British Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour Party leader Ed Miliband both weighed in on a moral decline that was exposed during the recent riots in Britain. An AP article titled “Cameron: Riot hit-UK must reverse ‘moral collapse’” covers their contrasting diagnosis and solutions:
Britain must confront a culture of laziness, irresponsibility and selfishness that fueled four days of riots which left five people dead, thousands facing criminal charges and hundreds of millions in damages, Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged Monday . . .
“We have been too unwilling for too long to talk about what is right and what is wrong,” Cameron said. “We have too often avoided saying what needs to be said, about everything from marriage to welfare to common courtesy.”
Responding to Cameron, who is head of the Conservative Party, Labour’s Miliband offered these words:
In a rival speech, main opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband criticized Cameron’s response as overly simplistic, and demanded that lawmakers focus on delivering better opportunities for disaffected young people. “The usual politicians’ instinct – announce a raft of new legislation, appoint a new adviser, wheel out your old prejudices and shallow answers – will not meet the public’s demand …”
“Are issues like education and skills, youth services, youth unemployment important for diverting people away from gangs, criminality, the wrong path? Yes, they matter,” Miliband said.
More from the article:
Cameron insists that racial tensions, poverty and the government’s austerity program – much of which is yet to bite – were not the primary motivations for the riots across London and other major cities.
Instead, Cameron pointed to gang-related crime, and a widespread failure from Britain’s leaders to address deep rooted social issues, including the country’s generous welfare system.
“Children without fathers. Schools without discipline. Reward without effort. Crime without punishment. Rights without responsibilities. Communities without control. Some of the worst aspects of human nature tolerated, indulged – sometimes even incentivized – by a state and its agencies that in parts have become literally demoralized,” Cameron said . . .
Both he and Miliband agreed that, following recklessness by bankers, the lawmakers’ expense check scandal, and media phone hacking saga, all sectors of society had a share of the blame.
“Moral decline and bad behavior is not limited to a few of the poorest parts of our society. In the highest offices, the plushest boardrooms, the most influential jobs, we need to think about the example we are setting,” Cameron said.
At Acton University in June, Metropolitan Jonah said if the West suffers from poverty, it is the poverty of loneliness. “What is secular inside of us is the root of consumerism,” he declared. He also noted, “The fruit of secularism is despair.”
The secularization of culture in the UK and beyond is why rioters fill their emptiness or disenchantment with material goods and gadgets, sadly, their most prized possessions. Ultimately, a meaningless loot to fill a life of disappointment and pain. Much has been made in pointing out the entitlement and welfare culture as the culprit of chaos and unrest. It is indeed responsible too, but carving it up, won’t solve the underlying affliction of our culture.