Theodore Dalrymple writes:
It is one of the tasks of civilisation to tame our inherent savagery. But who, contemplating contemporary British culture, would recognise in it any civilising influence, or rather fail to recognise its opposite? It is a constant call to and celebration of degradation, not only physical but spiritual and emotional. A culture in which Amy Winehouse, with her militant vulgarity and self-indulgent stupidity, combined with a very minor talent, could be so extravagantly admired and feted, is not one to put up strong barriers against our baser instincts, desires and urges. On the contrary, that culture has long been a celebration of those very urges. He who pays the savage never gets rid of the savagery; and this is only the beginning.
As I read the bit about Amy Winehouse, I couldn’t help but replace her name with Lady Gaga. The riots will come to America. You do not teach a generation of people a worldview that there is no God, there is no higher authority, that what’s true is what you believe is true and then expect them to restrain the savagery simmering within the human heart. Why should they? They were born this way. There is nothing wrong with them. This is where I think Dalrymple misses the point somewhat. Yes, civilization has a role in civilizing people. British riots are the fruit a particular type of civilization. Civilization does not make people more moral, more honorable. It only inculcates the values it holds true. What the British need is the Gospel. What America needs is the Gospel. For it is the Gospel that teaches us that there is an authority above us in front of whom we cannot stand (Psalm 130:3). But at the same time, there is forgiveness aplenty (Psalm 130:4). We, therefore, are able to stand. We can fight the evil that lurks within us. We can crucify the desires of our flesh. And we can live peaceably with our neighbors without the need for government to terrorize us into submission. For there is a higher authority that we fear. God is a far more terrifying foe than any government regulation or even gulag. So it is no surprise that those who do not fear God, do not fear any authority, any consequences. Revival is the only hope for a nation in decline. May God grant that true revival would fall and that America might be spared the destructive and deadly rioting that has gripped British towns and cities.