Reaping the Whirlwind in UK and Elsewhere

“Reap the whirlwind, Brady. Reap it.” – William H. Bonney (a.k.a Billy the Kid), Young Guns

Riots, turmoil, angst – a world ablaze. CNBC is carrying a story of how economic instability is leading to global unrest. The most obvious examples are in London, where riots have broken out for a string of nights, and the authorities are losing control of the city. The situation is not contained to the UK though. The article considers unrest in Israel, the Philippines, China, Syrian, and a host of soon-to-default European nations.

Underlying all of this is the unraveling of an extended shell game. The politicians (and by this I mean the progressives – not in an “American liberal” sense, but in the sense of “government is a source of productive direction in the lives of people”) have made this mess. For years they have worked to convince the masses to relinquish control of their lives to the government. They have convinced the masses that government has a role in addressing every ill that confronts you – that government is the key.

In good times they get away with it, but in bad times it gets tricky. When the pie is shrinking everybody wants to make sure they get their piece first.

When our benevolent progressives claimed ever more authority in the lives of people, they also necessarily took on greater responsibility for those very same lives. Were they to live up to this responsibility, the issue would be simpler. Instead, they simply took their newfound authority and peddled it to the highest bidder in order to enrich themselves.

So here you have a conundrum. The political class has convinced the working class to cede authority to the political class. (They have also convinced the not-working-but-not-independently-wealthy class.) The political class then sold this authority, this power, to the wealthy in order to line their own pockets. The politicians got rich and powerful. The rich got richer. The working class, the poor, the suffering – well, they usually got enough bones thrown their way to keep them quite … quite and angry enough to vote.

Trouble is, if you have authority you also have responsibility. When things go poorly, it’s your fault. No way around it.

Generations of people have been convinced that they have a right to the wealth and/or production of others. They have a right to eat the bread that another man baked; a right to live in the house another man built, to drive the car another man bought, to live their lives an another’s expense. The pie is shrinking though. Retirees are demanding that the working class meet the obligations. The youth are demanding the working class pay for their education (in the UK) or their rent (in Israel). Everybody is claiming that they cannot be asked to give up any of the government largess so long as “the rich” (anybody with more than me) have a penny to their names.

The center cannot hold. The system is broken. The politicians are trying desperately to hold on to power – but they have sown the wind, and will reap the whirlwind.

We ought to pray for those governments that are facing this difficulty. Pray that they can turn the tide and move toward freedom (which implies individual authority over and responsibility for one’s life and livelihood). Pray that we do things differently here in America.

And I believe we will. Oh, there will be growing pains and withdrawal symptoms – but we still believe in freedom here, and still have an excellent shot at getting it right.

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