Britain’s Warning for America
One does not have to be a particularly astute connector of socio-political dots to watch the recent rioting that has gripped London and find parallels to America’s enfeebled welfare state. That makes the following bravura passage from Theodore Dalrymple at City Journal all the more disquieting:
The riots are the apotheosis of the welfare state and popular culture in their British form. A population thinks (because it has often been told so by intellectuals and the political class) that it is entitled to a high standard of consumption, irrespective of its personal efforts; and therefore it regards the fact that it does not receive that high standard, by comparison with the rest of society, as a sign of injustice. It believes itself deprived (because it has often been told so by intellectuals and the political class), even though each member of it has received an education costing $80,000, toward which neither he nor—quite likely—any member of his family has made much of a contribution; indeed, he may well have lived his entire life at others’ expense, such that every mouthful of food he has ever eaten, every shirt he has ever worn, every television he has ever watched, has been provided by others. Even if he were to recognize this, he would not be grateful, for dependency does not promote gratitude. On the contrary, he would simply feel that the subventions were not sufficient to allow him to live as he would have liked.
A challenge for readers: remove the first sentence from the above passage. Then see if you can find anything that doesn’t apply to modern-day America. It could happen here.