Riots and Stock Market CrashesAugust 9, 2011
I cannot give a long, detailed assessment of the current global crises, but I can give a response based upon established biblical truth.
These days, thousands of youth are rioting in the streets of London. It is not the “fact” of rioting that is most interesting, it is the reason. In recent years, rioting has fallen into one of three categories: political, crime-related or social protest. Political: people rioting because they want a change of government. This is what has fueled the riots of the so-called “Arab Spring”. Crime-Related: The Rodney King riots or many of the reactive riots in Syria at the moment protest the way the official police or court policy has handled affairs. Social Protest: The government or other entities are doing things that a portion of the society disagrees with. Think of the 60s anti-war protests, gay rights or anti-abortion marches, or even the anti-apartheid protests of the 80s. The race riots in Britain twenty years ago were the last time we saw violence in the streets of London.
So what is fueling this latest round of violence? Actually, not much of anything, other than selfish human nature. According to interviews done with some typical protesters on London’s streets, the violence was just “something to do to relieve boredom.” An Associated Press reporter this morning asked one young lady who was looting a store why she was doing it. Her answer: “We are simply doing our part to have class equality”. And then she laughed. Most of the organizers of this protest are using Twitter and Facebook to get the crowds out. The only universally stated goal is “anarchy and lots of it” as one infamous Twitter post reads.
Anarchy is the desire of the human heart to have “no one to tell me what to do”. The book of Judges has this theme going through it: “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes“. Anarchy says “might is right”. Anarchy says “if it works, we support it, if it fails it was wrong”. Anarchy says “there is no absolute truth”. Anarchy says “All men are created equal; but some are more equal than others”.
In America, we have always hated the idea of a society that is anything less than free. We like everything free. We want a free Internet, free voting, free enterprise, free health care, free education, free speech, free press, freedom to bear arms…on and on. But freedom is always only a quarter of a step away from anarchy. A free market is allowed to do anything it wants. When the banks started betting on each other’s assets (also known as Mortgage based Securities), it sent our economy into a semi-permanent nose-dive. We all want everything to be free, but we don’t realize it all has a price. The free Internet destroys jobs faster than the failing economy. People used to get paid to book flights, write articles, market songs, make movies, sell books and clothes – most of which are done online now through computers. The people who used to do those jobs are unemployed and have too much time on their hands. In a society like Britain, when you have too many youths with too much time on their hands, a few Tweets and the candy store down the street looks like a good investment. A rock and an angry yell make the perfect down payment for anarchy.
According to the New America Foundation, an independent think tank, our true unemployment rate is 19.2% in America, and almost 40% of those are now “permanently” unemployed. This means that even if we pay people to stay home (through unemployment) and pay their medical and pay their public transportation, at some point they will get bored with staying home and will find some reason to hit the streets.
The stock market crash of yesterday is only a symptom of many people getting their money out of what looks like a sinking ship. What will happen when it feels like all ships are sinking? Without God as our anchor, and a public consensus of morals, civilization can become chaos in a moment. It could happen in six months if we do not pray right now. Pray that people will get tired of anarchy and boundless greed and will gather together to turn back to God. Really turn to God, not in a religious way (appeasing God) but in a relational way (knowing God and his ways).