I like four paragraphs below in Russell Brand's piece the best.  The rest is
mostly about behavior of individuals and their, and his, personal
motivations.  Also, he needs to figure out that he was born in a capitalist
system, as were the rest of us, and we have to earn a living.  There are no
"pure" occupations or ways of acting.

He does not take the next logical step for what to do in the face of a
ruling corporate class.  Organize.  In a ruthless, capitalistic system that
drives down wages to increase profits, young people [and their elders] will
not be "given a sense of community," they have to take power from the ruling
class while creating it.  I wish I knew what would work.


"Why am I surprised that these young people behave destructively,
"mindlessly", motivated only by self-interest? How should we describe the
actions of the city bankers who brought our economy to its knees in 2010?
Altruistic? Mindful? Kind? But then again, they do wear suits, so they
deserve to be bailed out, perhaps that's why not one of them has been
imprisoned. And they got away with a lot more than a few fucking pairs of

These young people have no sense of community because they haven't been
given one. They have no stake in society because Cameron's mentor Margaret
Thatcher told us there's no such thing.

If we don't want our young people to tear apart our communities then don't
let people in power tear apart the values that hold our communities

As you have by now surely noticed, I don't know enough about politics to
ponder a solution and my hands are sticky with blood money from representing
corporate interests through film, television and commercials, venerating,
through my endorsements and celebrity, products and a lifestyle that
contributes to the alienation of an increasingly dissatisfied underclass.
But I know, as we all intuitively know, the solution is all around us and it
isn't political, it is spiritual. Gandhi said: "Be the change you want to
see in the world."

From:  Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:  Science for the People Discussion List
<[log in to unmask]>
Date:  Sun, 14 Aug 2011 15:27:27 +0200
To:  <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:  Re: Prof Michael Ruse's Take on the British "Riots"

List members might relate even better to Russell Brand's take on the British


On Sun, Aug 14, 2011 at 3:24 PM, S E Anderson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Britain's "Riots"
> By Michael Ruse <>
> ...who directs the program in history and philosophy of science at Florida
> State University. His forthcoming book is Science and Spirituality: Making
> Room for Faith in the Age of Science.
> * August 12, 2011-- <>
> I feel a little bit like I am on one of those overnight flights from Atlanta
> to Gatwick. It is seven in the morning, you have a bit of a headache, and you
> want to stretch your legs. You can see the English countryside below. Above
> all you want to get down and get on with your life. And then the captain tells
> you that traffic is stacked up and you spend the next hour flying in circles
> until you can land. I have a pile of things stacked up‹pieces I want to
> write‹and no matter how much I write, they seem to multiply and I cannot get
> on. I am flying in circles.
> I really do want to write about Brighton Pavilion, but before that I must turn
> to some of the things said after my column on Muslim girls. And before that,
> there is evolutionary ethics to bring to a conclusion. And before that‹and
> really pressing‹are those riots in England.
> So let's start with the last, and first let me thank David Barash for his
> column written in response to my request. Like David, I don't think a theory,
> however good, can or should speak to everything. That is the problem with
> Freud, not to mention Jesus. But since what is going on in England is so
> animal, it would be surprising if Darwinian evolutionary theory had nothing to
> say, and as David shows it does‹about alienated young men.
> That is a good start towards understanding, even though obviously it isn't
> everything. One reason why it isn't everything is that, although the news is
> only coming through in bits and pieces, it is clear that a lot of the
> troublemakers are not in fact unemployed, alienated people from non-English
> originating races (if I may so put it), but perfectly respectable white kids,
> with jobs, who have been caught up in things. There are years of work for
> sociologists here, but one factor does seem to have been modern technology,
> where people text each other and so forth spreading the news about where
> action is taking place. A bored or thrill-seeking young person in Kensington
> can get right on public transport and head for Brixton or wherever. So, as
> David Barash and every other evolutionary biologist would agree, biology is
> important but so also is culture. The problem is disentangling the two.
> I was amazed at some of the unabashed racist comments that my piece
> occasioned. Along the lines of "Why don't those savages go back to where they
> came from and leave decent Brits alone? We didn't ask them to come." Just so
> we know what we are talking about, the reference is first to the huge influx
> of people of African descent coming after the War from the West Indies, and
> then around 1960 or so another huge influx of people of Asian origin,
> generally from Pakistan. And there were others. Lots of Irish for instance,
> and many Cypriots escaping the troubles on their fractured island.
> I don't think anyone would deny that whatever the ultimate pros and cons of
> the influx‹and because I left England fifty years ago I am not going to get
> into that‹it happened in a haphazard way and without planning or much else.
> There was no vetting or consideration of the country's needs and capabilities
> or whatever (as there certainly was in places like Canada and Australia, who
> incidentally in those days didn't take any such people as those coming to
> Britain). But remember why it happened. It was a consequence of the ideology
> of Empire. The Brits went out and helped themselves to a third of the world.
> They justified this in part by saying that they were civilizing and that
> everyone had equal rights. And bulwark of this argument was the right of
> everyone to move around the Empire, including going to the Mother Country,
> freely. So don't blame people for taking advantage of an opportunity.
> I note that the conservative government of David Cameron is getting right into
> the "Let's not get soft on these thugs. What they need is not understanding,
> but punishment‹hard and severe." I have not yet seen a call to bring back the
> birch, but I bet it will come. I will simply also note, that that very same
> Prime Minister Cameron, when a student at Oxford, belonged‹as did Boris
> Johnson, the lord mayor of London‹to an institution known as the "Bullingdon
> Club." This is a group of high-class, male toffs, who wear a silly uniform
> making them look like escapees from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, but also
> who have the habit of going to a hotel and absolutely trashing it. Daddy's
> money then pays for the repairs. "Whited sepulchers" is the phrase that comes
> to mind. The very Platonic form of hypocrisy.
> On a final, more uplifting note. I mentioned that when in Croydon, my friend
> and I visited the Victorian church designed by George Gilbert Scott. Sitting
> in the back pews, around four o'clock, we noticed a little girl of about 10,
> dressed in a school uniform‹white shirt, maroon sweater, grey skirt and knee
> socks‹bustling about in a knowing way, carrying bits and pieces here and
> there. Seeing that it was choral evensong shortly, I asked her if she was in
> the choir, to which she replied that she was indeed. She was someone whose
> grandparents or even great grandparents had come to England from the West
> Indies, probably in the 1950s. She, it seems to me, is the irrefutable counter
> to my racist commentators.
> --------------------
> Evolution and Other Riots
> By David Barash
> an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University
> of Washington.
> August 9, 2011-- <>
> In an earlier post, Michael Ruse asked me how evolution might help explain the
> British riots.
> In this regard, I'm sympathetic with one reader's comment that maybe it isn't
> incumbent upon evolution to have anything to say in this regard. On the other
> hand, it seems to me that any perspective that claims to provide deep and wide
> insight into human behavior‹ including but not limited to Freudian, Marxist,
> feminist, post-modernist, pre- or post-apocalyptic, millenarian and
> theoprotonucleohermeneutic‹should have something to contribute when it comes
> to events that are themselves widespread, oft-encountered, important, and, in
> all probability, deeply implanted in the human repertoire. Violent riots and
> trouble-making would certainly appear to qualify. So thank you, Michael, for
> asking.
> My immediate response is to think of those irascible, violence-prone
> subordinate elephant seals (all of them male), who find themselves socially
> excluded from polite and successful elephant seal society, since breeding
> opportunities have been monopolized by a small number of highly successful
> harem-masters. It's a problem faced especially by males in nearly all
> polygynous species: Kept out of the social (and biological) fast lane, they
> have very little to lose and much to gain by shaking things up, making
> trouble, attempting to disrupt the status quo, even at the risk of serious
> injury or their own death. In other species, such individuals account for most
> of the violence, simply because having little or no stake in the existing
> "system," they make the best of their bad situation by recourse to violence.
> Here I can certainly be accused (not for the first or last time) of allowing
> my political inclinations to color my scientific analysis, but it seems to me
> that insofar as the foregoing is valid, an evolutionary perspective suggests
> that there is deep wisdom in structuring things in a way that minimizes the
> sense of helplessness and hopelessness on the part of those at the "bottom" of
> the socioeconomic ladder. I'm not about to advocate social (i.e., socialistic)
> policies of equal opportunity, income equity, enhanced availability of medical
> care, education, job opportunities with the prospect of advancement, etc. Š
> for elephant seals.
> But for people? Hell, yes!
> ---------------------------------------
> s. e. anderson is author of "The Black Holocaust for Beginners"
> Social Activism is not a hobby: it's a Lifelong Commitment.
> <>

Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]
Web: <>

³Faced with the choice between changing one¹s mind and proving that there is
no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
                                                  --John Kenneth Galbraith