The city of Milwaukee was set on fire by rioters over the weekend.  The rioting started after a black officer shot and killed an armed black suspect named Sylville Smith.  Some people reacted by burning gas stations, setting police cars on fire, stealing hair extensions, or by sending off rounds of gunfire that prevented fire fighters from putting out the various fires.  The rioting ultimately led to Governor Scott Walker activating the National Guard.

One rioter justified the actions of his fellow rioters on the basis that the “rich people got all this money and they not like, you know, tryin’ give us none.”

This is a growing sentiment in America and not just among rioters, looters, and other contemptible individuals.  Bernie Sanders’ entire campaign was predicated on this very idea.  Their idea of democracy is that if two people vote themselves some of a third person’s wealth, that is the legitimate will of “the people.”  Thanks to progressive taxation you can also vote to raise someone else’s taxes, but not your own.  As long as you do it in the name of “the people,” “the workers,” or “the middle or working class” you can get away with theft, all you have to do is call it “democracy.”

The Milwaukee rioter has been conditioned to believe that “the rich” are the scapegoats he can blame all of his problems on.  Since “the rich” are the root cause of all his life’s problems, then it is perfectly reasonable for him to feel justified in his anti-rich people political views.

The main problem with the Milwaukee rioter’s belief is that it allows him to shift the blame to somebody or something else.  If people are allowed to blame “the rich” it alleviates them of any personal responsibility.

In 2013 the Brookings Institute offered three rules that poor young people could follow to have a relatively successful life.  These three rules were:

  1. At least finish high school
  2. Get a full-time job
  3. To wait until at least 21 years of age to get married and have children

If you got addicted to drugs, had children before you were married, dropped out of school, or got caught up with the wrong group of people, that is not the fault of some anonymous rich person.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke put it bluntly when he said,

“Police use of force serves as an igniter — there’s no doubt — but to an already volatile mix of urban pathologies, failed urban policy that exacerbates inescapable poverty, failing public schools, inadequate parenting. Father-absent homes — we all know when fathers are not around to shape the behavior of young boys, they often times grow up to be unmanageable misfits that police have to deal with in an aggressive fashion.”

The combination of rioting and bad public policies have doomed many of the country’s urban cities.  Instead of blaming some anonymous or vague scapegoat, people would be wise to look at themselves and the politicians they have elected over the decades.  Blaming “the rich” may make you feel good about yourself, but underling that emotion is an envious sentiment towards people that bear no responsibility for your life’s circumstances.