We Need Tough Love To Keep The Peace


At the heart of any successful modern society is the concept of blame. The functioning of our system of social order, of our very democracy, depends entirely on our ability to identify those who are responsible for everything that’s wrong with everything, and then say so very loudly. If possible, we can then take action to punish and/or ostracise the blameworthy, but that’s not essential to the process. The main thing is that we KNOW who is to blame, and tell each other at length.

And that’s why the UK riots are of such concern to me and all good-hearted people — we just can’t seem to come to a consensus on whose fault they are. This is always a problem, as a failure to correctly allocate blame leads to discontent, depression and probably obesity. Although maybe not, as I think we’ve already determined that obesity is McDonald’s fault. And also parents, but that’s just a sort of universal adjunct. Everything is at least partially parents’ fault — they’re the O Negative of blame.

Which means, of course, that the riots, too, are parents’ fault, especially those parents who never told their children not to smash windows and steal things. And of course more specifically, as noted columnist/theologian/wombjockey Miranda Devine revealed, they are the fault of gay parents, such as Penny Wong, who violated the social order recently by impregnating her partner with lesbian sperm. Is it any coincidence that before there were gay parents, the 2011 riots did not happen, but after there were gay parents, they did? A similar point can be made concerning the 2004 tsunami. Point is, society has been slipping downhill like a pile of loose mud ever since we legitimised homo-shenanigans with that episode of Play School where the two women performed cunnilingus on each other under a swingset.

But can the riots be sheeted home entirely to homosexuals? The answer "yes" may be the most easy, comforting, and pleasing to the eyes of God, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. The truth, as with all important issues that boring people write about in newspapers that nobody reads, is complex. Indeed, debate has been raging about just what feet we should be laying the blame at. Is it the fault of Margaret Thatcher, who famously flayed coalminers alive in the House of Commons in order to prove her theory that milk was bad for schools? Possibly — her 1985 speech, which began, "I think people should smash a lot of shit up" is seen as quite influential.

On the other hand, maybe it’s the fault of the police. It’s possible the police have been murdering too many people. Or not enough people. That’s the tricky part of police work — getting the murder balance right. In London it seems like the police may have killed one too many people, but on the other hand the riots almost certainly could have been prevented if they’d killed a few thousand more people. And so we see the tension at the heart of all public debates — what is just the right number of people to kill? Great thinkers have been wrestling with this question for centuries: perhaps we’ll never know the answer.

But if not the police, whose fault is it? The government, for cutting back on social services? The government, for giving people too many social services? The economic crisis? The media, for encouraging a culture of entitlement and consumerism? Climate change, for making people hot and bothered? Rupert Murdoch, for causing climate change? Julia Gillard, for being a liar? Nude women, for being all over the place nowadays? Coal seam gas? Refugees? Gun control? Knife control? The return of folk music? It could be any of these things, or none. And this is quite unacceptable.

It may seem, to we happy Australians, irrelevant what causes violence in Britain. Why should we worry about looting Brits, we might ask, when we are rolling around nude on enormous piles of brown coal? We have freedom, prosperity, and a political class prepared to stick up for our best interests and find suitable marriages for Barnaby Joyce’s daughters: isn’t it best that we just ignore the goings-on in the rest of the world and quietly go about our own wholesomely hedonistic lifestyles?

However, what we have to realise is that no man is an island, and this goes double for countries, except Australia, which is an island, but not the kind of island that can afford to disregard the fact the rest of the world is going down in a screaming fiery heap of debt and plasmas. We have to consider both the impact the UK riots will have on us, and the responsibility we bear for them. We may think our actions here have no effect on life in Britain, but who was it who produced Peter Andre?

Likewise, if we are too complacent about our own society, we could find events replicated on our doorstep. And that’s a scary thought — think about hoodlums rampaging down your street, smashing your local shop windows, looting from your local Target. Wouldn’t that be horrible? Think of the queues! And they’re just going to get angrier and angrier, having to stand in that weird winding checkout line thing Target has now. Yes, looters and Australian department stores are a real recipe for disaster, which is why we have to take steps to avoid it coming to pass, or at least to make sure that when it does come to pass, we can say we told you so.

So, here is my plan to address this burning issue:

1. Shut down all government departments. This may seem a little extreme, but we need every resource available bent towards the aim of determining the cause of the UK riots. From now on, the government’s motto must be "one thing at a time". An additional benefit of shutting down all other government functions is that you would shut down all other government functions.

2. Increase the volume and frequency of opinion columns about the riots. Nothing solves a social problem like intense, shrill, press commentary. The nation’s media must commit to a non-negotiable target of at least 15 strident articles per day about the events in Britain, their significance for broader society, the underlying causes, and why everyone else who has written anything about them is wrong about all of these things. Ideally, all letters pages should also be reserved solely for riot-related correspondence, and all current affairs programmes should feature lots of yelling about the topic.

3. Cull the youth. If there is anything we can all agree on, it is that a major factor in societal conflagrations such as this is the alienation of the younger generation. And the only effective way to deal with alienation is to nip it in the bud. Dead teenagers never get alienated. Regular, controlled exterminations of, say, 10 per cent of the under-18 population will ensure they never fall victim to the seductive glamour of the nihilist lifestyle, and it’ll keep the rest on their toes. Let us follow the dictum of the great Ben Chifley, who when faced with crisis, said, "Just keep shooting until they shut up".

4. Criminalise retail. The common denominator of all looting sprees is of course things to loot. Take away the things, you take away the looting. You wouldn’t give a baby a syringe full of heroin, would you? Well the principle is identical to that in every detail. Why provide the youngsters with temptation? Once our society has no consumer goods whatsoever, peace will reign o’er all.

5. Jail all parents. Since it is agreed that at least part of the problem is bad parenting, we need to punish bad parents to provide a deterrent. But how can you tell which parents are the bad ones? It’s just too difficult, so as a precautionary measure, we must lock up all parents without exception to make sure nobody falls through the cracks. No child left behind! With no parents around to set damaging bad examples, our children can flourish as nature intended.

So there are a few ideas. And it’s not that I’m saying I have ALL the answers: it’s just that I have better answers than you. When violence besets our civilisation, we need a quick and efficacious response, and although the temptation is to meet violence with violence, not every solution to the riots has to be a violent one — there are certain gases that can be disseminated really quite peacefully. And of course there is always lobotomies. So the future isn’t nearly as grim as you, or anyone else with a bit of sense, think.

And even if worse comes to worst, and society does irreparably break down — hey, free TV!

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Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.