One of the saddest recent reports I’ve seen is one about a student urinating on the Winston Churchill statue in Parliament Square. The statue has also been defaced with graffiti calling the great man various names, most too ugly to print. This is what happens when self-absorption reaches cultural critical mass. The lessons of the past are forgotten, and the keys to a good future are forsaken, all in a cult of “me-ism.”
Never mind that these bums (to use a Nixon term that just seems to fit) wouldn’t have a park to piss in if not for people like Mr. Churchill. He rallied a nation, including those college age at the time, to save the world. But back then, the people he worked with had been through the fiery trial of Great Depression-driven deprivation and likely had little of the sense of entitlement of subsequent generations. He once said: "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery."
Welcome to misery 101.
Writing in the U.K.’s Guardian, Gary Younge (a writer based in the U.S.) has suggested that current and recent student revolts around the world are a good thing. He wants that “their energy, enthusiasm, militancy, rage and raucousness might burn in us all.”
Younge sees the protests as nothing surprising because, “More than one in five people under the age of 25 in the EU is unemployed. In Spain the figure is 43%; in Greece 30%; in Italy 26%. Meanwhile the principle that education is a public good, to which all are entitled, all contribute, and all benefit through a more competitive economy, is in its death throes.” Did you catch that? The issue is that education is a basic good or right “to which all are entitled.”
Let’s think about this. If someone tries to take, say, your freedom of speech or worship away, would you fight for it? Yes. These are rights—rights that imply responsibilities. If someone tries to take your car away, would you resist that? Sure. It’s your property. It’s the natural response to something unfair and unjust. So it is logical that those protesting see what is being taken from them in the same way. Not saying they’re right—just conceding that they have no reason to think or feel otherwise. In a sense, they are entitled to their sense of entitlement. And that’s the root problem.
This is the long-term damage socialism does. It gets under the cultural skin and in its DNA and becomes part of the mix of life itself. Which is why Americans should be vigilant at this hour to make sure the recent turn away from this path to decadence becomes a significant directional cue for our immediate and long-term future. Because we, too, are at least a generation removed from the last time socialism was successfully stigmatized and marginalized in the age of Reagan.
Long before Ronald Reagan became our 40th President, while he served as Governor of California, he had his own encounter with student protestors at the University of California at Berkeley. Were he around today, he’d likely reprise what he said back then for the benefit of college students in the U.K and everywhere else: “Higher education is a privilege and not a right so these hoodlums should be thrown out. They are spoiled brats who do not deserve to be at a great state university.”
Now, that’d be a cool sound bite.