Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Making sense of it

There seems to be a big division around the web. There are people who offer various explanations for the behaviour of the looters, and others who decry the attempt to understand or explain as excusing or even celebrating them.

I think it is acceptable, even essential, to think about the reasons behind what has happened this week. It can not be simply ascribed to either personal or universal evil, because things change over time. If we understand why things have changed, then we have more chance to change them differently.

Let me suggest an analogy. If a businessman refused to employ black people, we would condemn him, and yet we would also want to understand what caused his racism, so we could improve our society. It would not be enough to say 'Oh, he is evil', because that gives us nowhere else to go.

Among those who seek explanation, I have read two kinds. The explanation I favour is alienation, arising from consumerism, turning people into selfish units, and destroying the social contract by which everyone in society takes responsibility for our communal life. I believe it is the ruling elite who ultimately bear responsibility for making decisions motivated by their own greed which have degraded our society. I think those people are take, take, take, and never think of giving anything back. No wonder the weak and stupid emulate them.

Conservatives on the other hand say it is because our society is too soft, makes things too easy for the poor. That people have too much (too much hope, too much comfort, too much pleasure, whatever). I think that's barmy. I think only a person with no hope or pleasure could riot in that way.

Boris Johnson - and I find this incredible - says that poor people have too much sense of entitlement. Boris Johnson is like the embodiment of the Platonic ideal of too much sense of entitlement. His idea of a good night out, when he was young, was setting fire to restaurants. Jeepers.
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