Friday, 18 January 2008


Expressing anger over the murder of Garry Newlove, Judge Ian Trigger has spoken out about a country ‘bedevilled by feral youth.’ He has blamed a society obsessed with ‘rights’. But does the problem go deeper than this?
Certainly, the idea of ‘rights above duties’ has an eventual effect on the person, demanding what he wants, and determined to get them. But in many ways, this is nothing more than an extension of the present consumer ethic.

If a society promises you everything, some will object when they don’t get it.

Of course, this is no excuse, but the simple fact is, crime is nearly always based in the ideas prevalent in a society at the time.
Bearing this in mind, we can only truly get to grips with crime when we fully understand the society that produces it. And the ‘consumer ethic’ is not the only problem when it comes to placing anti-social ideas in the mind of our youth.

The individual is king.

This is another demand of a consumer society, for if you are not an individual, you do not have absolute choice. And what is consumerism if there is no choice?
But the down side of individualism is that community suffers. And without community, we soon find parts of the population deciding they’re different from the rest, full stop. And when this happens, ‘others’ are dehumanized in their mind.
Feral youth is certainly a problem in our communities. It must be stamped out by more police on the streets, and a harder interpretation of our laws. Such things go without saying. But crime is never defeated by law and order measures alone.

© Anthony North, January 2008


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