Joy, cont.

Rhona N. wrote in a comment that the rioters’ motive for rioting, destroying buildings and buses, beating and murdering people, looting endless amounts of consumer goods, and sending Britain’s gelded police fleeing from them like sheep is not deprivation but joy, the joy of destruction and of unchecked power. JC from Houston responds:

There does really seem to be something to Rhona N.’s assertion that the rioters in the UK aren’t really angry about anything at all. The talking heads on the MSM all speak of unemployment, cuts to services, racism, etc.

An article linked at the blog OneSTDV says:

“If the Egyptians in Tahrir Square wanted democracy and if the anarchists in Athens wanted more government spending, the hooded men in British streets want 46-inch flat-screen high-definition televisions. They aren’t smashing the headquarters of the Tory Party; they are smashing clothing shops … Someone circulated a text message on Monday night, calling friends to central London for “Pure terror and havoc & Free stuff … just smash shop windows and cart out da stuff u want!”

and another excerpt:

” … they have nothing of substance to champion. They do not support a particular goal or larger objective for society. They merely want to break sh*t, burn sh*t, and steal sh*t.”

So I think Rhona may have a point.

JC’s comment inspires me to write this take-off on Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” (to be sung, of course, to the theme of the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony):

Joy, bright spark of demonism,
Daughter of the Nanny State,
Fire-inspired we loot and plunder
Britain which we loathe and hate.

Re-united by your power,
We, the mighty of the earth,
All are brothers now and ever,
Living off the white man’s wealth.

* * *

Here is the original of the first two stanzas, and two English translations. As you can see, the poem offers numerous further possibilities for parody on the riots and looting which I couldn’t get into in my version, e.g., “tread thy sanctuary,” “beggars become princes’ brothers,” etc.

Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum.

Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was der Mode Schwert geteilt
Alle Menschen werden Brueder
[alt: Bettler werden Fuerstenbrueder]
Wo dein sanfter Fluegel weilt.

First translation

Joy, bright spark of divinity,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire-inspired we tread
Thy sanctuary.

Thy magic power re-unites
All that custom has divided,
All men become brothers
Under the sway of thy gentle wings

Second translation

Joy, beautiful spark of Gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter, fire-imbibed,
Heavenly, thy sanctuary.

Thy magic powers re-unite
What custom’s sword has divided
Beggars become Princes’ brothers
Where thy gentle wing abides.


Thucydides writes:

The mantra that the rioters are acting because of deprivation reflects the liberals’ need to protect their faith in the natural goodness and rationality of human beings. The idea that the rioters are simply on a destructive rampage for the pleasure they find in such radically unconstrained self-expression, for which there is ample evidence, is inadmissible. It would overturn the philosophical anthropology which is an essential foundation of liberalism. Without this assumption, liberal meliorism and progressivism, that is, liberal utopianism, which is their eschaton, would be seen as fatuous. Accordingly, liberals have long since abandoned any version of the doctrine of original sin, that there are “springs of irrational and insane wickedness in most men.”

In the liberals’ view, evil behavior is always due to institutional failures external to the individual, who is seen as a kind of generic cipher, devoid of moral agency. What is called for is therapeutic and compensatory intervention. Individuals only misbehave as a result of justified anger caused by injustice.

In contrast, those with the classical or tragic view of man, one of expressions of which was the doctrine of original sin, see individuals as morally responsible and institutions and traditions as essential for their civilizing and liberating influence on a deeply flawed human nature. Among these essential institutions is police authority to deal with crime, a vital social asset the British have squandered.

August 16

John L. writes (August 13):

I’ve never seen or heard the Ode to Joy with the line, “Bettler werden Fuerstenbrueder,” before. It’s always been “Alle Menschen werden Brueder.” The first translation you posted translates the version I know, the second translation translates the version you posted.

LA replies:

That is odd. I’ll stick in the familiar “Alle Menschen” line, putting the “Bettler werden” below it as an alternative.

Also, the “Alle Menschen” fits with my own take-off of that line: “All are brothers … “, with the big emphasis and sustained note on “All” or “Alle.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 11, 2011 05:13 PM | Send

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