Monday, July 22, 2013

Some Thoughts On Dreams versus Reality

There are broadly two viewpoints on dealing with the challenge of lawlessness and antisocial behavior. The social-science approved view that the answer is unending compassion, understanding and resulting tolerance vs the 'old-school' view of demonstrating firmness and being willing to 'dish out' punishment when required.

The social-science view has great appeal to the heart, especially when contrasted (often in a straw man argument) against harshness and callousness.

The social-science view is typically supported by college age adults, academics of any age and those who otherwise have lived highly protected lives. The old-school appeals to those with significant unprotected real-world experience.

President Obama, as a community activist and as an academic, naturally leans to the social-science view. Thus his approach to the middle east of apologies, tolerance of their own intolerance, and exaggerated praise for their place in human progress.

He (and his Dept. of Justice) have taken a similar view when they are faced with challenges to domestic security, be it on a state, city, community or a family level. EXCEPT -- and this is generally true of those who espouse such beliefs -- in their own immediate community and family. There high standards of behavior and personal responsibility are expected to be met and respected. They personally thus generally don't marry until they are financially secure, don't have children until they marry, and choose to live in exclusive communities where they can be confident that their neighbors too live by such standards. And such they expect of their own children.

What results when the social-science model is habitually applied, be it on the scale of international affairs or on a city, community or family level? Chaos. Such as in the Middle East today where Obama's application of that philosophy was seen as weakness, in our cities where long falling crime statistics have started to trend upward with mayhem and violence on the streets (now leaking out of the traditional high crime areas), and in yet worsening disintegration of the family unit among dependent groups of people.

What is the answer? Certainly not feeling-free harshness in any of those spheres, but the willingness to do in all of them what good parents have always done. Set firm standards of acceptable and unacceptable conduct, live by them, and expect others to do so to with commensurate consequences for those that do not.

Simple really. And that is why the simple, unsophisticated, world of earlier America worked on so many levels that ours does not today.

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