If you live in the UK, you won’t need to be told that over the last few days some crazy riots have been breaking out first in London and then spreading like wildfire across the nation. This bizarre phenomenon, to helpless morally-centered social analysts like me (that’s a rather grand title), is indicative of an inherent brokenness in a generation that has been abandoned by the last, which chose independence and individual rights and individual choice (the masks of selfishness) over love and family order and faithfulness, the things that originally caused a society like ours to be built in the first place. I’m going to say it outright: fatherlessness is a serious issue (not a dig at single-mum families, but at men who think they can do what they like!). Guys need their proper role models back!
On the surface of it, of course, there might be other reasons for this kind of thuggery. Poverty is rife as always in our nation. A government which purported to bring us ‘prosperity’ (Labour) left us in undoubtedly the stickiest fiscal situation we have seen in a long time (though the 20th century demonstrates a considerable pattern of crashes, depressions, crunches and debt, giving me little cause for confidence in the relatively young machinery of capitalism), and the ensuing debt crisis has left a sour taste in many mouths, and perhaps an impression in some of these criminal minds that it’s never going to get better for them. Combine poverty with a society littered with strong advertisements telling you what you don’t have but must definitely get, and it’s no wonder that these criminals think they should have the 42″ widescreen TV, even if they have to steal it.
Gang culture of course, which is at the hub of most of the rioting, naturally fosters a kind of rebellion. You might even have some kids in there from slightly more stable homes but if they unwittingly get drafted in they can still inherit the kind of spirit that hangs around in that atmosphere.
So, some of the questions that I feel most need asking:
How can society encourage good parenting? Why on earth is there not more of an emphasis and focus on this important societal role?
How can more jobs be found for the unemployed youth be created? How can employers be encouraged to give them opportunities? Even the basic sense of worth that comes from a simple job could make all the difference!
How can youth organisations be further empowered to target and begin to disseminate and discourage gang culture?
Some of these are huge questions but in my view they are some that fundamentally need addressing. Of course, this will probably just remain my humble opinion floating in the blogosphere, but I hope that at least some of these things will be more widely recognised and will become the focus of our government and of society in general.