The Mollycoddled Mob

Never mind the looters, what about the ‘fascists’? | Brendan O’Neill | spiked

And so it has been this week, which kicked off with reckless rioting by multi-ethnic yoof in inner-city patches, yet which ended, bizarrely but at the same time predictably, with an orgy of elite handwringing about those non-rioting white working classes who haunt London’s suburbs. That some of ‘these people’ dared to patrol their streets, to set up miniature citizen armies to see off the chancers and tricksters of the looting lobby, has been treated as the No.1 threat now facing Britain. They are a ‘white mob’, we are told, who could precipitate a ‘race war’. According to the deputy mayor of London, Kit Malthouse, their community-protection antics are ‘deeply undesirable’. Come on Kit, you can say it: you think these people are ‘undesirables’.

This riotous week has confirmed that the great and the good of Great Britain don’t have much in the way of a shared morality anymore. At the start of the week, the political class, cops and Fourth Estate all proffered various explanations for the youthful violence, often pointing the finger of blame at each other in a moral stand-off not dissimilar to the final scene in Reservoir Dogs. Yet by Friday they were tentatively re-linking arms around the one thing they agree on: that there is nothing scarier – nothing – than the sight of 100+ white blokes on the streets, shouting things in those gruff voices they have. You may have looked at the groups of men in Enfield and Eltham and seen working people keen to protect their homes and shops, but the upper echelons of society, through their snob-goggles, saw the emergence of an English version of the Third Reich – they saw ‘race hate’ and ‘fascists patrolling the streets’.

“Police work” is primarily a political activity.

The riots have confirmed, once more, the gaping chasm between Britain’s elites and its white working-class natives. In the eyes of our betters and rulers, these whites are the true aliens.

Who is the constituency? The one that is being patronized, not the one being demonized.

Where some happy-clappy Christians live their lives through the question ‘What Would Jesus Do?’, Britain’s great and good seem to organise their morality and security around the question ‘What Will The White Working Classes Do?’, treating this blob of people as a pogrom-in-the-making who could be provoked into fascistic fury any minute now.

Ironically enough, in the US we hear the same warnings from both the Frantic Left and the Galtista Right. They both want to play up the threat of Angry White Men With Guns Who Hate The Librul Gubmint. But whereas the Democrats want to antagonize these scary folks, the Republicans want to bribe them. “Go John Galt . . . Go get your pork-barrel defense contracts and farm subsidies! Go get your Hummer tax credits! Go get your megachurch tax writeoffs! Go get your Medicare benefits! That’ll show them libruls!”

The phony protests of the “Tea Party” and the manipulative rhetoric of Fox News are ridiculously insincere and worthless when considered in the light of what “conservative” politicians actually accomplish. To be clear, I have no problem with stolid Midwestern conservatism. I would rather live in that culture than in a putrid, decadent, liberal East Coast or West Coast community. Interestingly, this “British neo-marxist” has the same view:

So this peculiar week has ended with the peculiar situation where some in the liberal elite are expressing sympathy for the rioting youth, while simultaneously spitting bile at ‘white mobs’. Why? In essence, the cultural elite feels a closer affinity with the moral-lite rioters because, largely through the welfare state, it has some influence on those people’s lives and outlooks. In areas where welfarism is entrenched, the elites have some leeway to influence morality, to push parenting in a certain direction, to import their own decadent, relativistic values and spread them among the poor. It has no such purchase, or certainly less purchase, in more productive, self-sufficient working-class areas, where people are less reliant on the state and more reliant on each other, and where they have their own traditions and values thank you very much (which, yes, sometimes includes ‘chanting England’). The elites’ failure to colonise fully these white working-class areas makes them view such areas as strange, unknowable, full of people with rough hands and a weird penchant for post-work pints of beer. Indeed, the thing that most unites the lumpenproletariat and the decadent bourgeoisie is a fundamental disdain for the ‘labouring nation’, for people who work for a living and who try their best to govern their own lives. How dare they live outside of the moral universe created by the chattering classes? What is wrong with them? They must be fascists.

London’s burning: a mob made by the welfare state | Brendan O’Neill | spiked

Painting these riots as some kind of action replay of historic political streetfights against capitalist bosses or racist cops might allow armchair radicals to get their intellectual rocks off, as they lift their noses from dusty tomes about the Levellers or the Suffragettes and fantasise that a political upheaval of equal worth is now occurring outside their windows. But such shameless projection misses what is new and peculiar and deeply worrying about these riots. The political context is not the cuts agenda or racist policing – it is the welfare state, which, it is now clear, has nurtured a new generation that has absolutely no sense of community spirit or social solidarity.

What we have on the streets of London and elsewhere are welfare-state mobs. The youth who are ‘rising up’ – actually they are simply shattering their own communities – represent a generation that has been more suckled by the state than any generation before it. They live in those urban territories where the sharp-elbowed intrusion of the welfare state over the past 30 years has pushed aside older ideals of self-reliance and community spirit. The march of the welfare state into every aspect of less well-off urban people’s existences, from their financial wellbeing to their childrearing habits and even into their emotional lives, with the rise of therapeutic welfarism designed to ensure that the poor remain ‘mentally fit’, has helped to undermine such things as individual resourcefulness and social bonding. The anti-social youthful rioters look to me like the end product of such an anti-social system of state intervention.

The most striking thing about the rioters is how little they seem to care for their own communities. You don’t have to be a right-winger with helmet hair and a niggling discomfort with black or chavvy yoof (I am the opposite of that) to recognise that this violence is not political, just criminal.

This, in fact, is identical to my view of the “Tea Party”:

This is not a political rebellion; it is a mollycoddled mob, a riotous expression of carelessness for one’s own community.


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