It did not take much longer to figure out what drove them, or better, what did not restrain them from lashing out: a sheer, unadulterated lack of conscience. Max Hastings put it perfectly in his August 10 U.K. Daily Mail article, "Years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of amoral, uneducated, welfare dependent, brutalised youngsters," when he said:
"They are essentially wild beasts. I use that phrase advisedly, because it seems appropriate to young people bereft of the discipline that might make them employable; of the conscience that distinguishes between right and wrong.
They respond only to instinctive animal impulses — to eat and drink, have sex, seize or destroy the accessible property of others."Where are these rioters' consciences? Did it not cross one of their minds that acting this way--invoking chaos and destruction--is evil no matter what the supposed justification? Had they no shame?
Sadly, for many of them, the short answer is no. Growing up in an entitlement, me-me-me, I-I-I, now-now-now culture, many--even those who did not want for anything and had promising futures--either never had theirs properly formed to begin with or, worse, checked them at the door when they decided to step foot into the street.
This topic of conscience and the questions that follow from it are exactly what the Holy Father tackles in Chaper 5 of Values in a Time of Upheaval, an essay entitled If You Want Peace...: Conscience and Truth.
What is our responsibility to obey and to form our conscience?
Look later this week for an unfolding of the Pope's discussion as he explores and probes the answers to these questions and more in If You Want Peace.