Riding the Tiger

The London riots, following on frequent Greek, French, and other European riots, would be immediately recognizable to even a Roman emperor.  For decades, politicians have ridden a populist wave to office, fueled by promises of more free government stuff to favored constituencies.  The mob serves whoever bids higher for its services, but always its expectations are that the each year's bid will be higher than the last.  But eventually the money runs out, and the bids can't be increased, or even maintained.  And the mob (or the army, or whatever group whose services are required to stay in power) then turns on those who thought they controlled it.  And politicians have no one to blame but themselves, for they were the ones who trained the populace in the first place that their power in a democratic government should be used to extract goodies from the minority.

  • Sorry, you're wrong-- the riots in Greece, London, the Middle East, et al are all the fault of the Tea party, and that true because Caligula said so.

  • steve

    "And politicians have no one to blame but themselves"

    I am quite sure they will be able to think of someone else to blame. In extremis, the politicians resort to war.

  • Emil

    "promises of more free government stuff to favored constituencies"

    What favored constituencies ? This is not about charity, but about traps set for individuals and governments.

    The minimum wage in UK is the equivalent of more than 1000 Euro. The "favored constituencies" are forbidden from finding legal work (young + useless formal education + no work experience or marketable skills + high minimum wage = long term unemployment), then given a meager "income support" as a compensation. If I were in their position I would have revolted too, sooner and harder.

    The Greeks were forced to decimate their agriculture when entering EU, subjected to the same "quality" rules that made their industrial production indistinguishable from what other Europeans produced, then offered the "EU" help as a compensation, except the free EU money were not free at all: money could be gotten under very restrictive conditions, and most of them were given for feel-good projects, projects had to be co-financed, which means they had to loan money to be able to get "free money" from EU. All the countries that received substantial help from UE are now close to bankruptcy. UK is not in the same boat with Greece only because they managed to negotiate a discount on their tribute to EU in exchange for not receiving so much "free money", and the former Warsaw Pact countries are still floating because for them getting those money is a lot more difficult and it takes a much longer time (about 3 years from starting the paperwork to getting the first installment), and except for Hungary none managed to get many of their "free money" ... and Hungary is almost bankrupt, too.

  • Ted Rado

    Politicians have been buying the vote with public money since the dawn of time, so what else is new? All Obama has done is carry it to a much higher level.

  • chuck martel

    Some media reports described the situation as "anarchy". It ain't. There's boxcars full of government in the UK, it's just bad government. The criminal element, observant of the use of cyber communication in the probably criminal chaos in Iran, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Egypt etc. is using it to advantage in Britain, too. Organizing "flash mobs" by Tweets and texting, sending juveniles in to do the looting, and monitoring the police is made easy by smart phones. While this may all appear disorganized and unstructured, be confident that there are individuals and groups attempting to take advantage of the situation. And governments all over the world are watching closely, getting ready to impose restrictions on electronic communication.

  • Dan

    THE REAL PROBLEM WITH OUR GOVERNMENTAL SYSTEM

    Home - by BigFurHat - August 12, 2011 - 21:35 America/New_York - 17 Comments
    via DOC

    The folks who are getting free shit,
    Don’t like the folks who are paying for the free shit,
    Because the folks who are paying for the free shit,
    Can no longer afford to pay for both the free shit and their own shit.

    And, The folks who are paying for the free shit,
    Want the free shit to stop.
    And the folks who are getting the free shit,
    Want even MORE free shit on top of the free shit they’re getting already!

    Now….. The people who are forcing people to PAY for the free shit,
    Have told the people who are RECEIVING the free shit,
    That the people who are PAYING for the free shit,
    Are being mean, prejudiced and racist.

    So …. the people who are GETTING the free shit,
    Have been convinced they need to HATE the people who are PAYING for the
    free shit because they are selfish. And they are promised more free shit if they will vote for
    the people who force the people who pay for the free shit to give them even more free shit.

    And – - – - – that’s the Straight Shit!

  • Ted Rado

    The economic damage can be repaired. If need be, we can all get minimum wage jobs. The social damage is what is worrying. Several generations have been taught that everything is a freebie, and that study, hard work, and saving for the future are unnecessary. Instant gratification with no downside consequences is the order of the day.

    Imagine if you bought your wife diamonds, furs, expensive cars, and trips to Paris, and all of a sudden told her you were moving into a one room apartment and eating day-old bread. You would have a divorce or throat cutting..

    I have no idea how to reverse this psychology, but we better do it soon or we will become a has-been nation. An obvious approach would be to slam the door on USG goodies, but that would no doubt start a revolution. It might just work if accompanied by a corresponding tax cut.

  • Craig

    This is what Ann Coulter discusses in her latest book. Liberals do not think anyone deserves blame here; these mobs are a natural result of liberalism. Democrats rely on mobs (see Wisconsin teachers or whatever mob Al Sharpton is in front of) to keep them in power.