Friday, June 17, 2011

The Riot Act

Do you ever wonder why we don't have more riots in America?  I ask this after the video of the unruly mob that set cars on fire and looted downtown Vancouver stores got plenty of exposure after the Stanley Cup Final loss.  I'm not saying we should have more riots--I just wonder why we don't have more of them?

I ask that because the places you see these riots--Canada, Great Britain, France and Greece being the most recent--are always held up as these "utopias" of social progress and economic fairness.  These are the countries with free health care for all, free education and colleges for all, mass transit for all and early retirement benefits for all.  So what is there to riot about?

You would think that it would be Americans who should be turning over the police cars and over-running every department store to run off with all the merchandise.  If there is anyplace where things aren't "fair"--it's right here in the U-S-of-A.  And yet, you rarely see people turn to violence and anarchy.  Even public workers--outraged by having to pay about one-quarter of what private sector employees pay for health insurance and retirement benefits--have been loud but certainly not violent in their protests.  You don't see business owners on State Street standing outside their stores with shotguns to protect their property.

Could it be that here in America we still hold some respect for the concept of "earning" what someone has?  When you have everything handed to you--you tend not to appreciate the value of anything.  That makes it a lot easier to justify in your mind burning someone else's car--or stealing someone else's goods.  They don't "deserve" to have that stuff becomes the mindset--and no second thought is given to taking it away.

We hear all the time from the "elite" here in the US that we need to learn lessons from our European peers and our Neighbors to the North when it comes to "creating a better society."  Let's just make sure that we learn ALL of the lessons those countries can teach us.

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