In the UK at the moment a LOT of young people are getting unjustly stigmatised along with a bunch of young criminals.
The ranting middle aged media … and not a few very hypocritical politicians who by all accounts ran their own extravagant riots as young Hooray Henrys … are doing something as outrageous to these young people as if WE (in the 40+ age bracket) were getting blamed for bankers misdemeanours, just because we are also middle aged.
Wouldn’t you say that’s unjust?
The Social Contract
Of course, the rioting problem arises where SOME people who are admittedly mainly under 40 do not accept their obligations under the social contract.
(In political thought, the social contract is where broadly speaking you get the benefits of living in civil society in return for alienating your right to certain patterns of lawless behaviour so that civil society can exist and a better life can thrive.)
Fundamentally, people at all levels in society seem unable to say ‘No’ when the selfish sidde of their personality demands instant gratification regardless its impact on the greater benefits they’ll get from serving the common good. Now, I believe I can think of a word for that …
White collar crime
What I really find troubling is the way populist responses to rioting and looting are causing further fragmentation and alienation … but this time of ‘decent’ youngsters tarred with the broad ‘youth culture’ brush.
I’ve come across significant numbers of ‘decent’ young people, who look at white collar crime (another violation of the Social Contract), and are outraged that their enjoyment of life in civil society has been (economically) damaged by bank fraud and what it has done to jobs and the economy.
They are as outraged by that as by being lumped in with a load of rioting youths, or as we oldies would be if we were blamed for the impact of the banking crisis on jobs and economy just because we are ‘middle aged’.
So if we want to attribute blame, let’s stop blanket-blaming ‘the young’, or parents who are actually prevented by statute law in the UK from Biblically disciplining their young children and can face criminal action and the removal of their children if they do so …
Let’s put the blame where GOD might
Fundamentally, crime may have all sorts of contributory factors but at the end of the day, crossing the line into criminality (or simply acquiescing in or condoning it) is a moral choice based on what you believe to be true, satisfying and good for you.
Perhaps the most useful thing that could be done, then, would be for churches to stop being such a bunch of bleeding heart liberal, detached, fancy dress, pontificating woosies and get off their pews to preach and BE the Good News to the poor and alienated (spirtually and financially) people that should always have been their major concern.
Jesus’ priority mission for His church is not to undertake sociological analysis. It goes like this:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
For the most part, that is simply NOT what is getting done, and society is being let down.
So, to some extent, I think I blame the churches, myself …