Baltimore Riots as Criminal Culture Writ Large

Ed Hudgins's picture
Submitted by Ed Hudgins on Thu, 2015-04-30 22:00

Baltimore Riots as Criminal Culture Writ Large
By Edward Hudgins

April 30, 2015 -- The rioting in Baltimore represents criminal culture writ large. It is what happens every day on a smaller scale in poor minority communities: theft, vandalism, and violence.

The flames in Baltimore hideously illuminate the fact that the culture of the welfare state creates the criminals and rioters that plague this city in my native state.

The cycle of poverty and violence

The ostensive cause of the riots was outrage at the death of Freddie Gray, a young black drug dealer with a long rap sheet, whose spine was injured when he was arrested.

Let me be clear that whatever the outcome of the investigation into this particular case, police overreaction is a real problem nationwide. And yes, most of those in Baltimore who protested excessive police force were peaceful. And also many responsible black community leaders were in the streets urging those bent on destruction to stop. Especially heartbreaking were Pastor Donte Hickman’s efforts to stop the violence as the senior and community center that his group was constructing burned to the ground. And yes, poverty and a lack of economic opportunities create frustration and a sense of impotence. And yes, the failed schools do not prepare young people for jobs. And yes, these factors contribute to inner-city crime.

The rioting was followed by anguished politicians, community leaders, and citizens coming together to declare that such violence does not represent the community and must stop now, and that the underlying causes must be dealt with.

But we see on a smaller scale such sad scenes of crime and violence all the time in Baltimore and other cities across the country. A child is killed in the cross-fire of a drive-by shooting. The killing is followed by candlelight vigils as politicians, community leaders, and citizens come together to declare that such violence does not represent the community and must stop now, and that the underlying causes must be dealt with. Yet little changes.

Thugs riot in Baltimore

The rioters no doubt were frustrated, but so were the peaceful protestors and other citizens who did not burn and steal.

Most of the looters have the values and souls of thugs and criminals. It seems obvious that they had no moral inhibitions when they saw the opportunity—and perhaps when local politicos decided to “give them space” to destroy—to combine mindless destruction with targeted looting; liquor and hair-care products were much sought-after items. These rioters were not addressing the problems of the community. They themselves are the problems of the community.

The rioters were mainly from the same neighborhoods as those who abhorred the riots. They were not an army of outside vandals—though outside agitators egged them on. They were the sons, daughters, siblings, parents, and friends of those who say they want peace. They live under the same roofs. And this is the case not only for those rioters but for the criminals who plague Baltimore and other major cities in this country. Since Martin Luther King’s inspiring “I have a dream” speech in 1963, nearly 400,000 blacks nationwide have been murdered by other blacks, not by police.

Baltimore politicos in denial

But most local politicos refuse to acknowledge this fact or its implications. That’s why we saw the bizarre controversy surrounding even calling those rioting thugs “thugs.” Baltimore City Council President Jack Young apologized for using the “T” word and instead said the rioters were “misguided,” adding, “We are all Baltimoreans.” Really? No wonder the population has dropped from 900,000 in 1970 to only 622,000 today. If the rioters are Baltimoreans, no decent person would want to be one.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a black woman, initially called the rioters thugs but also apologized, saying, “We don’t have thugs in Baltimore.” No thugs? Perhaps she missed the 211 murders in Baltimore last year, or over 4,000 violent crimes and 24,000 property crimes. Just “misguided” but well-meaning Baltimoreans, no doubt. But hey, the number of murders in Baltimore has dropped in recent years and it now has only the third highest murder rate in the country after Detroit and New Orleans. I guess that’s progress.

Trapped in failed welfare state policies

This refusal to call a thug a thug is an attempt to evade another reality: the material and moral failure of welfare state paternalism.

For decades—in the case of Baltimore, since 1967—Democrats have run major cities and have carried out the welfare state agenda. They redistribute taxpayer money, taken from the most productive enterprises and individuals, to “the poor,” thus posing as wonderful benefactors. Their government employees, who provide them with votes, administer onerous regulations on businesses and entrepreneurs, all the while providing substandard services to the citizens.

And their public employee union allies, especially in the failed schools that are often as dangerous as prisons, block any possibility of reforms. Local economies stagnate. Productive enterprises and individuals flee the city for the suburbs, creating hardships that the same politicians then can promise to solve with more of the same failed policies. And so the cycle has gone on for decades.

The welfare state teaches sloth and crime

The welfare system teaches those trapped in it that they are entitled to a living; that they need not work for it; that others owe them; that their economic plight is not their fault; that any misery they experience is because others are selfish and malicious. The system creates envy and resentment. If you don’t have it, it’s because others do. So either redistribute it yourself with a gun to a merchant’s head or as part of a mob breaking store windows, or let the government mob grab it for you.

The welfare state creates the thugs because its redistribution premises are themselves criminal!

The welfare state assumes that entire classes of people are too weak and stupid to take care of themselves without government assistance. But it is the welfare system that destroys moral character and creates weakness and stupidity. The strong and the wise would not need it.

The real revolution: individual responsibility

As the flames of Baltimore’s buildings burnt out in the riots in 1968, the welfare state was offered as the solution. It has failed miserably and morally, in Baltimore and across the country.

Those in Baltimore who are honestly anguished by the destruction the rioters have wrought and by the plight in the inner city, there and everywhere, must recognize that same stale solutions will fail again.

A real moral revolution is needed that focuses on facilitating in the individual the morality of personal responsibility and autonomy, of true self-empowerment, of a desire to be left free to achieve and to take pride from achievements. Only then will the ashes of burning cities be relegated to the ash-heap of history.
Hudgins is a senior scholar and director of advocacy at The Atlas Society.


• Edward Hudgins, “Martin Luther King's Dream and Today's Racial Nightmare.” August 27, 2013.
• William Thomas, “How Racist Are We?” Summer, 2010.
• Edward Hudgins, “Thoughts on Racial Thinking.” January 17, 2009.

Baltimore war zone

Ed Hudgins's picture

Over the Memorial Day weekend, 9 people were killed and 30 others shoot in Baltimore. In May, 43 people were murdered in Baltimore and 100 others shoot. These numbers included small children. They were not killed by the police. To avoid being arrested for doing their jobs or indicted for murder themselves, police have "given space" to the criminals, in the spirit of the mayor's ideology.

Most of the over 200 murdered in Baltimore last year were blacks murdered by other blacks, not by police.

But the worst criminal is the mayor who presides over and makes excuses for the carnage.

Black Culture

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Welfare statist culture and criminal culture are two problems in Baltimore. Black, rap, hip-hop, gansta nigga, racist culture is another.

No rioting, no looting!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Wotta surprise! No rioting, no looting, no sense of menace or malevolence. Good on you for introducing your young 'uns to this as early as possible, Ed. If it becomes their default universe, the universe stands a better chance. Opera-lovers don't riot, or even chant (except in key), and they certainly don't loot.

There is an exception to the "riot" bit, of course—the Italians, who riot if a tenor fluffs a High C or a soprano belongs to a different claque (a lot like Objectivism, really). No matter—one must always be prepared to make exceptions for Italians and one's lovers.

More and more I'm persuaded that there are two types of people in the world only: the spiritual aristocracy (those with souls) ... and the fans and perpetrators of headbanging caterwauling (soulless and mindless). If the latter are in charge of the world, all talk of liberty is idle.

La Cenerentola

Ed Hudgins's picture

For Linz's interest: We took our four-year-olds to their first opera, sort of. Each year the Washington Opera sponsors a free live broadcast at the giant screen at the Washington Nationals baseball park. This year it was Rossini's "Cinderella" and they has pre-broadcast kids' activities like dressing up in opera costumes, crafts, etc.

There were about 5,000 folks there with their children even though it rained heavily before the opera started. No rioting! No looting!

Here Sophia, who liked to dance to the music, is still facing the screen though I was able to get Allegra to face the camera. They lasted through about a hour of the opera, not bad for young ones listening to Italian singers, but then danced through the hallways to the piped-in music as we went back to the car.

Talia and I want such wonderful music to always be part of their lives!

Twins opera 1 photo Twins opera 1_zps4iykq1dj.jpg

Tantrums and self-control

Ed Hudgins's picture

I’m sure every parent on this board has experienced tantrums. It’s between 2 1/2 and 4 years old that children reach a level of maturity that they can actually control themselves to a certain extent. Then their tantrums are attempts to get what they want when they want it and to test parents. Often the easiest thing for parents to do is to give in: Here’s the candy, stop screaming! It is a balance to give them things because you love them but also say “No. Ice cream is for after you eat your mac and cheese.” (As a loving father it is hard for me to say “No!” but I would not be a good father if I let the kids have whatever they want when they want it. Both now will complain, maybe throw a tantrum, but they also say a cute little disappointed but resigned-sounding “Ooookaaaay.”)

I agree that many adults who “act out” as in the streets of Baltimore are not only acting in accordance to the morally warped entitlement mentality that leftists, and the culture and institutions they create, instills in them. They also act like they do because they never learned self-discipline or self-control, and the tantrums that they should have stopped throwing in childhood continue with them as adults. And I suspect that when parents were not able to give them what they want when they wanted, they simply smacked the kids, teaching the kids that violence is how you deal with people. Again, it is more difficult for a parent to calm down a child throwing a tantrum and then try to explain to them why they can’t have something immediately, or to put conditions on what them receiving something, e.g., help me clean up the mess and then you’ll get the candy.

So yes, the many of the rioters are adults in age only but children in terms of moral habits, except that children have some excuse—self-control is psychologically difficult—whereas adults have the developed capacity, even if they’ve let it atrophy.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

I hope you do your Comprachico piece!

I'm truly interested in your observations about children's tantrums. At what age do they stop? Because it occurs to me that it's not so much a case of Comprachicos and Baltimore politicos wanting to turn adults into children; they don't have to; rather, that those adults never stopped being children because they were comprachicoed to believe that tantrum-throwing in pursuit of instant gratification is legitimate and normal. Arrested development, in other words. How else to explain those pouting, insolent "millennials" who think they're owed an $80,000 job straight off the bat. (I saw a poll recently, American, where a majority thought the govt's most important function is to find everyone a job!!!!)

Just so!

Ed Hudgins's picture

Just so! Yes, if I have time this week I might do a "Comprachicos" piece (one of my favorite pieces by Rand by the way and what came to mind reading about this scum). I want to alert those in this country who rightly bemoan the breakdown in discipline and general education in our schools so they understand that these destroyers should be a priority target to be flushed out of the education system.

I take your point about the political hacks in Baltimore being children, though I know full well that you appreciate this is not fair to children. My little ones still throw temper tantrums, grab stuff out of their sister's hands, etc., but they are progressing toward personal and moral responsibility. The job of a parent is to help them along. The Comprachicos and Baltimore politicos want to make adults into children who throw temper tantrums (burn cities) and grab stuff from their neighbors' hands (armed robbery or taxes), and and regress away from personal and moral responsibility.


Lindsay Perigo's picture

These are the comprachicos, the "child-molesters of the mind" of whom I have often spoken. Yes, they are evil, and I'm glad to see that for once you can bring yourself to use the word. I guess it's safe, with Nathan and Babs gone. And yes, they are more fundamentally evil than the comprachicees, the trash on the streets. That doesn't mean the latter are off the hook, any more than the equally evil Mayor of Baltimore and that State Attorney are off the hook. You have children in these positions??!! With their otherwise-empty heads full of the most vicious bromides??!! As I've just said on Faecesbook, "Americans, what the hell is wrong with you??!!"

Individualism, planning for future, hard work as “white racism"

Ed Hudgins's picture

More morally contemptible than the rioters in Baltimore are the conscious and knowing destroyers who train teachers to indoctrinate students with racism and Marxism. Those kids then grow up to be the rioters.

Pacific Education Group provides such materials and training for schools. The material states that white culture is based on “white individualism” or “white traits” like “rugged individualism,” “adherence to rigid time schedules,” “plan(ning) for the future,” and the idea that “hard work is the key to success.”

Here is the real enemy:

See School districts spending millions on ‘white privilege’ training for employees

And PEG’s ‘culturally relevant teaching’ program is simply another Marxist attack on American values

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