Thomas Sowell

In reality, like other rioters on both sides of the Atlantic they are often exultant in their violence and happy to be returning home with stolen designer clothes and upscale electronic devices.

In both England and in the United States, whole generations have been fed a steady diet of grievances and resentment against society, and especially against others who are more prosperous than they are. They get this in their schools, on television, on campuses and in the movies. Nothing is their own fault. It is all "society's" fault.

One of the young Britons interviewed in the New York Times reported that he had learned to read only three years ago. He is not unique. In Theodore Dalrymple's book, "Life at the Bottom," he referred to many British youths who are unashamedly illiterate. The lyrics of a popular song in Britain said, "We don't need no education" and another song was titled "Poor, White and Stupid."

Dr. Dalrymple says, "I cannot recall meeting a sixteen-year-old white from the public housing estates that are near my hospital who could multiple nine by seven."

In the United States, the color may be different but the attitudes among the hoodlum element are very similar. In both countries, classmates who try to learn can find themselves targeted by bullies.

Here those who want to study in ghetto schools are often accused of "acting white." But whites in Britain show the same pattern. Some conscientious students are beaten up badly enough to end up at Dr. Dalrymple's hospital.

Our elites often advise us to learn from other countries. They usually mean that we should imitate other countries. But it may be far more important to learn from their mistakes -- the biggest of which may be listening to fashionable nonsense from the smug intelligentsia.

These countries show us where that smug nonsense leads. It may be a sneak preview of our own future.

"Send not to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee."


Thomas Sowell

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

Creators Syndicate



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