Why Are There Not More Riots?

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C.S. Lewis, in his prophetic The Abolition of Man (1943):

And all the time—such is the tragi-comedy of our situation—we continue to clamour for these very qualities we are rendering impossible.  You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive’, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity’.  In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function.  We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise.  We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.  We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

Brad Green comments:

. . . A culture—the UK or otherwise—cannot generation after generation laugh at honour and virtue and then be surprised that a culture has produced people who have no interest in honor or virtue.  The most foundational question is not, “what caused these riots?”, but rather, “why are there not more riots?”  That is, a culture that systematically and repeatedly and thoroughly laughs at virute and honor should not be surprised when they look up to see traitors in their midst.  We cannot make “men without chests” and then be surprised to see them face-to-face.  May God help the UK, and all of us.

See also Theodore Dalrymple’s comments in The Spectactor:

I doubt there are many people who have never in their lives experienced the pleasure of inflicting some kind of pain on others, physical or mental, from sheer malice and delight in doing so. It is an urge that we overcome first by effort and then by habit.

It is one of the tasks of civilisation to tame our inherent savagery. But who, contemplating contemporary British culture, would recognise in it any civilising influence, or rather fail to recognise its opposite? It is a constant call to and celebration of degradation, not only physical but spiritual and emotional. A culture in which Amy Winehouse, with her militant vulgarity and self-indulgent stupidity, combined with a very minor talent, could be so extravagantly admired and feted, is not one to put up strong barriers against our baser instincts, desires and urges. On the contrary, that culture has long been a celebration of those very urges. He who pays the savage never gets rid of the savagery; and this is only the beginning.

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