Thursday, August 11, 2011

England in Flames: The Arrogance of Entitlement

Guardian photo

I'm in London now, I am sad and literally devastated by the riots and the turn of events that has gotten it to this place. The emerging youths that are getting involved in looting need to stay away as it is only a matter of time for someone else to get hurt or go to jail senselessly. Urging the families and the parents of the young kids to keep them home. Communities need to stick together to keep them away. Not just London but nationwide, please keep them home and safe.
Idris Elba, The handsome east London-born star of Luther, The Office and The Wire, has told the Guardian:

I do not believe that Mr. Elba became a fine actor because of his race, his good-looks, or any sense of entitlement. God Bless this fine gentleman.

I spent some time in Great Britain and Ireland. The British custom of the queue is unlike anything here in America. The Queue is the lining up of passengers, or customers for transportation, entertainment or goods. It is an example of what is best in man -manners, courtesy and humility. People wait in line, or rather they did.

Americans need signs posted and a contest recording on modes of transportation to allow the disabled, expectant mothers and the elderly, first passage aboard buses and trains. Americans do not queue - they position.

I worked as a janitor and as a dock worker for Gateway Transportation and Shipping, while I was in high school and college. As a janitor, was would clean toilets and use a sifter to clean sand filled ash-trays (remember them). Very often, I might be seen by friends and neighbors at my menial unskilled tasks for which I was paid the prevailing wage, because I paid union dues. The prevailing wage for a janitor was about $2.85 in 1970. Janitors were largely immigrants from eastern European countries and college punks like me. The immigrants worked like dogs and sad to confess too often this college punk dogged the work, because was only paying my tuition at Little Flower and Loyola. The Ukrainian, Polish, Romanian, Lithuanian, Russian, Greek and Croatian DPs were earning the rent, the groceries and saving what they could.

I worked like a dog on the docks at Gateway Trucking originally located near Western and Cermak and later out in Chicago Ridge on Harlem at about 106th. Gateway was the largest trucking dock in the Midwest at the time. It went bankrupt in the 1980's, was taken over by Yellow Trucking and is now a rust-belt ghost town. I was a casual -non-union freight humper. We were on call and when called in you showed up, or you didn't work again. The Teamsters were the highly skilled truckers and fork-lift drivers. Some Teamsters supervised the casuals. In the winter the dock was brutally cold, but you kept warm by staying busy. You were entitled to one bathroom break every two hours and a twenty minute lunch each eight hour shift. You were entitled to your pay, which was more than a union janitor made, back then - about $ 4.25 an hour.

When not working I was reading American, Russian, British, Classical Latin literature and studying the core curriculum for a bachelor of arts degree. The education I received at both Little Flower High School and Loyola University was priceless. On the wall of Marquette Center at the Rush Street Campus were the Latin quotations of The Great Jesuit Thinkers, Ignatius Loyola, Aloysius Gonzaga, Saints. and Scripture.
One that struck me the most was this one -Initium sapientiae timor domini est: The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord.

Like the United States, Great Britain has turned God into a guest on Bill Moyers for PBS - God is, if He must Be at all, a champion of diversity, Gay marriage, Abortion, and a Class warfare firebrand. The Archbishop of Canterbury has come out in favor of Sharia Law and embraces diversity.

Diversity erases any and all crimes - assault, arson, looting, the odd rape here and there.

London and other cities in Great Britain look like the Blitz Reenactment - not because of poverty, Class, or oppression. The diverse youth are looting because diversity is the father of entitlement. Entitlement means you are a God!

In Chicago demi-Gods kill with impunity, because they may do so without fear.

The Media has portrayed murdering, gang-banging thugs as victims and heart-tugging urchins. Ever since the media played Yummie Sandifer as a martyr to 'not not doing enough for thugs' Chicago has enjoyed a willful slide into Apocalypse. There is no respect for Law, because there is no fear of anything. God?

God is for gun-hugging, toothless breeder hillbillies.

I don't buy that sorghum. I was educated by real scholars who understood that learning is a two-edged sword - it cuts its way to wisdom, or to hubris. Wisdom requires humility. Hubris requires only entitlement. Nothing is free. Education is costly -then, now and always. The more one invests in pursuit of that end, the more one values it as a whole.

My tastes in literature run to sensibilities developed between John Dryden and William Makepeace Thackeray - it often called in the canon of literature Augustan or Neo-classical. It holds that science is a tool and not an end. That understanding that Man is a creature and not a God is wisdom.

Alexander Pope's Essay on Man presents this little fire extinguisher:

Of systems possible, if ’tis confest
That wisdom infinite must form the best,
Where all must full or not coherent be,
And all that rises, rise in due degree;
Then in the scale of reasoning life, ’tis plain,
There must be, somewhere, such a rank as man:
And all the question (wrangle e’er so long)
Is only this, if God has placed him wrong?
Respecting man, whatever wrong we call,
May, must be right, as relative to all.
In human works, though laboured on with pain,
A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain;
In God’s one single can its end produce;
Yet serves to second too some other use.
So man, who here seems principal alone,
Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown,
Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal;
’Tis but a part we see, and not a whole.

I worked as a janitor and on a loading dock in order to become an English teacher. I hope that was an adequate one. Sifting ash-tray sand for cigar, cigarette butts, wrappers, wads of used tissue, unplugging toilets, mopping up everything imaginable, dumping trash into rat-happy gondolas is not humbling. Humping freight is not humbling. I was blessed t learn that I am entitled to nothing; therefore, I am not terribly inclined to bump the queue, smash windows and grab Reboks. Study and work are part of the whole.

Arrogant Man is burning the cities of Great Britain and shooting anyone on the streets of Chicago.

No comments: