Thomas Sowell

Editor’s note: This article is Part III in a series. Click here to read Part I. Click here to read Part II.

The orgies of violent attacks against strangers on the streets -- in both England and the United States -- are not necessarily just passing episodes. They should be wake-up calls, warning of the continuing degeneration of Western society.

As British doctor and author Theodore Dalrymple said, long before these riots broke out, "the good are afraid of the bad and the bad are afraid of nothing."

Not only the trends over the years leading up to these riots but also the squeamish responses to them by officials -- on both sides of the Atlantic -- reveal the moral dry rot that has spread deep into Western societies.

Even when black youth gangs target white strangers on the streets and spew out racial hatred as they batter them and rob them, mayors, police chiefs and the media tiptoe around their racism and many in the media either don't cover these stories or leave out the race and racism involved.

In England, the government did not call out the troops to squash their riots at the outset. The net result was that young hoodlums got to rampage and loot for hours, while the police struggled to try to contain the violence. Hoodlums returned home with loot from stores with impunity, as well as bringing home with them a contempt for the law and for the rights of other people.

With all the damage that was done by these rioters, both to cities and to the whole fabric of British society, it is very unlikely that most of the people who were arrested will be sentenced to jail. Only 7 percent of people convicted of crime in England are actually put behind bars.

"Alternatives to incarceration" are in vogue among the politically correct elites in England, just as in the United States. But in Britain those elites have had much more clout for a much longer time. And they have done much more damage.

Nevertheless, our own politically correct elites are pointing us in the same direction. A headline in the New York Times shows the same politically correct mindset in the United States: "London Riots Put Spotlight on Troubled, Unemployed Youths in Britain." There is not a speck of evidence that the rioters and looters are troubled -- unless you engage in circular reasoning and say that they must have been troubled to do the things they did.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate