Tag Archives: Rioting

Michael Coren: four reasons for St. Patrick’s Day rioting in Canada

Brian Lilley posted this column by Michael Coren on his Lilley Pad blog. The topic is the recent riots by youths in London, Ontario and Toronto, Ontario.


Two incidents last weekend said more about Canada, and the west, than any number of political scandals.

In London, Ont., there was violence and rioting, the ostensible cause being St. Patrick’s Day. In Toronto’s middle-class High Park, a highly expensive and enormously popular children’s playground was burned to the ground.

What is important is less the violence than the area and the perpetrators. Just as with hockey riots in Vancouver or demonstrations in Montreal, these were prosperous areas with little if any genuine social deprivation, and the criminals in London were overwhelmingly white, privileged and financially secure.

This is extraordinarily significant.

So if the youths were well off, why were they rioting?

Coren writes:

First, they are no longer frightened of the police. Spare me the idea that they shouldn’t be, and that the police are a service and not a force. It was, as so often, patrician liberals who decided a generation ago to transform the cops from tough but fair enforcers of the law into politically correct social workers, composed of sufficient women and minorities to make NDP candidates feel comfortable. Teens and students know the worst that will happen to them if they act like animals, is a stroke and a telling off.

Second, the conscious destruction of fatherhood. While not all of these rioters come from broken homes — yes, the term is most applicable — many of them have no strong, male figure to look to, and even when a father is present he is often emasculated. We have lionized the single mother and made the role of the dad who provides boundaries and consequences to actions a figure of fun, a dinosaur.

Third, we have tried to, and to an extent succeeded, in removing religion from the public square. Putting theology aside, faith provided structure and morality to individual lives, and a sense of community. If there is no right and wrong, there is no problem with smashing a police cruiser, or burning down a park that took so long and so much local effort to build. As for community, we have never used the term so much, and never had so little idea of what it really means.

Fourth, while leftist politicians and labour leaders will tell you how poor we all are, the truth is that we’ve never had it to so good. It’s easy being a Canadian, and simple being a young Canadian. Junk food and junk standards, student loans and student sloth, instant access and instant gratification. All this wrapped in the cheap paper of reality television, dumb media hosts affirming the worst attitudes of youth culture, and leaders too frightened and ambitious to tell the moaning masses to shut up and stop being so ungrateful.

Oprah, teddy bears at shrines, pretending to care when children are abducted and killed, state intervention replacing family concern, killing God and killing truth, believing only we matter, screaming that the world owes us a living. It’s not just High Park but Canada burning. Don’t fiddle while it happens.

Secularism is basically the detachment of moral standards from any overarching design for the universe that would include objective moral standards. Secularism is opposed to objective morality.

And the same thing happened in the UK in August of 2011. An article written by Max Hastings about those riots identified similar root causes. (H/T Mary, Dina)


An underclass has existed throughout history, which once endured appalling privation. Its spasmodic outbreaks of violence, especially in the early 19th century, frightened the ruling classes.

Its frustrations and passions were kept at bay by force and draconian legal sanctions, foremost among them capital punishment and transportation to the colonies.

Today, those at the bottom of society behave no better than their forebears, but the welfare state has relieved them from hunger and real want.

When social surveys speak of “deprivation” and “poverty”, this is entirely relative. Meanwhile, sanctions for wrongdoing have largely vanished.

[…]But it will not do for a moment to claim the rioters’ behaviour reflects deprived circumstances or police persecution.

Of course it is true that few have jobs, learn anything useful at school, live in decent homes, eat meals at regular hours or feel loyalty to anything beyond their local gang.

This is not, however, because they are victims of mistreatment or neglect.

It is because it is fantastically hard to help such people, young or old, without imposing a measure of compulsion which modern society finds unacceptable. These kids are what they are because nobody makes them be anything different or better.

A key factor in delinquency is lack of effective sanctions to deter it. From an early stage, feral children discover that they can bully fellow pupils at school, shout abuse at people in the streets, urinate outside pubs, hurl litter from car windows, play car radios at deafening volumes, and, indeed, commit casual assaults with only a negligible prospect of facing rebuke, far less retribution.

Anyone who reproaches a child, far less an adult, for discarding rubbish, making a racket, committing vandalism or driving unsociably will receive in return a torrent of obscenities, if not violence.

So who is to blame? The breakdown of families, the pernicious promotion of single motherhood as a desirable state, the decline of domestic life so that even shared meals are a rarity, have all contributed importantly to the condition of the young underclass.

The social engineering industry unites to claim that the conventional template of family life is no longer valid.

[…]This has ultimately been sanctioned by Parliament, which refuses to accept, for instance, that children are more likely to prosper with two parents than with one, and that the dependency culture is a tragedy for those who receive something for nothing.

The judiciary colludes with social services and infinitely ingenious lawyers to assert the primacy of the rights of the criminal and aggressor over those of law-abiding citizens, especially if a young offender is involved.

The police, in recent years, have developed a reputation for ignoring yobbery and bullying, or even for taking the yobs’ side against complainants.

“The problem,” said Bill Pitt, the former head of Manchester’s Nuisance Strategy Unit, “is that the law appears to be there to protect the rights of the perpetrator, and does not support the victim.”

Police regularly arrest householders who are deemed to have taken “disproportionate” action to protect themselves and their property from burglars or intruders. The message goes out that criminals have little to fear from “the feds”.

Figures published earlier this month show that a majority of “lesser” crimes – which include burglary and car theft, and which cause acute distress to their victims – are never investigated, because forces think it so unlikely they will catch the perpetrators.

Here’s Melanie Phillips in the UK Daily Mail.


The causes of this sickness are many and complex. But three things can be said with certainty: every one of them is the fault of the liberal intelligentsia; every one of them was instituted or exacerbated by the Labour government; and at the very heart of these problems lies the breakdown of the family.

For most of these children come from lone-mother households. And the single most crucial factor behind all this mayhem is the willed removal of the most important thing that socialises children and turns them from feral savages into civilised citizens: a father who is a fully committed member of the family unit.

[…]In such areas, successive generations are being brought up only by mothers, through whose houses pass transitory males by whom these women have yet more children — and who inevitably repeat the pattern of lone and dysfunctional parenting.

The result is fatherless boys who are consumed by an existential rage and desperate emotional need, and who take out the damage done to them by lashing out from infancy at everyone around them. Such children inhabit what is effectively a different world from the rest of society. It’s a world without any boundaries or rules. A world of emotional and physical chaos.

A world where a child responds to the slightest setback or disagreement by resorting to violence. A world where the parent is unwilling or incapable of providing the loving and disciplined framework that a child needs in order to thrive.

Yet instead of lone parenthood being regarded as a tragedy for individuals, and a catastrophe for society, it has been redefined as a ‘right’.

When Labour came to power in 1997, it set about systematically destroying not just the traditional family but the very idea that married parents were better for children than any other arrangement.

Instead, it introduced the sexual free-for-all of ‘lifestyle choice’; claimed that the idea of the male breadwinner was a sexist anachronism; and told girls that they could, and should, go it alone as mothers.

This was the outcome of the shattering defeat of Tony Blair, in the two years or so after he came to power, at the hands of the ultra-feminists and apostles of non-judgmentalism in his Cabinet and party who were determined, above all, to destroy the traditional nuclear family.

Blair stood virtually alone against them, and lost.

One of these ultra-feminist wreckers was Harriet Harman. The other night, she was on TV preposterously suggesting that cuts in educational allowances or youth workers had something to do with young people torching and looting shops, robbing and leaving people for dead in the streets.

But Harman was one of the principal forces in the Labour government behind the promotion of lone parenthood and the marginalisation of fathers. If anyone should be blamed for bringing about the conditions which have led to these appalling scenes in our cities, it is surely Ms Harman.

And this breaking of the family was further condoned, rewarded and encouraged by the Welfare State, which conceives of need solely in terms of absence of money, and which accordingly subsidises lone parenthood and the destructive behaviour that fatherlessness brings in its train.

Welfare dependency further created the entitlement culture that the looters so egregiously display. It taught them that the world owed them a living. It taught them that their actions had no consequences. And it taught them that the world revolved around themselves.

And now, Theodore Dalrymple in the Australian.


The riots in London and elsewhere in Britain are a backhanded tribute to the long-term intellectual torpor, moral cowardice, incompetence and careerist opportunism of the British political and intellectual class.

They have somehow managed not to notice what has long been apparent to anyone who has taken a short walk with his eyes open down any frequented British street: that a considerable proportion of the country’s young population (a proportion that is declining) is ugly, aggressive, vicious, badly educated, uncouth and criminally inclined.

Unfortunately, while it is totally lacking in self-respect, it is full of self-esteem: that is to say, it believes itself entitled to a high standard of living, and other things, without any effort on its own part.

Consider for a moment the following: although youth unemployment in Britain is very high, that is to say about 20 per cent of those aged under 25, the country has had to import young foreign labour for a long time, even for unskilled work in the service sector.

The reasons for this seeming paradox are obvious to anyone who knows young Britons as I do.

No sensible employer in a service industry would choose a young Briton if he could have a young Pole; the young Pole is not only likely to have a good work ethic and refined manners, he is likely to be able to add up and — most humiliating of all — to speak better English than the Briton, at least if by that we mean the standard variety of the language. He may not be more fluent but his English will be more correct and his accent easier to understand.

This is not an exaggeration. After compulsory education (or perhaps I should say intermittent attendance at school) up to the age of 16 costing $80,000 a head, about one-quarter of British children cannot read with facility or do simple arithmetic. It makes you proud to be a British taxpayer.

I think I can say with a fair degree of certainty, from my experience as a doctor in one of the areas in which a police station has just been burned down, that half of those rioting would reply to the question, “Can you do arithmetic?” by answering, “What is arithmetic?”

British youth leads the Western world in almost all aspects of social pathology, from teenage pregnancy to drug taking, from drunkenness to violent criminality. There is no form of bad behaviour that our version of the welfare state has not sought out and subsidised.

British children are much likelier to have a television in their bedroom than a father living at home. One-third of them never eat a meal at a table with another member of their household — family is not the word for the social arrangements of the people in the areas from which the rioters mainly come. They are therefore radically unsocialised and deeply egotistical, viewing relations with other human beings in the same way as Lenin: Who whom, who does what to whom. By the time they grow up, they are destined not only for unemployment but unemployability.

For young women in much of Britain, dependence does not mean dependence on the government: that, for them, is independence. Dependence means any kind of reliance on the men who have impregnated them who, of course, regard their own subventions from the state as pocket money, to be supplemented by a little light trafficking.

If we want to stop youths from rioting, the solution isn’t to transfer more wealth to them by raising taxes and substituting government welfare checks for fathers. That’s what feminism teaches, but it’s not working. It’s been tried in the UK and Canada and it doesn’t work. To stop children from being violent, you need a father in the home, and he needs to be empowered to work and earn and to set up moral boundaries. Fathers do not just appear, they need to be given incentives, they need to be given authority, they need to be given respect, and they need to be encouraged by women and by government.

Conservative Michael Gove defeats Labour’s Harriet Harman in debate

From Jonah Goldberg at National Review.

It’s a knock-out! She tries to defend the rioters as victims, and justifies their rioting.

Here is my previous post on Harriet Harman and the riots. She is opposed to marriage, fathers, shared-parenting and law and order. She just doesn’t like men parenting their own children. She wants to treat everyone as victims, and coddle them when they act irresponsibly. She favors subsidizing women who have children out of wedlock with taxpayer money.

And here’s another article from Life Site News about the riots.


In fact, all of these are valid observations, but some factors are more fundamental than others. Social order in some communities – and unfortunately more often in the most vulnerable communities – is breaking down. And it is being driven by an unprecedented breakdown of the family, which in turn is causing a vicious cycle of poverty, lack of education, lawlessness and further erosion of the basic values people need to keep society in order.

It is difficult to say this without being accused of targeting single mothers or attacking absent fathers. I know many single mothers who are doing an amazing job, in difficult circumstances, and who have raised the best of kids. And there certainly are other pressing issues which need to be tackled, such as the fact that there are huge inequalities of income and opportunity in British society.

But some facts are so startling, and some effects so obvious, that even the most liberal newspaper of the British press, the Guardian, is now acknowledging that lack of family structure is creating a huge problem. On Wednesday, the paper interviewed a youth worker from Tottenham who has spent 30 years working with disadvantaged communities. He said that parental authority had now been eroded to the point where the parents of rioting children would be afraid to discipline them.

His views were echoed by the local MP David Lammy who commented, “There is none of the basic starting presumption of two adults who want to start a family, raise children together, love them, nourish them and lead them to full independence. The parents are not married and the child has come, frankly, out of casual sex; the father is not present, and is not expected to be. There are not the networks of extended families to make up for it. We are seeing huge consequences of the lack of male role models in young men’s lives.”

There are 3.5 million children from broken homes in Britain. Their growing numbers, and the effect on of family breakdown on children, caused a leading family law court judge, Sir Paul Coleridge, to recently describe the scale of the problem as “social anarchy” and to urge the government to work to promote marriage.

The decline of marriage has left a significant proportion of children with a confused understanding of stability and of boundaries. And the lack of a male role model means that young men in particular seek out the toughest in the gang for an authority figure rather than their father. That means just one bad apple can influence a whole community of young teens.

I was recently talking with someone online who was a fiscal conservative, but a social liberal. I think that view is mistaken. It turns out that government will expand to deal with the problems caused by people being irresponsible and reckless in their private lives. That will have an impact on tax rates and the free market, but it will also impact the very liberty that the social liberals want to protect. The more government grows to restrain these riots, the less liberty we will have. Being too permissive on social issues is bad for liberty, in the long run.

Can citizens rely on politically correct police to enforce the law?

This Wall Street Journal article provides more insight into why the unionized police did nothing during the UK riots.


The night before, at approximately 9:30 p.m., between 30 and 40 teenagers broke into the shop and left with all its liquor, cigarettes and cash. Mr. Raif, his brother and a handful of customers were inside at the time.

“I saw them coming and started to lock the doors, but they kicked through the glass and forced the doors open. All the customers ran to the back and my brother called the police,” he recalls.

[…]Once inside, the looters snatched six-packs of Supermalt from the shelves nearest the entrance and hurled them at the cigarette and alcohol cases behind the register. They appeared to be 16 or younger and sober to Mr. Raif. He doesn’t know if they were kids from the neighborhood, but despite their hoods and balaclavas he could tell “from their hands” that his looters were mostly white.

“They were very shameful. It was a horrible experience.”

The police never did appear, although they followed up nine hours later with a phone call. “Everything we pay here—taxes, rates, rents—it’s all so expensive. And we can’t even get the police when there are people robbing our shop.”

[…]”I’ve been here 12 years,” says the Pakistan native. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

So what’s the problem? Welfare cuts, racist police, the “rich”?

“Please,” he laughs. “We’re all poor.

“Look, my point of view is this: It started in Tottenham, on Saturday, when a man got shot by the police. People protested, and then some people went and burned down a police car. And the police did nothing. They burned down more police cars, they burned down a bus, they burned down a building—and the police did nothing. They needed to respond. Instead the police retreated in Tottenham. So this, whatever you call it, it started as something against the police. The police did not show the strength to push back, and it spread. And that is why I’m out here now like a security guard.”

As we speak, “it” is spreading to Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Wolverhampton. Elsewhere in London, locals have formed vigilante groups and are patrolling their own streets.

Home Secretary Theresa May earlier on Tuesday had defended the government’s use-of-force policies, declaring that “the way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon. The way we police in Britain is through consent of communities.”

Perhaps if the police had been privatized, and had to please customers in order to get paid, then this would not have happened. But the market forces of choice and competition are nowhere to be found when government has a monopoly on some service. Taxes are deducted automatically, and you get the service they provide. They have no incentive to risk their necks for you – they get paid regardless. If they want a raise, then they go on strike.

Now where do you suppose that this disdain for the use of force against lawlessness came from? Could it be from the secular left, that is so uncomfortable with the ideas of moral standards, moral duties and moral accountability? They have been in power in the UK for over a decade. You may also recall that they have passed many measures opposing private property, self-defense, legal firearm ownership – and weakened prosecution and incarceration of convicted criminals. Bleeding heart liberals just hate the idea that criminals might be shot while committing crimes against law abiding citizens – they don’t want criminals to be frightened by gun-wielding property owners. That’s why they banned hand guns in 1997, leading to a doubling of the violent crime rate in the next four years.

This story reminds me of what happened in Canada a while back, when the police refused to do anything about vandalism committed by the native Canadians. It’s not politically correct to enforce laws against groups who vote for secular leftists, didn’t you know?

Unproductive UK rioters demand to be given other people’s money

Video from Verum Serum.

Story from the UK Telegraph.


Police fought mobs of masked thugs who pelted officers with ammonia and fireworks loaded with coins.

The anti-capitalists started fires and smashed their way into banks, hotels and shops, bringing chaos to Britain’s busiest shopping street.

The violence began as Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, addressed a TUC rally of at least 250,000 peaceful protesters in Hyde Park who had marched from Westminster to demonstrate against government spending cuts.

As he spoke, an apparently co-ordinated attack began on shops and police in Oxford Street as a mob tried to storm into shops including Topshop, BHS and John Lewis.

MPs and retailers said the scenes damaged Britain’s reputation around the world.

The move was the first of a string of actions by anarchists in which:

• There was violence last night in Trafalgar Square, with protesters setting banners ablaze and throwing missiles including broken bottles at police officers. As police contained protesters around Nelson’s Column, there were running battles in Strand. Close to Charing Cross railway station, a fire was started near shops;

• Fortnum and Mason, the department store, was occupied by 200 “anti-cuts” protesters who smashed windows and knocked over displays;

• A huge fire was started in the centre of Jermyn Street, the Ritz hotel was attacked with dustbins and a “Trojan horse” set on fire in Oxford Circus;

• Banks were broken into, their windows smashed and daubed with graffiti reading “smash the bank”;

• Windows were smashed in New Bond Street and running scuffles took place on Piccadilly, where a Porsche car showroom was attacked.

Anarchist groups had spent weeks preparing the action on Facebook and Twitter and even posted a map directing people to the time and location of where to attack shops.

[…]After five hours of running battles, there were 202 arrests. At least 30 people, including five police officers, were injured. Police said the anti-capitalists threw lightbulbs filled with ammonia at them.

More videos from Verum Serum.

In France, unionized thugs riot against maturity and responsibility

Here’s a story about the public sector union riots in France from Bloomberg News. (H/T Mary)


French refineries remained shut, trains were on half service, schools closed and gas stations ran dry as unions held their fourth strike in two months against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plan to raise the retirement age.

Sarkozy has refused to retreat from a proposal to increase the retirement age for a full pension to 67 from 65. His plan would bring France closer to Germany and the U.S., which are moving toward setting 67 as the full-retirement age, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The French Senate is set to vote on the pension measure this week, giving final parliamentary approval to a plan to eliminate the retirement-system deficit by 2018.

“This reform had been postponed for too long and the deadline couldn’t be push further anymore,” Sarkozy said at a press conference in Deauville, France. “I hope that everyone stays calm so that things don’t go beyond certain limits. We cannot live without gasoline. I will see to it with the security forces that public order is guaranteed.”

Some protests turned violent, with youths today fighting police in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. In Lyon, some demonstrators broke shop windows and pillaged stores, L’Express magazine said on its website. Television reports showed snaking lines of drivers waiting to fill up on gas as about a quarter of the country’s 12,000 service stations carried signs saying they’d run out of fuel.

Government ministers said France has enough fuel to last several weeks and that they’ll continue to use police to break up barricades at oil depots.

[…]France’s 12 refineries have been on strike for a week, and no crude is arriving at the ports of Marseille, Le Havre and Nantes.

[…]Exxon Mobil Corp. declared “force majeure,” in France, saying it will be unable to meet some of its oil supply obligations and that it has begun shutting down its Gravenchon refinery, the larger of its two oil-processors in the country.

“A complete shutdown of the refinery is now under way,” Catherine Brun, an Exxon spokeswoman in Paris, said by phone today. “We cannot deliver products out of tanks.”

Total SA, the country’s biggest oil company, said a quarter of the 4,000 service stations it operates in France face shortages of one or more fuel products because of the strike.

[…]In France, the average retiree gets a net 65 percent of his average qualifying wage in government pension payouts, compared with 61.5 percent in Germany, 47 percent in the U.S. and 44 percent in Britain, according to the OECD.

I’m not sure why, but the word “extortion” pops into my mind. Or maybe I was thinking of “arrested development”. What is it called when grown men and women refuse to grow up and take responsibility for their own lives and insist on receiving entitlements provided by their harder-working neighbors?

Could a public sector union pension crisis happen here in the USA? Well, consider this article from The Economist, a radically-left-wing pro-Obama magazine. (H/T ECM)


CHUCK REED is the Democratic mayor of San Jose, California. You might expect him to be an ally of public-sector workers, a powerful lobby in the Golden State. But last month, at a hearing on pension reform held by the Little Hoover Commission, which monitors the state’s government, Mr Reed lamented his crippling public-pensions bill. “City payments for retirement benefits have tripled over the last ten years even though our workforce has declined dramatically, and we have billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities that the taxpayers must pay,” he said.

Mr Reed estimated that the average cost to his city of employing a police officer or firefighter was $180,000 a year. Not only can such workers retire at 50, but some enjoy annual pension payments greater than their salaries. They are also entitled to cost-of-living increases of 3% a year, health and dental insurance for life and lump-sum payments for unused sick leave that could reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Plenty of similar bills are looming in America’s public sector: in municipalities, in the federal government, and especially at state level. Defined-benefit pensions, which link retirement income to salary, are expensive promises to keep. The private sector has been switching to defined-contribution plans, in which employees bear the investment risk. But the public sector has barely begun to adjust, and has built up a huge liability to its staff. Worse, it has not funded the promises properly.

Joshua Rauh, of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and Robert Novy-Marx, of the University of Rochester, estimate that the states’ pension shortfall may be as much as $3.4 trillion and that municipalities have a hole of $574 billion. Mr Rauh calculates that seven states will have exhausted their pension assets by 2020—even if they make a return of 8%, a common assumption that looks wildly optimistic. Half will run out of money by 2027. If pension promises are to be kept, this will place immense strain on taxes. Several have promised annual payments that will absorb more than 30% of their tax revenues after their pension funds are exhausted (see chart 1).

Now the problem is making headlines, especially in California, where taxpayer groups have been highlighting the generous pensions of some former employees. More than 9,000 beneficiaries of CalPERS, the largest state retirement plan, receive more than $100,000 a year.

The stage is set for conflict between public-sector workers and taxpayers. Because almost all states are required to balance their budgets, any extra pension contributions they make to mend a deficit will come at the expense of other citizens. Utah has calculated it will have to commit 10% of its general fund for 25 years to pay for the effects of the 2008 stockmarket crash. But attempts to reduce the cost of pensions are being challenged in court and will be opposed by trade unions, which still have plenty of members in the public sector.

It’s not good for people to go through life becoming more and more accustomed to bailouts and redistributed wealth from their neighbors. Everyone should have to earn their own money and provide for themselves during their own retirement years. It’s not good to be dependent on other people – it’s better to make your own way in the world, and to share with others who have less than you do.