We’d best pay attention to what’s really at the root of this violence and anarchy. It’s not just about Britain.

But that’s where the symptoms of social decay are vividly manifest at the moment. This article says a police shooting sparked the riots, just about everyone now blames a larger ‘system’. They’re just competing visions of which systems are culpable for the breakdown.

According to [British Prime Minister  David] Cameron and many others, a lack of responsibility is to blame. “Young people smashing windows and stealing televisions is not about inequality,” Cameron said. “When you have a deep moral failure you don’t hit it with a wall of money.”

On the other side was Labour leader Ed Miliband and many other Labour politicians, who argue that there is a link between “inequality and social order” and that the riots are a result of a deep disparity between Britain’s upper and lower classes.

This Reuters analysis says that, too.

That’s dreadfully off-base, warns British journalist Melanie Phillips, and lays bare the roots of spreading and unchecked cultural degradation.

So now the chickens have well and truly come home terrifyingly to roost. The violent anarchy that has taken hold of British cities is the all-too-predictable outcome of a three-decade liberal experiment which tore up virtually every basic social value.

The married two-parent family, educational meritocracy, punishment of criminals, national identity, enforcement of the drugs laws and many more fundamental conventions were all smashed by a liberal intelligentsia hell-bent on a revolutionary transformation of society.

Those of us who warned over the years that they were playing with fire were sneered at and smeared as Right-wing nutters who wanted to turn the clock back to some mythical golden age.

Now we can see what they have brought about in the unprecedented and horrific scenes of mob violence, with homes and businesses going up in flames, and epidemic looting.

There’s been some degree of co-ordination behind the anarchy, she notes, but what’s most distressing is that

this mayhem has been carried out in the main by teenagers and children, some as young as eight.

The idea that they should not steal other people’s property, or beat up and rob passers-by, appears to be as weird and outlandish to them as the suggestion that they should fly to the moon.

These youths feel absolutely entitled to go ‘on the rob’ and steal whatever they want. Indeed, they are incredulous that anyone should suggest they might pass up such an opportunity.

What has been fuelling all this is not poverty, as has so predictably been claimed, but moral collapse. What we have been experiencing is a complete breakdown of civilised behaviour among children and young people straight out of William Golding’s seminal novel about childhood savagery, Lord Of The Flies.

This is a raw and disturbing look, but a very real and clear one, at what went wrong that led to this.

As David Cameron observed yesterday, there are clearly pockets of society that are not just broken, but sick…

The causes of this sickness are many and complex…and at the very heart of these problems lies the breakdown of the family.

There it is. A scathing review of bad government overtaken by bad ideologies corrupting society through bad social programs that destroy human dignity and identity.

Read the whole thing.

Phillips wraps up with this:

Britain was once an ordered society that was the envy of the world — the most civilised, the most gentle and law-abiding.

Can Broken Britain be put together again?

She has suggestions:

Repairing this terrible damage also means, dare I say it, a return to the energetic transmission of Biblical morality…

When church leaders stop prattling like soft-headed social workers and start preaching, once again, the moral concepts that underlie our civilisation, and when our political leaders decide to oppose the culture war that has been waged against that civilisation rather than supinely acquiescing in its destruction, then — and only then — will we start to get to grips with this terrible problem.

Cameron says he has.

Not only have the rioters been immoral, he said, in many cases so have their parents… The potential consequences of neglect and immorality on this scale have been clear for too long, without enough action being taken.” He promised “a more moral Britain, a country where people behave better.”

Miliband has a different version of what action needs to be taken, but both leaders are taking care in laying out their version of the path to the same end.

Stray too far into condemning what he called “phoney human rights concerns” and Cameron will damage his claim to be a different kind of Tory. Harp on about the possible victimhood of criminals, and Miliband would lose voters to the right. That is why both converged today on the word responsibility. Now they need to define it.

And get on with taking it, for a change.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....