Thursday, 25 August 2011

Riots and Responsibility

From the UK Telegraph
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.

One thing though: what kind of example is being set by many who are in the “Upper Class” these days? It used to be that there was some kind of noblesse oblige. Bankers were expected to be reputable and honest, with the exceptions few and far between, and (this is the important point) punished severely when found out. The same with financial institutions - engage in irresponsible financial shenanigans, and they go bankrupt.

Now MPs caught en flagrante delicto fiddling their expenses get light taps on the wrist, except in the most egregious cases. Financial institutions are “too big to fail”, their corruption rewarded by public bailouts. And in the US, the head of the IRS suffers no penalty for rorting the tax system, engaging in not just quasi-legal but blatantly illegal conduct, and gets let off.

“Laws are for the little people”.

The scum at the top., like the dregs at the bottom
“will behave badly just because they can, because no one is stopping them, or has ever inculcated in them the conscientious discipline that would make them stop themselves.”

They do this because they can, and because they know they will get away with it. And because everyone else is doing it too.
The indispensable tools of social stigma and moral judgment that communities used to have at their disposal for this purpose have been stripped away, and the result – the fearless defiance of helpless authority – is what we saw in its terrifying logical conclusion...

But enough about the bailout of the bankers, the "Friends of Angelo", the misuse of "sovereign immunity" that allows some police in the USA to get away with murder, and I do mean that literally.

Let's talk about the London Riots.

Except we have been doing. What's the damage, 5 lives lost? Perhaps half a billion dollars in property damage? Fear of chaos and lawlessness in the community?

That's small beer against the cost of the financial malfeasance and misfeasance that has put the world economy on the skids. But it's the same thing at a local, rather than global, level. And we can no longer go about things the same old way.


Anonymous said...

"“Laws are for the little people”.
No laws are for people with no morals, ethics, that do not have responceability to society.


Chris Phoenix said...

Like. Plus five insightful.

Lloyd Flack said...

The down side of anti-autoritarianism perhaps? Perhaps respect for authority and sense of responsibilty on the part of those in authority are tied together. Attack one and you undermine the other.

Anonymous said...

If people had morals and ethics you would not need authority.