- The Washington Times - Monday, August 15, 2011


Liberals want you to believe the cure for civil unrest throughout the world is increased government expenditures. Whether it’s the takeover of the capital building in Madison, Wisc., or the riots in the streets of Athens and London, the message is that any attempt at cutting back on government excess will spark a violent response.

Last week, for example, Harriet Harman, the Labour Party’s deputy leader, sneakily attempted to pin the blame for looting in the British capital on conservative policies. “There is a sense that young people feel they’re not being listened to,” she said on BBC’s “Newsnight.” “When you’ve got the trebling of tuition fees, they should think again about that. When you’ve got the (Education Maintenance Allowance) being taken away, when you’ve got jobs being cut and youth unemployment rising and they’re shutting the job center in Camberwell - well, you should think again about that because this is going to cost money.” Ms. Harman backed down somewhat after a Conservative cabinet member questioned how reduced spending on government programs justified people smashing the windows of a Foot Locker to grab a box of new sneakers or raiding an electronics store for a plasma TV.

A study published Thursday by London’s Centre for Economic Policy Research attempted to discern the link between central government outlays and the number of strikes, demonstrations and assassinations. The researchers did find a substantial connection between instability and fiscal consolidation, but that, “There are relatively few protests that are caused by austerity measures.” Between 1980 and 1995, one would be almost five times more likely to be injured at a pro-pacifism rally than an anti-austerity rally, for example.

England’s recent unrest is better seen as the ultimate expression of what happens when a value-free leftist society collapses on itself. As London Mayor Boris Johnson noted, 69 percent of the hooligans arrested in the riots had prior convictions. Mr. Johnson, a Tory, blamed the society and educational system that “failed to give them discipline, or hope, or ambition, or a simple ability to tell right from wrong.” Britain’s unarmed storekeepers had no way to defend their shops, and the police were too busy attending diversity workshops to crack down on the criminal behavior.

Such disasters are not the consequence of a government cutting back on spending, but of a soft government that has grown too big for anyone’s good.

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