As you might expect in a sunshine-free silly season, the more paranoid elements of society are devoting their attention to a silly crusade. The current one, prompted by the sad death of Scouser Garry Newlove, is What To Do About The Youth Of Today (copyright Hesiod, 800BC).
As part of the moral panic, loony copper Peter Fahy wants to ban all drinking in public and raise the drinking age to 21; the former is an obviously appalling idea (picnic in the park with a bottle of wine? Ã‚Â£60 fixed penalty for you, matey), while the latter is unenforceable and grossly illiberal (err, 18-20 year olds are legally and actually adults, so how the hell can you justify taking away their right to drink?). Daily Mail readers everywhere are doubtless nodding their heads in approbation of a man so ruthlessly dedicated to the abolution of fun.
While left-wing commentators have a slightly less blame-the-kids-tacular take on things, many of them are also making a bizarre presumption: that “society as it is currently constituted cannot produce a virtuous citizenry” – in other words, that there is a real problem exemplified by Mr Newlove’s death. But there isn’t.
AÃ‚Â small minority of kids have started street fights, sometimes fatal, since the beginning of time – while most kids get a bit pissed, make some noise and annoy grown-ups with their rowdiness, but don’t kill anybody.
You were in the latter group as a kid; I was in the latter group as a kid; nearly all the kids today are also in the latter group, which is why nobody reading this article is likely toÃ‚Â know anyone [not ‘to have read in the paper about anyone’] who’s been killed or seriously hurt by Feral Teens (anyone? Bueller?)
Overall, the kids are alright; sometimes (only rarely, but more often that we’d like), good people will be killed in street fights; this fact sucks, but it’s better than imposing totalitarian extremism, orÃ‚Â some kind of bizarre communitarian Virtue Instillation,Ã‚Â in an effort to save a couple of lives a year.