Wednesday, August 10, 2011

That word "respect" again

You do not have to subscribe to the liberal-left agenda to understand the role of "respect" in society. In fact, this is as much a right-wing concept and one with which the military is entirely familiar. So fundamental is this concept that one could argue that, without it, there can be no society. And thus, we argue that the loss of respect is a significant causal factor in these riots.

Furthermore, we are not alone. Esther Addley talks a great deal of sense, writing about: "A generation who don't respect their parents or police". If there is a fault in what she writes, it is that her article is cast too narrowly. The broader point is that the loss of respect is not just confined to her subjects. One only has to read the forum attached to this blog to appreciate how far respect has been eroded across the board.

Looking at this from an entirely personal stance, I would readily concede that I have almost no respect for politicians, precious little for the institutions of state, and none at all for the police. Nor, I would suspect, am I alone in such a stance.

Now, the point is that if we are so lacking is that vital quality, why is it that we should be so adamant in expecting that those who many would prefer to think of as the "lower orders" should have any respect for the very institutions that we shun? Putting it personally again, how can I expect them to have any respect for the police when I have none?

In order then to take this thought further, we then have to remind ourselves that respect is not given but earned. If the "lower orders" do not respect our institutions, that is not their fault. We lack institutions which are worthy of respect, and capable of earning it. Of this, really, we must not lose sight. And when we fully take that on board, we might then start to make some progress.