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Archive for August, 2011

One summer in the 1980s I traveled through Britain after one of the most devastating waves of riots of that time. From Brixton in London to Toxteth in Liverpool; from Moss Side in Manchester to the streets of Leeds, Birmingham and Sheffield; rioters took over the streets, set fire to their neighbors’ cars, looted their neighbors’ shops, vandalized their neighborhood health clinics, pharmacies, community centers…

I was amazed by how Britain handled the riots back then. Margret Thatcher, notoriously referred to as the Iron Lady, told the police to take off the gloves and fight back. She also brought in crowd control tactics and equipment from Northern Ireland and loosened restrictions on what police could do in order to keep the streets safe and calm. The result: the riots subsided, riot leaders were arrested and prosecuted – and Britain returned to a normal life.

The current riots in Britain bear many resemblances to the riots of the ‘80s. But there is one disturbing difference: there is increasing evidence that today’s riots are driven by more vicious political ideologies than the “Anarchy in the U.K” of the Thatcher era. A report in the British newspaper Daily Mail, and other stories quoted by the Swedish website Politiskt Inkorrekt [Politically Incorrect], indicates that racism has become an active force in this destructive social unrest.

Blacks are reported targeting whites for beatings and robberies. There are also bits and pieces of news that blacks are attacking businesses owned by other ethnic groups. In a Kurdish-dominated neighborhood shop owners and their families form human chains to protect their businesses from the anti-social crowds.

It remains to be seen how widespread this racial violence is. But the very fact that mainstream British media is reporting about it shows that the problem is widespread; the normal practice of politically correct news outlets is that they ignore destructive practices by ethnic and racial minorities until those practices are basically on their doorsteps. In other words: we have good reasons to believe that Britain is currently experiencing the largest wave of racial riots in recent memory. And contrary to what the elites in politics, media and academia would have predicted, the racial hatred is not driven by whites.

The possibility of a significant racial motivator behind the British riots is all the more disturbing in view of the riots that have plagued French, Belgian, Danish and Swedish cities in recent years. Ethnic non-Europeans target institutions and people who represent the European society that once welcomed them as immigrants.

To the extent that the social elite – politicians, media executives and academic talking heads – acknowledge the presence of racism in some of the riots, they try to explain it away as the result of white oppression of non-white immigrants. Their only evidence is typically the fact that unemployment is higher among non-European immigrants than among ethnic Europeans.

It is of course ludicrous to explain racially driven riots with unemployment. If unemployment caused riots, then ethnic Swedes should be rioting day and night. Sweden has the highest youth unemployment rate in the industrialized world, and its actual total unemployment is also among the highest. But ethnic Swedes are not rioting – the ones rioting in Sweden are the ethnic minorities in run-down, government-owned housing projects around the big cities.

But even though race and ethnicity are driving forces behind many riots, they do not capture the underlying motivator. As the aforementioned Daily Mail report makes clear, some non-European immigrants take to the streets to defend their property in the midst of violent social chaos. Similar scenes could be seen in the riots in Los Angeles in 1992: Korean immigrants defended their properties – their small businesses – with guns and baseball bats as black rioters sought them out as targets. (Racial tensions between blacks and Asians here in America are unfortunately still brewing.) News reports from Sweden have captured immigrants of Mid-East origin chasing away rioters from some housing projects in the city of Malmo.

The underlying motivator of Europe’s riots is a clash between two cultures: the culture of self reliance and the culture of smart survival. Many immigrants to Europe over the past couple of decades come from countries that are among the poorest on Earth. Especially the inflow of Somalis has put this culture clash on the spot: as one Swedish politician put it, many of the Somali immigrants come from such a deplorably poor background that they do not even know how to use a toilet. This may or may not be factually correct; the point he was trying to make is that there is a Gargantuan gap between the values, experiences and expectations of immigrants from very, very poor corners of the world, and the values, experiences and expectations of the European culture.

People from very poor countries, without a functioning market economy and without a functioning political structure, grow accustomed to “smart survival”. The goal of the day becomes to not have to work for your survival, to find ways to feed your family without having to put in hard work. This does not mean that immigrants from Somalia or any other extremely poor country shun hard work – but what it means is that so long as you associate hard labor with mere survival, you will do everything you can to avoid it.

A European, by contrast, has been raised to believe that hard work can reward you with a better lifestyle, with a higher standard of living and with the opportunity to give your children an even better start in life than you got. The heavy weight of government on the private sector has slowly eroded Europe’s opportunity society, but the old cultural notion of self reliance is still prevalent.

The welfare state becomes the flash point where these two cultures meet – and clash. Europeans are brought up to understand that the welfare state can only survive if people work and pay taxes into it. Immigrants form a smart-survival culture, on the other hand, see only the output side of the equation: their view of the welfare state is that it provides them with work-free survival (and more). In theory, no one is going to force them to work and contribute to the welfare systems they live off.

Over the past couple of decades, Europe’s welfare state has declined. This is the inevitable result of putting such a heavy burden on taxpayers and the productive sector of the economy. Austerity has become the governing norm of the welfare state, with cuts in entitlements and harsher enrollment requirements for benefits programs. At the same time, taxes remain high or have grown even higher, depriving the self-reliance believers of opportunities to advance their own lives and provide for their families.

Inevitably, a tension builds. Based on the scenes from Europe’s streets over the past few years, and on what is happening right now in Britain, it seems as though non-European immigrants, whose entitlement lifestyle has been shaped by the welfare state, have struck first. My hypothesis: they are lashing out against a society that has promised to feed them for free, but which has slowly begun asking them to become contributors to, not just takers from, the welfare state.

I welcome anyone who can prove me wrong. If I am right, though, there is only one sustainable solution to the European riots: to dismantle the welfare state and thus put an end to entitlement-driven immigration.

Migration based on self-determination and self-reliance is an indispensable part of a free world. It preserves the legacy of our civilization, contributes to the evolution of our society and helps build prosperity for all of us.

By contrast, the combination of a welfare state and migration based on the pursuit of entitlements is a force destructive enough to kill Western Civilization.

Europe is at a crossroads. The choice is as alarmingly clear as the riots in London: liberty and prosperity for all, or equality and poverty for all.

Take your pick.

by S R Larson, Ph D

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