The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It is the Best of times, it is the worst of times

There are a couple of things in the news this week which have caused me to ponder on life and on social order. These things are the events in Syria and England. There can be no greater contrast of social order and conflict than those two.

Let's take Syria first. Syria is a political dictatorship with a fairly rigid social structure. The hopes of greater freedom under Bashir al-Assad have not materialized in the 11 years of his stewardship. His father, Hafez al-Assad, had ruled with an iron hand for 29 years before him. And now the people, encouraged by the so-called "Arab Spring" have begun to challenge him. He has responded much as his father would have, with tanks and guns and cruelty. The reaction of despots is almost always violence and more oppression.

Now let's look at England. Protests in London have been escalating. These protests began over the killing of a 29 year old black man by police. The protests quickly expanded into riots. Like the "Arab Spring", the escalation of the protests has been aided by the internet and the use of cell phones. The protesters have access to quick communications and can then react to changes in the street, leave one area and head to another in response to police action. I believe there are, as in Syria, opportunists who have helped escalate the protests into riots. The short term opportunists are seeking "booty" by looting stores and businesses. The long term opportunists likely believe they can instigate a change in social order.

In Syria, I am not so sure the short term opportunists are an important factor. It's hard to tell, the news is tightly controlled there. They may merely be "tools" of the long term opportunists although I am fairly sure they would not see it that way themselves.

In both countries, efforts are being made to restore order. But there is a great difference in how that is being done. And I think that we should pay attention to that difference. Because that difference is the difference between a free society and a dictatorship.

I seem to be getting political this week. Sorry.


Tom Sightings said...

And Americans beat up on themselves because we argue and bicker and can't seem to compromise. At least we don't shoot one another, loot stores and businesses, and attack the police (at least, not for the most part) ... although I agree with the implicit message in your "Ouch" post, that we should all learn to compromise and get along a little better, for the good of the country and our retirement funds.

Douglas4517 said...

I seem to recall a few times... Watts, Newark, Detroit (back in the 60's and then there's the WTO in Seattle not so many years ago) But I was more concerned with how G.B. and the U.S. handle such things as opposed to places like Syria or China.