Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The bastards are rioting

I thought a bit about the headline for this post. Should it be "The black bastards are rioting?" I decided not. Although the riots in London and elsewhere started with young black men, following the shooting by a police officer of a young black man, (from a police unit dedicated to addressing armed crime by young black men with guns) I do not think race or skin colour are key issues in these riots.

I considered "The poor bastards are rioting" but again rejected it. Given that the riots seem to be coordinated by Blackberry messaging, and other social media, implying smartphone and computer ownership, I think that would be misleading, and insulting to the genuinely poor.

But I stick with bastards. Certainly in Tottenham, where it is reported that 80% of families have no father living with them, I think bastardy is a real issue.

Of course it is not a very acceptable word, and we should not be prejudiced about an individual because of his or her parents' behaviour. Nevertheless, at a societal level, high numbers of children raised without fathers, in a culture where men can have women as they want, dump them as they want, and assume no responsibility for their progeny... well perhaps that helps us to understand some of what we have been witnessing.

The poverty is there, of course, but it is a poverty of understanding and of aspiration. These youths are not seeking social change, justice, equality or any other noble aspiration that might, at some level, raise these riots to a degree of worthiness. No, they are seeking the kicks of arson, the thrills of getting their own back on the police, and the free loot they can take from the shops they are targetting.

But the primary responsibility, it seems to me, lies with the absent fathers, and with a society that has allowed (and indeed encouraged) this culture to develop, whereby there is no stigma attached to the fathers of bastards, and no serious attempt made to address the consequent subculture of feckless young men intent only on their own gratification.

As I had cause to remark recently, we have sown the wind and are reaping the whirlwind - and the worst is yet to come.

So pray for them all - and for us all, who have failed them so badly...


I just saw these: Guido Fawkes has blogged on the same theme, and Fr Finigan's comments are worth reading, as always, and touch on this too.


Richard Collins said...

Yes, excellent post and I like your original header but it's not just absent fathers it is also semi absent mothers. These thugs are now the grandchildren of the latchkey kids generation.
We have to largely thank the Labour Party for making it politically incorrect for a mother t stay at home and look after family needs.
So many initiatives were launched in the period 1980-1995 aimed at funding the return of women to the workplace which resulted in the children basically having to look after themselves.

Ben Trovato said...


Perhaps, but I don't think the Tories can claim the moral high ground on this one either. Their abandonment of family values and basic morality has been equally shameful.

And there are our friends in the media, particularly the ever-wonderful BBC, who are also big players in this catastrophic collapse of civilised values, too.

robertatforsythe said...

In some respects it would be easy to find inflamatory comment in what you say. But then I look around my own family and reflect on the terrible pain family breakdown can cause. Something that even though I am past 50 can still cause me immense grief. I cannot fault Christ's analysis of human sin. In the end each individual must stand before God at judgement and cannot then say "it was my neighbour or my brother or my wife who led me astray". Those old terms of sin, evil and yes bastardy do stand. The family is pivotal to a society's success even though I respect individuals who positively choose different lifestyles. I will stand up for conservative values till the point I am asked to be homophobic and I will not do that.

Ben Trovato said...


'till the point I am asked to be homophobic.'

I would agree - or not. It all depends what you mean by homophobic.

If you mean someone who is hostile to (presumably because scared of - that's what phobic really means)) homosexual people, then I would agree.

If you mean someone who stands against the promotion of the 'gay lifestyle' as a valid alternative to marriage, then I would not.

By the first definition, I am certainly not homophobic; by the second I most certainly am.

But too often the word is used simply as an insult, a negative value-judgement used to stifle thinking and debate...