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
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
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.