After ‘Arab Spring?’
A fascinating look at recent world events
Why did Britain burn from August 6-10, 2011? What made rioters take innocent lives, loot shops, and set them on fire? How could Anders Behring Breivik murder 91 fellow Norwegians on July 22? Why did Greeks go to the streets in May, protesting against $153 billion being offered to bail out their economy? At the start of this decade, who would have predicted that in less than two years Pakistan would have better credit ratings (BB-) than Greece (CCC), the so called “cradle of Western civilization”? That Capitalism’s engine – America – would have its credit ratings downgraded to AA+ and would borrow $4 billion every single day to keep its unemployed from rioting?
But the critical question is this: Can America be saved from the evil that has gripped so much of its education, religion, economy, politics, law, media, and entertainment? The secular intellectuals are clever; they have succeeded in turning Wall Street into a casino that makes many of them super-wealthy. In doing so, economic experts produced by Ivy League universities are driving Western nations into bankruptcy whilst anticipating thatand transformation will blossom during the “Arab Spring”. The secular worldview is simply too naïve to understand the West or teach the Arab world how to build a civilization that is free and just with equal opportunity for all.
Tragedy triggered the protests that were naively dubbed the “Arab Spring.” On December 16, 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor in Tunisia was approached by a city official, looking for a bribe. Bouazizi was unable to repay his $200 loan and so the official publically abused him. Bouazizi went to the governor's office to complain and when the governor refused to see him, Bouazizi set himself aflame. His self-immolation initiated the deadly demonstrations and riots that forced Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to relinquish the Presidency of Tunisia on January 14, 2011after twenty-three years of mis-rule.
The ‘fire’ spread to Egypt, forcing Hosni Mubarak to quit after 30 years of oppressive rule. Protests in Libya, Bahrain, and Syria deposed two despots, but weeding is not gardening. Leaders relied on the Islamic tradition of the rule-by-the-sword to fight back the wild fires of freedom and exposed the naivety of the Liberal expectation that Twitter can triumph over tanks.
Bouazizi had burned himself protesting against a civilization that denies human dignity and ridicules the idea of servant-leadership. These noble ideas of human rights and leadership came from the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Renaissance writers understood the meaning of Christ’s incarnation: if God had incarnated as a human being, then man possessed a unique value and dignity that had to be respected by the state. If the Deity sacrificed Himself on the cross to save sinful humanity, then leadership had to mean servant-hood.
Secular intellectuals ridicule the theological truths that seeded the kind of civilization that Muslim nations are now seeking. Islam itself abhors incarnation and the cross. But if Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are to liberate them from Islamic tyranny, social media will have to be used to challenge not just dictators but the very worldview that has dehumanized and oppressed Muslim nations.
It was Twitter and Facebook that brought out social media rioters looking for electronic gadgets, trendy clothing and designer shoes, costing the British economy around $400 million. The London riots began because the Metropolitan Police shot dead 29-year old Mark Duggan. Police believed that he was planning to take revenge on those who had stabbed and killed his best friend, and claim to have shot Mark in self-defence. Mark and Kevin were linked to the Star Gang, a part of London’s blooming gang culture that has little respect for the traditional British value of lawful work and family life. It does not appear that Mark had a job. He was not married, but had fathered at least three children from one girlfriend, Semone Wilson.
But, it is important to ask: Was Mark Duggan a victim of poverty? Or was he the victim of the postmodern secular culture that controls Hollywood, glamorizing out-of-wedlock sex, promoting a heroism that is not heroic enough to love and serve one’s own family, and killing the soul of a once-great civilization?
The rioters too were victims of a secular culture that teaches that the poor have a right to covet the wealth of productive citizens: that a democratic state exists to take from those who create wealth and distribute it to families whose fathers spend their time in night-clubs. However, this “entitlement culture” of the poor is not as damaging as the entitlement culture of the super rich. Towards the end of July 2011, the US Government’s Accountability Office published an eye-popping report revealed the $16 trillion spent secretly bailing out the wealthiest banks and financial institutions of the capitalist world order. Why? Because the managers, who get paid millions of dollars in salaries and bonuses, keep sinking the ships they pilot. They believe that they are entitled to be bailed out by honest tax payers because they are “too big to fail.”
The London mobs and the captains of secular capitalism are produced by the same entitlement culture. The difference is that Mark’s loved ones did have a right to demand an inquiry into his death. They had the right to expect that Britain’s law-enforcing agencies will behave better than Libya’s and Syria’s. A culture shaped by the Bible required that all human authorities function under the authority of God’s law that says, “Thou shall not commit murder.” The problem is that a group that had gathered to demand rule of law started an orgy of lawlessness because it had not internalized the spiritual source of British culture.
On August 7, riots and looting spread to other areas of London as the police stood and watched without interfering. By August 9, when mobs began looting Manchester city centre and Salford, Mark Duggan’s death was no longer an issue. By 13 August, police had arrested 2,275 people of whom more than 1,000 have been charged. The riots took a toll of five lives. The protests that turned into violent riots were the outcome of a secular education that has systematically destroyed the respect for law, moral conscience, love for nation, and fear of God. The mass criminality of the mobs exposed the foolishness of the cultural elite, who thought that they could use education, media, and entertainment to destroy the fear of God, and the biblical ideas of truth, (morality, conscience, self-government, sex, love, marriage, family, personal responsibility, social discipline, work, good neighbourliness, nation, and patriotism), and, at the same time, retain virtue, freedom, and a social order that fosters economic growth.
A teenage girl explained the riots to a BBC correspondent: “We are looting”, she said, “to tell the rich and the government that we can do whatever we want.” That young woman needs to be heard. She was informing the world that Britain’s secular education has bred plenty of women who are no different than Tunisia’s Faida Hamdi, whose corruption forced Bouazizi’s self-immolation and the Arab Spring.
Britain’s riots expose the folly that is destroying the West from within. Riots are a recurring phenomenon in France and by the time the riots begin in America they will be much worse. After all, the UK has only about 2 million single-parent families. America has approximately 14 million. Over 40% of American youth are growing up without their own fathers. Officially, unemployment in America is just above 9%, but among black youth in Washington DC it has reached 51%. The greater threat of social unrest, however, comes from the rich, not from the poor. American riots are likely to resemble Greece’s than Britain’s.
American’s 12-member Super-Committee now has the job of to dismantling the entitlement culture of the poor that David Cameron’s government has been forced to undertake in UK. Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy are facing a similar need to reduce the entitlements of those who have been taught that governments exist to take care of them from the cradle to the grave.
Thankfully, the British government did not treat the rioters like “rats and cockroaches” (Muammar Gaddafi).However, Anders Behring Breivik, did treat fellow-Norwegians exactly as Gaddafi said they should be treated. Why did he do so? Because Western universities have raised a whole generation now that actually believes that human beings are nothing but evolved cockroaches. What Breivik did as an individual, Germany had done as a state, barely seven decades ago, under its own Gaddafi. But racism is not an Aryan monopoly. Race will become a menace unless educating people includes teaching them to obey the command, “love your neighbour as yourself.”
The West’s decline must teach the developing world the lesson that Moses taught a bunch of Hebrew slaves in order to transform them into a mighty and prosperous nation. He said that their wilderness experience was meant to teach them that “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”
Europeans who went to colonize South America were looking for gold. The Puritans who came to North America were seeking God. North America ended up with God as well as gold. America (and much of Europe) is running out of gold now because secularized education has been teaching that gold was the only god worth seeking. Its greed-driven economics has bankrupted the West’s soul and stalled its progress. The way to rebuild a better future is to follow the exhortation, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness then all these [material] things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Vishal Mangalwadi is the author of The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization. (Published by Thomas Nelson)