British paper The Telegraph has a real treat in the opinion section this morning. "London riots: Americans would have known how to respond to the violence and looting," reads the headline. The writer is Tim Stanley, according to his bio "a research fellow in American History at Royal Holloway," and currently "working on a biography of Pat Buchanan." His is undoubtedly the most lively of the commentary offerings on the riots today. What does a Brit studying Pat Buchanan think Americans would do if New York were in flames? An abridged version:

 

 

"The public would have fought back more aggressively. America has a tradition of self-reliance that extends even to the sphere of criminal justice. When the 1992 riots broke out in Los Angeles, the Korean community didn’t flee: they set up barricades and shot looters. ...

"A leading Republican presidential contender would have advocated martial law and the summary execution of everyone wearing a hoodie. ...

"[A] liberal figure would have braved the violence and made a plea for reconciliation (probably Jesse Jackson). ...

"In America, the riots would have been followed by a national day of prayer. ...

"Bill Clinton would have cried and hugged someone. ... "

Surely, you think, this is satire. Apparently not. Stanley actually explicitly pushes back against this interpretation of his column. "In many ways, America's social problems (especially race) are bigger than ours. But they are articulated better too." Deciding that "a lot" of Brits' "problems probably stem from our emotional introversion," Stanley urges his countrymen "to bury [their] pride and copy the American way of death: shout and scream and book [themselves] into therapy." Currently, "the British live their lives through patterns of passive aggression (hating everyone, but never having the bad manners to say it) that inevitably erupt in occasional bouts of mysterious violence."

You heard it here, folks: armed Koreans, right-wing nutjobs, and Bill Clinton's tears are saving us from mayhem. When we start thinking Downton Abbey is good drama, that's when we should worry: mob rule and squalor will not be far off.