Sunday, August 7, 2011

Riots and things

In the last year or two, Milwaukee has developed a problem. I would call it the "mob problem" or maybe the "Augustine Syndrome", although that might not be quite accurate. It started, as far as I can remember at Mayfair Mall. The linked story was not, I think, the first riot-like event at Mayfair. Apparently this one was the result of a flash-mob game of freeze tag, or at least that's what was said at first. I'll have more about flash-mobs later. More recently, however, there has been what some might call a rash of incidents after/during the summer festival activities. The first of these was when a group of "youth" entered the Riverwest neighborhood and apparently beat people up and ransacked a BP station on July 4th, right after the Summerfest fireworks. And just this past weekend, on the opening night of the Wisconsin State Fair, a group of youth ran through the Midway attacking people etc.

Here's what one blogger had to say about it.

Some have said that it is racially motivated and a hate crime. Sometimes I have to wonder if some people "just want to watch the world burn" (The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan). This is of course why I called it the Augustine syndrome. Augustine, in his Confessions tells about an incident when he and his friends stole into a neighboring orchard, picked the pears off the trees and just threw them about. He did not want to eat the pears, he just wanted to cause trouble. Of course, Augustine became a saint, so you never know what's going to happen. However, conversion doesn't just happen. Augustine was educated in the best schools and his mother prayed for him constantly. I don't know, sounds like it might help these hooligans.

I really need to get back to that educational theory I'm developing...

On a related note, there was another riot in Tottenham in England. There seems to be a lot of rioting recently, even in so-called democracies. (I know, technically the US and the UK are not democracies.) It brings to mind the ideas of Polybius the Roman historian. His claim is that each form of government has its corrupted form. A monarchy becomes a tyranny, an aristocracy becomes an oligarchy and a democracy becomes mob-rule. Each abuse is solved by instituting the next form of government, or trying to combine them like the US tried to do with minimal success. Anyway, living in a country with an attempt at a mixture of them, we are tempted to think that none of the abuses will happen.

Well, they still do and even worse we really don't see it coming. Another post may be needed to explain how these occur in our system, but these riots and mobs show that the concept of mob-rule is truly just around the corner. And the only way to change that is someone with enough resources to quell the mob and establish a monarchy. It's happened before. Maybe it needs to now.

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