Over in England, the elites are debating the causes of the widespread looting and property destruction that has been spreading throughout the country like a wildfire. Roving packs of young people from the underclass are breaking into high-end stores and taking whatever they want. They’re robbing people in broad daylight with no concern that most of their actions are being captured by the ubiquitous cameras that film nearly every square-inch of England’s cities. They’re lighting cars and shops ablaze and then attacking the firefighters and police with projectiles.

We know the spark that lit the match was the shooting death of a black man in the Tottenham section of North London, but that doesn’t explain why people are rioting in South London and Nottingham and Birmingham and Manchester, and even in Glouchester. It’s hard to come up with one single answer. First of all, the same thing has been happening right here in Philadelphia all year long. It’s just on a smaller scale. For example, this is from late June.

UPPER DARBY — A mob of about 40 people stormed into the Sears department store on 69th Street Thursday, and in a flash stole thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, officials said.

Police were able to round up 15 juveniles and one adult, 19, all from West Philadelphia.

“They came in on the El train and hit Sears,” police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said. “They stole sneakers, socks, watches, whatever they could get their hands on, and left.”

I think these girls have as good an explanation as you’re going to find. Having looted alcohol from a local shop, they calmly explained to a BBC reporter that the riots were all about showing the rich, the government, and the police that they could do whatever they want. When asked why they were destroying their own community, they said they were attacking the shop owners and people with money. And they thought the whole enterprise was a great deal of fun.

Sometimes people say that there is no real left-wing in America, and that’s kind of true in Britain, too. But we do have a left-wing. It’s just a left-wing designed to kill the seductive power of communism and to build a bulwark against anarchism. Different countries chose different ways of responding to the economic catastrophes of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The Russians became totalitarian. Europe succumbed to fascism. We chose a New Deal. It was a middle road. It provided a safety net and tolerable working conditions. It created a huge middle class. It didn’t arouse the far right or far left instincts of the nation, but put them into sleep mode.

Now we’re back to 1920’s level of income disparity. Conservatives are attacking every aspect of the New Deal. What rich people seem to be forgetting is that the opposite of the New Deal is not some idyllic paradise of free-market bliss. The opposite is rampaging mobs who light shit on fire just to show you that they can do whatever they want. Eventually, that can include burning down your business or your house, or, maybe, even taking your life.

And it’s not just income disparity that’s a problem. Consider how this all started. A bunch of smart people set up a kind of scam using complex financial instruments that no one can understand. They got rich beyond all imagination, while the rest of us lost our jobs, lost our retirement money, lost, in some cases, our homes. And then we were told that there was no money for our cops, no money for our firefighters, our nurses, our teachers. And next we’ll be told that our Social Security check will be smaller and we’ll have to wait another year or two to get our Medicare. Meanwhile, the rich, represented ably by the Republicans, refuse to pay one dime in extra taxes.

With that kind of attitude and that lack of accountability, it’s not hard to see why some people might start losing hope and might start losing respect for “the system.” If the rich don’t wise up quick, the scenes from England will be coming to America. Bet on it.