David Cameron – on rioting in London

“The root cause of this mindless selfishness is..a complete lack of responsibility in parts of our society, people allowed to feel that the world owes them something, that their rights outweigh their responsibilities, and their actions do not have consequences. Well they do have consequences. We need to have a clearer code of values and standards that we expect people to live by and stronger penalties if they cross the line.”

David Cameron, the prime minister in Britain, is a conservative. Interestingly though, I tend to agree with him. The problem, however, is that we only apply this kind of moral outrage to the lower classes, to gangs that form in poverty or to societal unrest that results from things like unemployment. When those who are low on the food chain misbehave, it’s easy to talk tough.

I’d like to see this applied across the board, in particular to those whose “mindless selfishness” caused the housing crisis which triggered a great recession. There is a large segment of our Western capitalist society, those at the top of the food chain, who are “allowed to feel that the world owes them something,” that is, that they are allowed to make personal profit their top priority in life. This right to make money “outweighs their responsibilities,” their responsibilities, for example, to pay in a bit more taxes into an economy in the middle of a recession caused by their own pursuit of profit. Unfortunately, we have a wealthy elitist class system that allows the wealthy to pursue profit as a right, but they have no responsibilities to the society that gave them this right.

I’m not in favor of violence, nor am I in favor of violent rhetoric directed exclusively toward any class, be they the lower classes or the upper classes. I only feel it is appropriate to point out that the power structure comes down hard on the lower classes when they step out of line and are violent and irresponsible, but when the wealthy display the same “mindless selfishness,” we use kid gloves. Sometimes we even use public funds for bail outs. So, I find the moral outrage of Cameron and others to be unconvincing.

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Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

4 thoughts on “David Cameron – on rioting in London”

  1. Good post. I couldn’t help but hear one guy ask on BBC news what the distinction was between a young hoodie pinching a TV and a Member of Parliament diddling his expense account, and what ultimately would happen to both.


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