The flash mobs in America or the Blackberry mobs in London have one thing in common. It isn't race, though they tend to predominantly be minorities. It's identity.
These are the children of the welfare state with little in common except a rejection of the commercial way of life. Neither the entitled white university brat or the posturing ghetto teenager has any interest in working. The businesses they smash are an alien thing to them. Small businessmen do not go about smashing stores. The people who do think of commodities as something they trick or intimidate others into giving to them. And that covers everyone from municipal unions to thugs driving around BMW's.
Rand's looters take on a more literal meaning in Tottenham. Smashing store windows and grabbing what's inside is only the protest for more government handouts taken directly to the businesses who fund it without the bother of a government middle man.
This lawless materialism is the essence of the welfare state. "Loot as much as you can, or someone else will."
If you don't grab government benefits or sneakers in store windows,
someone else will. The rich are grabbing, the pols are grabbing-- time
to queue up and loot your share. Communism made this way of thinking so commonplace that all of Russia became one black market. And we are not far behind.
What kind of people behave this way? Those who have come to think of wealth as an infinite pile from which everyone grabs as much as they can. This is where the ethos of the socialist left and hip-hop comes together. Obama gleefully spending millions on himself and trillions on national giveaways for his donors and supporters is the most obnoxious fusion of this phenomenon.
Technological savvy melded with barbaric behavior, the 21st century mobile devotee turned raider is a wake up call in more ways than one. These are not mere race riots, they are the self-organization of the end of our civilization.
The classic raid has come to the cities of West, its hallmarks are not frustration but careful planning, followed by a violent rush. The raids may have a profit motive, but often they are there only to terrify. Mostly there is no larger political agenda, only the emergence of an old way of life that most people think died with the Vikings.
The law banished the raider back into the dim pages of history, but law depended on a civilization which is now collapsing. Police officers alone won't be enough to stem the ride. Law enforcement depends on the fear of the average person to step out of line and break the law. The lone criminal pits himself against the well-oiled machine of the police and the federal authorities. But when gangs defy the authorities, then it's the beginning of a civil war.
An understated civil war is already raging in Europe, between Muslim and African immigrants and the society they have penetrated. The conflict has made a mockery of the social controls of Europe. Put surveillance cameras on every street, and we'll don masks and turn out in numbers. Run your DNA banks and see how much luck you have when entire streets are burning. Outlaw knives and we'll bring our Molotov cocktails.
The situation is worse in the UK, where middle class brats and African youth are equally furious at Cameron's cuts, and eager for the looting to resume. The shooting of a criminal is a common signal to riot, but not out of outrage, but opportunity. Political outrage always transmutes into loot. The looters are not bothering to wait until some commission suggests directing more money to social programs. Their looting is more direct and more immediate. For a gratification as instant as the tech that they use to organize their banditry.
Divestment is the common denominator. Neither the middle-class white or lower-class black rioter is invested in his society. The white rioter is a globalist, the black rioter is an outsider. Neither are invested in the city and country they are busy trashing.
The traditional raider saw himself as part of an outside group. The modern raider has global identities that are at odds with the country he lives in. He may see himself as a citizen of the world, a member of the Muslim Ummah, as black or a Marxist or any number of other wider identities. And these identities are more primal than being an Englishman or an American. When he joins a raiding party, it is as a member of one of those groups looting a society whose welfare is of no interest to him.
Civilization depends on a consensus. The fundamental base of that consensus is that the civilization is a worthwhile thing which must endure. We follow the law not only because the law is right, but even when it is wrong, because law is the safeguard of civilization. But why should people who do not value the civilization follow the law?
The left's motives for rebelling are different than those of minority looters. But the end result is similar enough. A disregard for the civilization becomes a disregard for its laws. And that leaves self-interest as the only hedge against anarchy. But what interest do people who do not work for a living have in preserving the businesses of others? None at all. As far as they are concerned, smash a store, it will collect the insurance, and reopen, or another will open up in its place. And even if it doesn't, then so what? It's not "our businesses" anyway.
Small business is the backbone of human freedom. The small businessman is able to negotiate commercial arrangements with individuals and groups outside the dominance of larger authority. But small business is on the decline. The corner store is likely to be run by outsiders, in Detroit as in London. And around it are chain stores, franchised or not, that are primary targets of looters. Loot them enough and all that's left is a hopelessly unrecoverable ghetto.
The bigger the institutions get, the more they are cut off from the street, and the more fragmented the society becomes. Nations become giants unable to see or fend off the gnomes hammering at their feet. And their corrective solutions inevitably lean toward more social gigantism. Violence rewarded often enough becomes a habitual tool of politics until the looter matters more than the ballot box. When the authorities show that they will reward violence with social benefits, the welfare state will grow fangs.
That process was aborted in the United States, but it is still commonplace in Europe, which has not learned the American lesson that the worst way to respond to riots is with bribery. America put an end to the riot by cutting welfare benefits and bulking up police forces. The modern NYPD and LAPD may be ugly creatures, at times downright vicious, but they are far more useful than their metropolitan police counterparts. And the black entrepreneur is a far more common figure today than the rioter.
Of course the underlying problem cannot be solved with better police forces or economic growth, only temporarily suppressed. The underlying tensions are cultural, ideological, racial and religious. The university student taught that his civilization is an illegitimate construct employed for the benefit of a few that deserves to be torn down will retain the same mindset whether he is looting an electronics shop or teaching at a school. And that mindset is contagious.
The commercial tribalism of the rapper who conflates casual violence and criminality with honor follows a pattern of glorifying crime that predates and postdates race, its ubiquity dating back centuries, from the highwayman to the 1920's bank robber, and is almost as socially disruptive and even more contagious.
The narrative is the same. Its idealism and honor covers up the blatant materialism and greed that its lawbreaking enables. And the message is also the same. Civilization's end.
The return of the raider as an instant message enabled gang is a phenomenon at odds with progress. It is a warning that darker times are returning, that while everyone may pack phones that have more processing power in one inch than a room of computers did 30 years ago, the march of progress is moving backward. Civilization isn't over yet, but it is badly endangered. It has become an undefined thing held in largely in contempt. It is a structure that everyone takes for granted, but few respect.
It has been a long time since Vikings raided English shores, but the new Vikings don't need to take boats to get there. The barbarians in our civilization are already among us. They are already here.