Roger Kimball, Runnin’ Scared Endorse Riots


While the Times focuses on Iraq and Caroline Kennedy and the Daily News bids us “heat up with these steamy celebrity swimsuit moments,” the Post takes a lonely populist angle on our recent wave of taxes and fare hikes. Under the title MORE HELL! it decries the recent “one-two punch to the gut of cash-strapped New Yorkers”; also, OUTRAGED NYERS HAMMER TAX HIKE.

While, on the editorial page, the Times says the budget “can surely be improved upon,” the Post says “Ouch” — though, constitutionally unable to advocate government programs to put people to work, it instead demands Paterson fire more government employees and thus “share the pain.”

In the panjandrum precincts of the web, outsiders gape and cluck. Bowtied toff Roger Kimball asks “Why aren’t people rioting in the streets?” His colleague Professor Glenn Reynolds replies that “people now only riot over select ethnic grievances,” but he’s from Tennessee, and thus inclined to attribute all our troubles to obstreperous minorities.

But local outrage is alarmingly sparse and muted; Room Eight denounces our “AARP-eligible” leaders of “Generation Greed” who, “when there isn’t enough money to go around,” never “tell those of their own generations they will have to give something back.” Generally it is left to conservative outfits such as the Neighborhood Retail Alliance to call for more cuts and less taxation.

We are convinced by history, and recent history at that, that further cuts would be imposed upon the most needful and vulnerable sectors of our society. But what we think — or what you think for that matter, as the recent term limits coup showed — does not seem to factor into the calculations of our leaders. So maybe it is time for some sort of civil eruptions to attract attention. Throwing shoes is a good start, but maybe a beer tax riot emanating from one of our few remaining Blarney Stones would do more to attract the notice of government officials who at this point seem only aware of our imagined capacity to kick in more of our rapidly diminishing earnings toward an increasingly lousy governance. If you pay for a seat at the table and get shunted out to the hall, the only recourse is to complain to the management.


Most Popular