Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Root Cause: Fatherlessness

We educated types are pretty strong on the -essness words.  Joblessness, helplessness, and, of course, fatherlessness.

It's all part of the purposelessness of the average beneficiary of the administrative welfare state.  To have a good solid administrative state you need a good supply of the jobless, the helpless and the purposeless.  So you can help them with good solid government program.  And more to follow.

Falstaff knew all about it.  In fact he could ramble on forever on the subject:
A good [government program] hath a two-fold
operation in it. It ascends me into the brain;
dries me there all the foolish and dull and curdy
vapours which environ it; makes it apprehensive,
quick, forgetive, full of nimble fiery and
delectable shapes, which, delivered o'er to the
voice, the tongue, which is the birth, becomes
excellent wit. The second property of your
excellent [program] is, the warming of the blood;
which, before cold and settled, left the liver
white and pale, which is the badge of pusillanimity
and cowardice;
And so on.  The problem is that, while a good government program, like a good sherris sack, is wonderful for Sir John, it isn't so good for the average person, especially when taken to excess.

Because the root cause of all that helplessness and joblessness and gun violence and welfare is fatherlessness.  That was highlighted in a couple articles in The American Spectator.

Item: Gun violence.  It does not occur too much out in the leafy suburbs, but has been notable in the inner city where families have broken up consequent upon the demoralization of men following the migration to the city.  It starts in American history with the Irish in the mid 19th century and The Gangs of New York and the 50,000 "nymphs of the pave."  Of course by the end of the century the Irish had progressed from "shanty Irish" to "lace curtain Irish" and the Catholic Church had made the nymphs into nuns and the gang members into fathers.  But that was before the administrative welfare state.

Now of course the problem is young fatherless blacks and Hispanics.  Without fathers they act out in the streets in the archetypal "men's house" gang.  But for President Obama, fatherlessness isn't the problem. Peter Ferrara:
More government spending for mental health, more federal spending for the local government responsibility for cops on the beat, and confirmation of a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Ah yes, the need for another federal bureaucrat is really a root of the problem of gun violence.
Item: There is, as it happens, an organization that was founded over a century ago to deal with the broken family in the urban inner city.  It is called the Boy Scouts--in the US, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).  It socializes boys (originally lower-income boys) under the control of non-gang older males.  Which is the way that societies usually socialize their boys.

But liberals, of course, want to muck around with the Boy Scouts, and end their ban on homosexual scout leaders.  Actually the Boy Scouts go further than banning gay scout leaders.  They have a rule that a scout leader cannot be alone with a Boy Scout.

You can see the blaring irony of this.  Here we have a stodgy old civil society institution that actually does something to mitigate the plague of fatherlessness by creating opportunities for fatherless boys to spend time in their teenage years around real fathers.  What do liberals want to do?  Liberals want to meddle with it, to advance their liberation agenda.  Not that a liberal parent would want to see their son within a country mile of the Boy Scouts.  But not to worry, writes Mark Tooley:
Defenders of the BSA’s current policy cite Canadian scouting having lost over half its membership in five years after liberalizing its membership standards in 1998, including accepting open homosexuality.
It's amazing.  Liberals seem to know by instinct how to weaken civil society and traditional culture to soften up society for more big government.

The basic difference between conservatives and liberals is the difference between liberty and liberation. Liberty is the right to conduct a flawed, but moral and purposeful life in this world with the hope of salvation in the next; it is the freedom to make mistakes. Liberation is the hope for salvation in this world; it is the removal of the concept of mistake altogether.

This is a hard time for conservatives, as liberals press the pedal to the metal on their entire agenda.  It is small comfort to recall apothegms like: "experience keeps a dear school" or  that democracy is the idea that the people should get what they want: good and hard.

But then, conservatism does not offer salvation in this world.  So who's complaining?

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