernecking onlookers thought, "hey, the police can't handle this", and decided to make the most of the situation. As you do.

I still suspect that a lot of the people who have perpetuated the rioting probably think they have little or nothing to lose. Whether they think they are fighting for a cause or not may have been relevant in the early stages, but I don't think it's quite so relevant to the continuation of unrest.

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angelicum
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quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
You want to live in a society, you live by that society's rules surely.

Except that "work like a slave for a pittance or I'll fire you" is society's rules. It's inherently unfair.

Not in modern Britain. People do receive a fair wage, most people are not expected to work like a slave, and there are employment tribunals for things termination without just cause. And when people do find themselves unemployed there are jobseekers allowances and assistance to obtaining further employment.

The mechanisms and structures are in place for people to use them. There's education, health and assistance in employment. This is why many people from abroad, myself included, come to the UK and enjoy a very decent standard of living.

I'm unsure what more it is that do people want? It seems to me that they also have Blackberries, and Nike trainers - so they're clearly not living in abject poverty. In fact in the CCTV photographs of the looters on various websites, you can see on some of them clearly the trademark white earphones demonstrating possession of a not inexpensive apple technology device whether an iphone or an ipod. How can these people be compared to 'slaves'?

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
quote:
Let's face it: we've collectively allowed this to happen, because for the very great part, the underclass is not us. As long as they keep to their estates and their sink schools, and out of sight of decent people, we don't give a shit what goes on there. Only when it suddenly comes out onto our streets and affects our people do we demand something be done.
Why is this wrong though? That's what I've been thinking about these last few days actually.

Why are other people my responsibility. My responsibility surely is to myself, to obey the laws, pay my taxes (which benefits everyone), look after my family, etc. Why should I champion the cause of other people where it doesn't necessarily align with my own admittedly selfish causes? Is it against the law or does it necessarily make me an irresponsible member of society?

In other words, apart from the bare minimum, i.e. taxation, etc which benefits everybody....why should I not just choose to care for and speak on behalf of only people who I like?

It's funny, but there's a class above you that thinks exactly the same way (except for the paying taxes and obeying the law bit).

I suppose it depends what you're prepared to do to isolate you and yours from the 'others'. Will you be suggesting culling them at some point, either actively hunting them down or passively walling them up and starving them? Both of those, I'd argue, are sub-Christian responses.

So given that a) you have a vested interest in making sure sporadic rioting doesn't become a feature, and b) you're not proposing some sort of Final Solution, you're going to have to engage with the problem at some level.

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art dunce
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quote:
So is that all it boils down to?

Is talk of fairness in essence the politics of appeasement to the "give me what you have or I'll burn the place down" crowd?

I guess if "what you have" is equal access to education and opportunities for promotion and growth, freedom from race/ethnicity based profiling and violence by authorities, a place at the political table where legitimate concerns are heard and inclusion into the larger community without demands for complete loss of identity, then yes, I guess fairness comes down to giving them what you have.

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Ego is not your amigo.

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angelicum
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
quote:
Let's face it: we've collectively allowed this to happen, because for the very great part, the underclass is not us. As long as they keep to their estates and their sink schools, and out of sight of decent people, we don't give a shit what goes on there. Only when it suddenly comes out onto our streets and affects our people do we demand something be done.
Why is this wrong though? That's what I've been thinking about these last few days actually.

Why are other people my responsibility. My responsibility surely is to myself, to obey the laws, pay my taxes (which benefits everyone), look after my family, etc. Why should I champion the cause of other people where it doesn't necessarily align with my own admittedly selfish causes? Is it against the law or does it necessarily make me an irresponsible member of society?

In other words, apart from the bare minimum, i.e. taxation, etc which benefits everybody....why should I not just choose to care for and speak on behalf of only people who I like?

It's funny, but there's a class above you that thinks exactly the same way (except for the paying taxes and obeying the law bit).

I suppose it depends what you're prepared to do to isolate you and yours from the 'others'. Will you be suggesting culling them at some point, either actively hunting them down or passively walling them up and starving them? Both of those, I'd argue, are sub-Christian responses.

So given that a) you have a vested interest in making sure sporadic rioting doesn't become a feature, and b) you're not proposing some sort of Final Solution, you're going to have to engage with the problem at some level.

I sort of see your point.

I guess if people were phrasing it in this way - i.e. we have to help them because we have an obligation to ourselves, rather than we have to help them because we have some sort of inherent obligation to them / or that we are in some way also responsible for their situation - then I think it makes it easier for people to swallow. The inverse blame card, where somehow we are partly to blame for this situation just feels like a harder sell for me personally.

Having said that we help them because if we don't they riot and it's cheaper this way also somehow feels - there's that word again - 'unfair'. Why should they be rewarded for potential misbehaviour? We don't reward a child for throwing a tantrum after all.

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Imaginary Friend

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# 186

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quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
People do receive a fair wage, most people are not expected to work like a slave, and there are employment tribunals for things termination without just cause.

You honestly think the minimum wage is a fair wage? Or that people working hard to make ends meet can't be kinda-bullied into taking extra shifts without overtime? If you do then I suspect you're in fantasy land.

quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
And when people do find themselves unemployed there are jobseekers allowances and assistance to obtaining further employment.

Well that's partially true. Except that in the area of north London where the first violence was on Saturday, there were 54 people registered as unemployed for every job advertised. Getting from jobseekers into a job is a very difficult task in that environment.

quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
How can these people be compared to 'slaves'?

Okay, so that was slightly hyperbolic language, but you knew that, and the fact that you pick up on my rhetoric means that you don't really have much to say about the main point. Perhaps 'captives' would be better than 'slaves'. People are captive in an environment which gives them no choices, no opportunities, and no chance to make a better life for themselves. I think I'm right in saying that a recent study had Britain dead last for social mobility amongst developed nations. If I was in that position, I would lose hope. I would feel that society was out to get me, and that the institutions that make society run (like the police) were not acting in my interest. I would be angry. And while I would like to think that I wouldn't resort to looting, I can't be absolutely sure of that. And that is especially true if I had grown up in that environment and it was all I had ever known.

--------------------
"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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angelicum
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# 13515

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quote:
Originally posted by art dunce:
quote:
So is that all it boils down to?

Is talk of fairness in essence the politics of appeasement to the "give me what you have or I'll burn the place down" crowd?

I guess if "what you have" is equal access to education and opportunities for promotion and growth, freedom from race/ethnicity based profiling and violence by authorities, a place at the political table where legitimate concerns are heard and inclusion into the larger community without demands for complete loss of identity, then yes, I guess fairness comes down to giving them what you have.
But many of them can achieve all that without burning the place down?

There are many from much poorer backgrounds than what we know about those looting, particularly those from East Asian immigrant communities, who have achieved significantly in the education, politics, have good relations with the police, and have managed to preserve their cultural identity.

This appears to be a problem with certain individuals/groups rather than entire communities.

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Imaginary Friend

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quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
I guess if people were phrasing it in this way - i.e. we have to help them because we have an obligation to ourselves, rather than we have to help them because we have some sort of inherent obligation to them / or that we are in some way also responsible for their situation - then I think it makes it easier for people to swallow. The inverse blame card, where somehow we are partly to blame for this situation just feels like a harder sell for me personally.

But I feel like I do have an obligation to 'them'. I am the product of privilege. I was born into a family which valued education, which taught me a work ethic, the value of money, and that you should take all reasonable steps to be a constructive member of society. I am thoroughly grateful for that. But a lot of people didn't have that headstart in society. Some people make it despite circumstances, and they should be applauded. I feel like it is incumbent on me to work to extend the opportunities that I had to everyone. That is not to say that I am to blame for the opportunities that I had, or that I am to blame for the lack of opportunities afforded to someone else. But it is right and proper that I do my bit to make society more equal, and that I use the products of my privilege to help me do so.

But I guess you disagree with that, because it's not in your immediate self-interest.

--------------------
"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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angelicum
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quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
People are captive in an environment which gives them no choices, no opportunities, and no chance to make a better life for themselves.

But that's the thing - there are people who do make a better life for themselves! Surely it's incumbent upon those who don't to examine the causes of why they don't starting with themselves first and then pointing fingers at others? What I've seen (first hand) is that when a new centre was built in a deprived school, it quickly became vandalised, hardly anyone took advantage of (free) Saturday lessons offered by teaching staff, teachers who do try to go the extra mile by befriending pupils are subject to verbal abuse. It seems to me that people need to want to help themselves first surely?
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Penny S
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Two things have occurred to me while reading this thread.

One is what I saw during riots in Brixton which I accidentally drove into and had difficulty getting out of. I never imagined I would be so pleased to see a line of riot police. (We were behind them.) At one point we were stopped in a network of streets off Water Lane, where people were running about in and out of houses, carrying bottles (which I presumed and presume were intended for Molotov cocktails). The behaviour looked like the Hungarian rising. The faces looked like carnival. They were having fun, and that was scarey.

The other is much earlier, and is contributory to that attitude to the police you may have spotted above, and I post it in support of the account above of the girl who felt harassed by the police.

I am white and middle class, daughter of a teacher and a chartered accountant, brought up in a Congregational Church environment. I became a teacher myself. One day, soon after I bought my first home, I took a colleague back home for tea. It would have been in the late 70s, and we would have been about 30. She too was middle class and white. Just to make the background clear.

After tea, I drove her home to a house near the school, in my turquoise Hillman Imp, taking only my keys. On the way we drove past a garage where a police car was drawn up. My impression was that the occupants were eating something which might have been fish and chips. I turned right just after the garage, then left, and set off down the road towards my friend's home. Suddenly I saw the police car behind, blue lights flashing, and pulled in. The two officers got out and strolled up. I tried to remember whether the advice for drivers in that situation was to stay in the car, or to get out. I elected to stay in.

What followed might, if the boys' conversation had been more intelligent, have been described as Kafka-esque. One checked the rear lights, where there was no problem. One suggested that they had to check to see if the car had been stolen. I said that it had not been reported stolen, as I was the owner. They demanded identity proof. They said they could not let me go until I showed it. I was pretty sure that they had no right to do this, but no proof, and their reaction to me was getting edgy. I suggested they went to ask at any of the houses with toys in the garden, where the parents would identify us as teachers at the local school. This was not acceptable. I suggested that one of them got in my car and we went to the police station to sort out the situation. This was also not acceptable. Eventually, my friend produced her credit card, and off we went.

I have been angry, in a subdued way, ever since, that I did not then go to the station and report them. I believe the two of them spotted us and thought we were younger, and it was an attempted pick up. I remember it every time I see a car stopped and the police with a black guy. I've even seen that outside my old home, where I'd never seen a black driver. I know that they are not supposed to stop black drivers preferentially, but I see more black drivers stopped than white, even where I see more white drivers than black, and some of them driving illegally. Being stopped unjustly rankles. And if once rankles me still, how much more must the more frequent stops rankle?

Penny

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Schroedinger's cat

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On the news today they showed Boris trying to do his "one of the people" act with a broom, helping in the tidying up efforts ( which are not being reported as much, of course, because this is normal people doing good things, and so is not newsworthy ). The general reaction seemed to be "Fuck off and provide us with proper police protection, you arrogant tosspot".

Which, TBH, I support. The cleanup is an example of people making a stand for their own local communities. Boris is trying to make some political gain from this, and people saw through this, and realised that Boris was part of the problem, not the solution.

The root causes of the disturbances are significantly political - in the sense that the political decisions have caused real suffering and real problems.

--------------------
Blog
Music for your enjoyment
Lord may all my hard times be healing times
take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

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Alfred E. Neuman

What? Me worry?
# 6855

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quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
...People are captive in an environment which gives them no choices, no opportunities, and no chance to make a better life for themselves...

Bull puckey. There are always choices to make a better life and create opportunities for yourself. It's too easy to accept a defeatist attitude and blame environment, economics, social status, government, crappy parents, etc., etc. At some point, the individual has to step up to the fact they are ultimately responsible for making the best of circumstances, however dire.

There's no sense in throwing a monkey wrench into the works by giving up and looking for easy excuses. Bah!

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Alfred E. Neuman

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Xpost with angelicum
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Jessie Phillips
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# 13048

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Here's an interesting article on what turns people into looters.

Whilst on the one hand I am scared, and very much wish that the unrest will end as soon as possible - on the other hand, when I read stories of the looting, part of me thinks, "Damn, why aren't I there too, picking up free stuff for myself?"

In all honesty, it's because I think the practical arrangements that are necessary to get the looted stuff back to my flat with minimum risk of getting injured or arrested are too difficult to put in place. Especially given the fact that there are other things important to me that I have planned over the next few days, and I would rather those plans were not derailed by me being arrested or injured. Indeed, those same plans are also part of the reason why the continuation of unrest scares me.

So I can quite understand that a person who does not have the same plans for the next few days that I have, will have a different cost-benefit analysis about looting, and may therefore make a different decision.

So I can't honestly say I'm a better person morally. And I suspect that those who pretend that they are better people, are talking out of their arses. The stuff that Paul says in Romans about no-one being righteous springs to mind.

Then again, some people might say that having plans for the future of yourself and the people around you, is what "community cohesion" means.

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shamwari
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Imaginary Friend evidences the typical patronising attitude which is a part-cause of the problems.

(s)he says that they must use their priveliged upbringing to ensure justice and fair play for the deprived and dispossessed.

And in so doing condones and excuses and justifies the mindless excesses which the so-called dispossesed engage in.

Come off it. Try living in a country where there is no minimum wage (sneering written off as hopelessly inadequate); no state benefits and you might have a point.

What constitutes the "poverty line" in the UK represents riches undreamed of in the 3rd World and Imaginary Friend would be better off getting a sense of perspective and a proper sense of priorities and using their "guilty" sense of privelige to direct their angst towards 3rd World poverty and deprivation.

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
quote:
At this point, we don't know if there was police misconduct.
The first role of the police is to protect the public.
The first role of the police is the same as the first rule of doctors, and is 'first, do no harm'.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
Why are other people my responsibility. My responsibility surely is to myself, to obey the laws, pay my taxes (which benefits everyone), look after my family, etc. Why should I champion the cause of other people where it doesn't necessarily align with my own admittedly selfish causes? Is it against the law or does it necessarily make me an irresponsible member of society?

Why should somebody respect property where it doesn't necessarily align with their own admittedly selfish causes?
Looting is certainly selfish. For one's own short-term benefit it trades the long-term common good. But what else is wrong with it? Why should you care about society's rules if society's rules were made only to benefit people who aren't like you?
It seems to me that what we are saying is that property damage is wrong (and rightly so), but that we should appease the propertied classes and business by respecting property. Why pander to any group?

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Imaginary Friend

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# 186

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quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
But that's the thing - there are people who do make a better life for themselves!

quote:
Originally posted by Alfred E. Neuman:
There are always choices to make a better life and create opportunities for yourself. It's too easy to accept a defeatist attitude and blame environment, economics, social status, government, crappy parents, etc., etc. At some point, the individual has to step up to the fact they are ultimately responsible for making the best of circumstances, however dire.

All I'm saying is that if I faced those odds, I don't know that I'd make it. So while you're right that personal responsibility has to come at some point, it makes me pause before I judge those in that situation too harshly.

shamwari, I do not condone or excuse anything, and I have not said that at any point on this thread. I would appreciate it if you don't put words in my mouth. And your point about third world poverty is merely a tactic to avoid the issue at hand.

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Jessie Phillips
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Since my last post, I have become ever so slightly more cynical.

It has occurred to me that perhaps people make a pretence of not understanding why people riot and loot, in order to appear more civilised than the mob, when in fact they know full well why people do it, but simply don't want to let on. It's a game of collective denial.

It has also occurred to me that perhaps it might be a good idea for me to make such a pretence myself too, lest anyone mistakes me for one of the rioters. Can't have that, now, can we?

quote:
Originally posted by shamwari:
What constitutes the "poverty line" in the UK represents riches undreamed of in the 3rd World and Imaginary Friend would be better off getting a sense of perspective and a proper sense of priorities and using their "guilty" sense of privelige to direct their angst towards 3rd World poverty and deprivation.

Good point. But the trouble with your reasoning there is that if the only thing that causes riots is absolute poverty, then these riots would never have happened in the first place.

I think we have to make a distinction between the cause of the rioting, and the cause of the looting. It's all very well to say that people in Britain are better off than people in the third world - but that's no good if you honestly think the police care so little about you that they would put a bullet in your head on the flimsiest pretext. All the Blackberrys and flat screen TVs in the world won't compensate for that.

But supposing for a moment you've got over that one, and have come to develop a fatalistic attitude to your own mortality as a result. Being bombarded with constant advertising for stuff you know you can't afford is likely to get your goat after a while, especially when the people around you seem to be bragging about what they've got that you haven't.

Put the rich and the poor close together, and it potentially makes things very explosive.

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NJA
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# 13022

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Just a thought. A poor household probably means that one or both parents are out of work, so they have now, and in the past, had time to spend with the children.
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Ramarius
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And still we puzzle as to the root of these events. I have been particularly struck by the international comparisons. Others it seems are far worse off off than the communities affected in London, but still retain a general level of lawfulness.

It reminds me of a sermon where the speaker was musing on Jesus's teaching on the sermon on the mount about how God sees the human heart. Lust is equated with adultery and anger with hate. The inner motivation is treated as seriously as the outward act. Why? Well in the opinion of the speaker it's because the motivation is an indication of what we would do if we though we could get away with it. There is a lawless individual lurking inside each of us. Now and again this person sees the opportunity to get out and express themselves. When individuals do it we may get individual crime, personal hurt, a breakdown in friendships. When they are released collectively in groups and gangs we see riots and disorder.

There is no mechanistic formula to trigger their emergence. But when there is a sudden and collective feeling of being emboldened to express themselves - because they think they can - the usually hidden lawless person makes its appearance.

Doubtless some of the people involved will, on reflection, say 'I don't know what made me do it.' It's like a collective madness that suddenly erupts, only to return to its lair when its energy has disspated.

I noticed a call to an hour of prayer this evening posted across Facebook. Testament I suggest to the conviction that whatever other causes there are to the current lawlessness part of it is down to unseen influences, psychological or spiritual depending on your outlook. And part of the solution can only come from the unseen restraining hand that prevents this craziness materialising with greater impact and frequency.

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lilBuddha
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Shamwari says
quote:
What constitutes the "poverty line" in the UK represents riches undreamed of in the 3rd World and Imaginary Friend would be better off getting a sense of perspective and a proper sense of priorities and using their "guilty" sense of privelige to direct their angst towards 3rd World poverty and deprivation.
Quit your crying son. I've only beat you with a switch. Jerry's dad beats him with a great big branch. You should feel grateful, you should.

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angelicum
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# 13515

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by angelicum:
Why are other people my responsibility. My responsibility surely is to myself, to obey the laws, pay my taxes (which benefits everyone), look after my family, etc. Why should I champion the cause of other people where it doesn't necessarily align with my own admittedly selfish causes? Is it against the law or does it necessarily make me an irresponsible member of society?

Why should somebody respect property where it doesn't necessarily align with their own admittedly selfish causes?
Looting is certainly selfish. For one's own short-term benefit it trades the long-term common good. But what else is wrong with it?

there's a difference between stealing which is selfish but also destructive of other people, and the scenario which my post which you quoted describes.

Stealing is an action. Someone gets hurt that they wouldn't otherwise have. Whereas the attitude which I have described above (of inaction, or rather of focusing solely on my own individual/familial needs) does not necessarily involve depriving other people of anything.

Both are selfish actions I accept, but the difference between the two are not solely degrees of selfishness, but it is a qualitative difference.

quote:
It seems to me that what we are saying is that property damage is wrong (and rightly so), but that we should appease the propertied classes and business by respecting property. Why pander to any group?
But protecting property is not pandering to one group of people, it's respecting all groups of people, including the so-called looters themselves. They too have property they wish to protect and do not wish for me to steal.

[ 09. August 2011, 21:33: Message edited by: angelicum ]

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NJA
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I think there is a culture of "respect" and the rioters think the police treat them with dis-respect. Rioting & looting is a show of strength and honour!
- out-witting those that disrespect them.

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Shadowhund
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It's too bad that the London rioters aren't all pedophile Catholic priests. Then we would spared all of the left-liberal handwringing about how we have step in the shoes of the maurauding thieves and feeeeel their pain, all the while blaming "society" for their abject deprivatiion resulting from their lacking of the latest consumer electronics and trendy trackwear, as opposed to food and water.

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"Had the Dean's daughter worn a bra that afternoon, Norman Shotover might never have found out about the Church of England; still less about how to fly"

A.N. Wilson

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Alfred E. Neuman

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# 6855

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The convergence theory of crowd psychology suggests people come together in large groups simply because of a shared interest or objective - in this case, the desire for loot. Another aspect is the same as you see at live sport events - not so much the game itself but the desire to share the crowd's emotion and revel in it.
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Leaf
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One commentator described this as "violent materialism." Seems as good a description as any.
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Moo

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# 107

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I think we need to make a sharp distinction between people who torch buildings and those who loot. People loot because they want stuff, and they can probably get away with it.

Torching buildings is not as easy to understand, and the results are far more damaging to the community. If a row of shops is set ablaze, the businesses will probably not return to the community. This leaves the people who live in the area without grocery shores, dry cleaners, etc. This is hardest on the poorest; they can't afford to take taxis to do errands, and they can't carry very many groceries on the bus.

A number of commercial buildings in Washington DC were burnt after the assassination of Martin Luther King. Years later there were still no local stores, and everyone's quality of life suffered greatly.

Moo

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Enoch
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# 14322

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I'm surprised nobody seems to be prepared to admit that rioting is fun. It's wrong, like a lot of things. I've never done it. But we can all recognise and tell that people get a kick out of it. Cut the high-mindedness and the soul-searching explanations. There's an edgy buzz to rioting. That's why it spreads. That's why they send twitters to each other saying where it's happening, just like they do for raves and for football violence.

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The5thMary
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# 12953

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quote:
Originally posted by Chesterbelloc:
May I add another, briefly? I think it might even be the principal cause of the rioting (as opposed to the non-violent protesting): opportunistic thuggery and theft.

Yes! This was a BIG thing during the W.T.O. riots in Seattle, back in the late 1990's. I lived there then and saw firsthand that there were a lot of people who were actively inciting others to violence and vandalism. It was really shocking to me and made me forever leery of all protest mobs.

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God gave me my face but She let me pick my nose.

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bib
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# 13074

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I spoke to a group of teenagers and asked them for their explanation about what has happened. I'm afraid they listed : because it would be a blast; because it's exciting; because its fun; because they were bored; and finally "who cares"?
What has happened in our schools and families that permits these attitudes to develop? Is it all to do with instant satisfaction and gratification?

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"My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring"

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Alfred E. Neuman

What? Me worry?
# 6855

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quote:
Originally posted by bib:
...What has happened in our schools and families that permits these attitudes to develop? Is it all to do with instant satisfaction and gratification?

"Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders, and love chatter in
places of exercise. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers."

~Socrates

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Leaf
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# 14169

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At dinner we decided that Rupert Murdoch is paying the rioters and looters, just to get the phonehacking scandal off the front page.
Posts: 2786 | From: the electrical field | Registered: Oct 2008  |  IP: Logged
Og: Thread Killer
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# 3200

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quote:
Originally posted by Alfred E. Neuman:
quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
...People are captive in an environment which gives them no choices, no opportunities, and no chance to make a better life for themselves...

Bull puckey. There are always choices to make a better life and create opportunities for yourself. It's too easy to accept a defeatist attitude and blame environment, economics, social status, government, crappy parents, etc., etc. At some point, the individual has to step up to the fact they are ultimately responsible for making the best of circumstances, however dire.
...

When there are no examples of good choices, its hard to choose them.

Otherwise the people on here saying its a breakdown of the family are, in your opinion, wrong.

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I wish I was seeking justice loving mercy and walking humbly but... "Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st."

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Og: Thread Killer
Ship's token CN Mennonite
# 3200

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quote:
Originally posted by Shadowhund:
It's too bad that the London rioters aren't all pedophile Catholic priests. Then we would spared all of the left-liberal handwringing about how we have step in the shoes of the maurauding thieves and feeeeel their pain, all the while blaming "society" for their abject deprivatiion resulting from their lacking of the latest consumer electronics and trendy trackwear, as opposed to food and water.

They arn't pedophiles.

Different crimes in very different situations.

In particular, given this is a board dealing with working out Christendom, you are going to be dealing with particular outrage at how the RC administration has dealt with that issue.

I suspect if some preacher paid rioters to do community work somewhat and enabled the rioters to avoid arrest by moving them to other parts of the country, and offered to pay hush money to families attempting to sue his church for damages caused by the riots, while pressuring said people with the force of a hierachical church, that the outrage from liberals on this board would be harsh.

And, I've yet to see anybody on here saying the looting is a good thing.

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I wish I was seeking justice loving mercy and walking humbly but... "Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st."

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Wesley J

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# 6075

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Interesting comment (as so often) by our Captain's namesake, Simon Jenkins, in the Guardian. He is pointing his finger at the stunning lack of local elected politician to stand up and step in an article entitled 'UK riots: In this crisis, our cities need local leaders with real power. - The vacuum of authority below our centralised state leaves the police with the impossible task of keeping order alone.'

The Home Secretary seems to have taken control of all policing nationwide, with no go-betweens, as seems the PM, he says, and that besides a handful of people like the Labour MP Diane Abbott (one time candidate for Labour party leadership), no politician with strong local roots has been seen to intervene publically and on site.

While I cannot possibly say if all this is correct, his comments certainly seem valid.

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Be it as it may: Wesley J will stay. --- Euthanasia, that sounds good. An alpine neutral neighbourhood. Then back to Britain, all dressed in wood. Things were gonna get worse. (John Cooper Clarke)

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Timothy the Obscure

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# 292

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The question to ask is "Why now?"

Saying it's because of "greed" doesn't answer that question, unless you believe that the level of greed can suddenly surge for no reason other than poor people's innate nastiness (Rich people are notoriously greedy--why don't they ever riot and loot? Unless you count Enron and AIG as looting.) Which is just as stupid as the notion that unemployment is caused by laziness, the implication of which is that there was an epidemic of laziness a few years ago that is still going on.

None of which implies that the rioters are revolutionaries or that what they are doing is justified. But it may have some implications for how you keep it from happening again.

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When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
  - C. P. Snow

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Alfred E. Neuman

What? Me worry?
# 6855

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quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
When there are no examples of good choices, its hard to choose them. Otherwise the people on here saying its a breakdown of the family are, in your opinion, wrong.

How can there not be examples of good choices? No one lives in a bubble surrounded only by family - (if that's what you're suggesting).

Imaginary Friend claimed, "People are captive in an environment which gives them no choices, no opportunities, and no chance to make a better life for themselves..." and that's simply not true. Yes, a bad or non-existent family can make your outlook grim, poverty can limit your resources and opportunities, your environment can limit vision but there are too many examples of success in rising above these things to suggest there's "no chance to make a better life..."

We shouldn't forget there are many youth staying away from the destruction and rioting who have the same miserable living conditions as the looters - did they make a choice? Or has every single disavantaged youth in London gone home with a new iPod and hoody in the last three days?

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Curiosity killed ...

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Alfred, schools do work very hard to teach children different ways to behave - a regular conversation at primary school age is "that may be what you do at home, but what you do in school is ..." because otherwise you're telling youngsters what they learn at home and spend the vast majority of their lives living through is wrong and a lot of kids can't deal with that. They have to grow up enough to work that one out for themselves, and often have to stop living in a situation where their old home ways are reinforced physically at the end of a belt or whatever. But if there is no relationship with the school, lots of truancy, peer pressure to reinforce lawlessness, it's very difficult to change attitudes.

We've taken generations to build this underclass. We're not going to change it immediately, it's going to take a long time to change it back. As someone who works with kids in these situations, you'd go mad if you thought you were going to fix it immediately, you can only continue hoping to sow seeds of change and nurture and small growths.

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Alfred E. Neuman

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# 6855

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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
...We've taken generations to build this underclass. We're not going to change it immediately, it's going to take a long time to change it back.

Unfortunately, we've always had an underclass and probably always will - but the mean level of misery is always improving over time. Can anyone say the disadvantaged youth of the 21st century London are worse off than, say, the 17th?

Not that it's an excuse for giving up on further improvement. All I'm suggesting is we keep things in perspective.

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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I haven't followed the events in depth, but have heard the headlines.

ISTM that the shooting by police was the trigger. We've had assorted "cops shoot black or homeless man under iffy circumstances" incidents here (SF Bay Area), over the last few years. There were riots when unarmed Oscar Grant was shot by a transit cop, who supposedly thought he was pulling out his taser instead of his gun. When a knife-wielding, possibly mentally-ill, man was shot in another BART subway station, a couple of months back, protesters stopped the trains--during commute hours.

And then there were riots and looting here after the Rodney King verdict.

And IIRC we had a WTO riot here, too, with store-smashing anarchists.

I don't condone violent protests (especially not the self-proclaimed anarchists who mess up peaceful protests). But pressures build up. If the root situations aren't improved, then the pressures will blow up.

I don't know what it's like to be a person of color. I do know that they're often treated miserably, and have to live with being targeted for DWB ("driving while black or brown). And, despite some progress, that never seems to end. Look at all the people who don't accept Barack Obama as president.

I think that, sometimes, people really can't do much--or anything--to better their situation. I know what it's like to be stuck with a very bad streak of luck for a very long time, try all sorts of things to improve the situation, and be met with obstacle after obstacle after obstacle. And as to welfare, unemployment insurance, etc., in the US those can be very hard to get, and even harder to keep.

So if one strand of the London rioting is utter fury at bad situations, I can relate to some of that.

The violence is wrong, both ethically and tactically. At least, wrong tactically in the short run. Sometimes, it does work in the middle run. Powers are toppled, concessions are made, etc. But it falls apart again in the long run.

Anyway, I hope that the rioters chill out *soon*.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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tomsk
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# 15370

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Yes. There's always been an underclass. Here's what Charles Booth says about the lowest class (vicious semi-criminal) in 1889. In relation to his Poverty Map of London.

"The lowest class which consists of some occasional labourers, street sellers, loafers, criminals and semi-criminals. Their life is the life of savages, with vicissitudes of extreme hardship and their only luxury is drink"

The underclass, or the conditions giving rise to it, is probably left to fester. It's only when it breaks into the open that much notice is taken. As Aumbry said upthread, the social problems aren't addressed, perhaps because we're too comfortable and it's too difficult.

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Trisagion
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# 5235

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quote:
Originally posted by Shadowhund:
It's too bad that the London rioters aren't all pedophile Catholic priests. Then we would spared all of the left-liberal handwringing about how we have step in the shoes of the maurauding thieves and feeeeel their pain, all the while blaming "society" for their abject deprivatiion resulting from their lacking of the latest consumer electronics and trendy trackwear, as opposed to food and water.

Whilst I share your detestation of the hand-wringers, I think your comparison with 'pedophile Catholic priests' is crass in the extreme.

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ceterum autem censeo tabula delenda esse

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