“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs . . .”
So begins Rudyard Kipling’s century-old poem “If,” which comprised the text of a card I got graduating eighth grade and has stuck with me ever since. In the ensuing forty-six years I saw how rare it was for someone to actually do it - to stay centered within oneself in the midst of hysteria. To achieve that is to live beyond the influence of the mob.
Mobs are big news with riots in England and flash mobs assaulting people and property in the United States. The first night of London riots was said to be in response to police shooting a young black man, variously described as a “father or four” and “tied to London gangs.” That night’s rioting may have started spontaneously, but it continued and spread to other UK cities with electronic social network coordination, and that is a common thread in both the UK and in the United States. Another common thread is race, though the mainstream media in both countries try to ignore it.2011 London riots
As Kipling said, it’s indeed difficult to keep your head when all others about you are losing theirs because we’re all subject to peer pressure. If one is ever going to grow up, to mature, to become an adult, it is necessary to have made an individual decision. Each of us has to ask himself/herself one question, and it can be phrased in various ways: Am I the captain of my own ship, or am I at the mercy of whatever winds blow around me? Am I controlled from within or from without? Do I rule myself, or do others rule me? Do I behave the way I choose to, or do I behave the way I think others want me to? Unless each of us decides how to be and has the discipline to follow his or her own rules, we’re no better than herd animals - part of the mob.1992 LA riots
Meeting new people, it doesn’t take long to sense whether they’ve asked themselves that question and answered it. Personal rules vary, but contain common elements of respect for individuals, families, their dignity, their property, which successful civilizations championed for millennia.
Observing rioters in 2011 London or 1992 Los Angeles, it’s evident they have either avoided the question or never considered it at all. Each is controlled by whatever others around them do. There are no individuals who make choices and take responsibility. They’re part of a tribe, a race, a mob, and the mob is impulsive. It doesn’t think. It doesn’t reflect. It doesn’t make decisions. Pants hang below asses. Sub-woofers blare (c)rap music full of anger, hate, selfishness and nihilism. The mob acts it all out, mindlessly, in the default mode of the horde.David Starkey
British historian David Starkey claimed that white youths involved in last week’s riots were imitating black gang culture. Naturally, he was branded racist by the liberal media, and I’m sure I will be as well. As a long-time public school teacher, however, I can attest that white boys mimicking black gangster culture were consistently my least-functional students.Prime Minister Cameron
Groups of individuals tend to be civilized and creative. Mobs are invariably barbaric and destructive. Liberal mainstream media proclaim the young, all-black or mostly-black and male mobs making mayhem are comprised of frustrated victims of discrimination and lack of opportunity. Conservative media say they’re products of the liberal welfare state responsible for our “slow-motion moral collapse.” UK Prime Minister David Cameron blames: “Children without fathers. Schools without discipline. Reward without effort. Crime without punishment. Rights without responsibilities. Communities without control. Some of the worst aspects of human nature tolerated, indulged - sometimes even incentivized - by a state and its agencies that in parts have become literally demoralized.”Economist Thomas Sowell
Some officials in UK government threaten to cut welfare for anyone arrested during the riots. American economist Thomas Sowell writes: “While the history and the races are different [in England and America], what is the same in both countries are the social policies and social attitudes long promoted by the intelligentsia and welfare state politicians. A recent study in England found 352,000 households in which nobody had ever worked. Moreover, two-thirds of the adults in those households said that they didn't want to work. As in America, such people feel both ‘entitled’ and aggrieved.”
As my grandmother used to say, “Idle hands are the devil’s tools.”Mayor Michael Nutter
Here in the US, the mainstream media strenuously avoid the racial angle of destructive flash mobs springing up in Milwaukee, Peoria, Chicago, Kansas City, and other cities across the country. Liberal media rabidly report white-on-black assaults like the James Byrd case in Texas, or even imagined ones like the ludicrous Duke Lacrosse Team “rape” case in North Carolina. Mainstream media and government officials tripped over each other to trumpet their outrage over something completely fabricated. For black-on-white assaults and robberies, they’re virtually silent. If mentioned at all, young black men are called “youths.” The only media reporting it honestly are blogs and Fox News. The only government official confronting it is Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who told pillaging blacks in his city: “You have damaged your own race. . . . Take those God-darn hoodies down, pull your pants up and buy a belt ‘cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt.”
The demography of the mob may differ through history from biblical times through the French Revolution to the 21st century, but there are things common to all: they’re nasty, brutish, ugly, and enemy of the individual.