Only yesterday I premised that an obvious distinction between the London looters and Madrid missionaries was traditional, religious education and rearing. NLT's ever-faithful Cowgirl brought to my attention Walter Russell Mead's excellent article on the dwindling religiosity of the poor and uneducated (which would aptly describe the lot in London) and the comparative rise in faithfulness among the rich (many of whom undoubtedly flew into Madrid for their celebration with the Holy Father). I believe that I wrote on this same theme some time ago, but these trends - and the dire consequences - seem obvious to a casual observer of moderate intellect and powers of perception.
Enter the liberal discontents and their airs of smug superiority, lacking both knowledge and prudence. They have discovered the true devil beneath the shallow culprits fingered by "dumb moralisers" such as myself.
Margaret Thatcher is the reason for London's riots.
Pankaj Mishra writes: "London's rioters are Thatcher's grandchildren." Polly Toynbee's Guardian article ridicules that "small-staters blame the collapse of moral values, school indiscipline and feral beasts without fathers or consciences." She sees beneath the veil: "Grab what you can, winner takes all, no wealth is ever too much, this neoliberal amoral creed has reigned unquestioned since Margaret Thatcher."
What exactly do they mean? "Neoliberalism," explains Brendan O'Neill.
This claim, the outrage-heavy but evidence-lite argument that the rioting is a product of the unleashing of market forces into every area of life, captures what the term 'neoliberalism' represents in modern public debate: not a serious attempt to analyse or describe events, but an expression of political exasperation, a borderline childish belief that a bogeyman, in a Thatcher mask, is responsible for every terrible thing that happens. The screech of 'neoliberalism!' is meant to sound assertive, radical even, but really it speaks to an extraordinary intellectual passivity and unwillingness to face up to the true forces laying waste to British communities.
So the same liberal social engineers who cringe at the sound of words like "moral," "good," "evil," "religion," "God" and the like - preferring "diversity," "multi-cultural," "faith-tradition," "values," "relativism" and so on - are now claiming that the decay in public virtue is not the result of having banished virtues from the public, but rather the economic policies of free-markets advanced by Hayek and Friedman in response to the failures of Keynes' quaint socialism.
Politics is full of absurdities like this. Sometimes just making the claim that your opponent is responsible for your own most egregious fault is an effective tactic. The truth is so obvious to rationale observers that it seems ludicrous to mount a defense. But these attacks aren't aimed at the rationale - they target the ignorant and gullible.
During John Kerry's run for the presidency, Democrats identified themselves as the "Catholic party" and insisted that their platform was the most consistent with Catholic social teaching. Partial-birth abortion advocates accuse pro-life prayer groups of condoning violence. Obama repeatedly promised that Obamacare and stimulus spending would reduce the deficit - whereas the Republicans secretly wanted deficit spending. And, of course, liberals call conservatives "terrorists" while admonishing them as the party of heated rhetoric.
The use of such elusive academic-sounding terminology as "neoliberalism" is also purposeful. Few people would go along with the claim that a lack of government interference in private business is the reason young people do drugs and commit violent crimes - and even fewer would agree that Eastern European / Latin American socialism is the solution to this generational decay. So, capitalism becomes the unintelligible "neoliberalism" and socialism becomes "social democracy."
This is a common trend among liberals - who themselves have now evolved out of their "liberal" cocoons and emerged as "progressives." For the party of "No Labels," liberals seem to have no shortage of appellatives to cast about. Christians have pretty much been calling themselves the same thing since Rome and the Middle Ages - there's a valuable lesson in conservation there.
Leftists who liken themselves "academics" will never admit the banal truth observable by the unwashed masses. Truth, in the minds of these modern-day Gnostics, is their enlightened reserve. And like Tertullian, they believe it because it is absurd - only their object is not unfathomable divinity, but their own self-righteous conceit.