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The Dynamics of a Riot

The Dynamics of a Riot

In my lifetime, I’ve had the misfortune of being present in two major natural disasters and one violent social crisis. Each taught me valuable lessons.

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, there’s the danger of the loss of shelter, services, and food. In most cases, people who experience the loss of shelter and services realise that “things are bad all around” and they tend to do the best they can, accepting that life will be hard for a period of time.

Food is a different matter. People, no matter how civilized, tend to panic if they become uncertain as to when they will next be able to eat. And, not surprisingly, this panic is exacerbated if they have dependents, particularly children who are saying, fearfully, “Daddy, I’m hungry.” As Henry Lewis said in 1906, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.” Quite so.

But this is not the only cause of riots. In the post-1960 period in the West, a new phenomenon has occurred that has steadily grown: Governments and the halls of higher education have increasingly taught people that they are “entitled.”

Governments have been guilty of this for millennia, beginning at least as early as the “bread and circuses” of ancient Rome. It’s a way for governments to get people to be dependent upon them and thereby to do their bidding. But, since the 1960s, it’s become a systemic norm.

And it always ends in the same way. The false economy of “free stuff” eventually devolves into overtaxation and economic collapse. When it does, people are more likely to riot, as the entitlements are “owed” to them. In today’s world, however, this condition has peaked far beyond what the world has ever seen before.

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