Societal Consensus on Values
We may not be as far from a consensus as we may be lead to believe, as 53% of the nation claims to be Protestant and 24% claim to be Roman Catholic. (Furthermore, nearly ever other group have avowedly similar value sets: pro-honesty, pro-children, and anti-violence.) Thus it is entirely reasonable to think that the founder’s logic in the Old Deluder Satan Act could possibly prevail today. However, we all assume that we have no such consensus. After all, we have all been taught that the founders were Deists. Many will argue that the separation of church and state was ensconced in the Constitution, in order to protect the state from incursion of religion, which of course is utterly false. Some will argue very loudly that we have no value set consensus because they are frightened at the remote possibility that a conservative religious hegemony will disallow their pet sin. Indeed, we are taught to rankle at the very mention of sin, as if somehow suggesting that there is a serious difference between right and wrong is anti-American, and oppressive.
Indeed, we have seen what used to be considered sin and illegal now to be not only tolerated but in some places, cause celebre. What was once considered so heinous that it was illegal in privacy, now forced upon others in public For instance, where there were many safe tourist attractions, there are now homeless men, homosexual men having sex on the street, in a town that prides itself on embracing such progressive rights. In a place like Austin, many are faced with their boss’ sexuality in their face as a condition of working. The New Year’s Day parade, generally considered to be family fare, featured a male-male couple atop a wedding cake, sponsored by an AIDS clinic. Preschools even in Texas are required, by some accreditation standards, to introduce the idea of homosexuality in its preschools. What was once available only under brown paper wrappers is hard to avoid at the check out line. What was never permitted on public television is now on during the day. Once at home on the shopping day after Christmas, I discovered a rape scene, that apparently went on for some time, because I saw it in channel flipping twice. Guess who was advertising on that show? A national big-box toy store! Probably they just bought advertisement for the day, but look, somehow they too thought this was family viewing! Sexual behavior content that most of us don’t want, and have reason to think is inappropriate is foisted upon us.
To be fair, Hilary Clinton also decries the sexualization of the media, and Tipper Gore has famously worked for better ratings. At the same time, it must be admitted that if the political discussion is divided into the ubiquitous halves, then liberal policy has consistently sided with the rights of pornographers, gay rights without limitations, fewer restrictions on divorce, and resistance to family values. While Clinton rightly decries the deleterious effects of divorce and would not want to be saddled with an accusation of abetting child sexual depredation, nevertheless, the public policy of her party did abet these things. At the same time, let us admit that greed capitalism is responsible for making pornography the leading addiction in the country, sex tourism, and increasing slavery worldwide, including our own country.
Indeed, that other party has been okay without worker protection, unlivable wages, and turning a blind eye to hardworking single mothers. I remember a president who said there was no hunger in our country! There may be no lack of food, but children go hungry. There may be no lack of ingenuity, but children are withering for lack of stimulation. We may still have the best graduate schools in the world, but they are increasingly being filled by foreign students. We still have some bright children, but they are so badly behaved that many employers move their call centers overseas. There is no lack of medical moxie, but we have the highest neo-natal morbidity rate in the industrialized world. Small government alone will not fix the problems.
There is a gap between the lack of what parents can do and what government can do. The government can not control crime unless mothers tell their babies not to hit and to consider others. The police must be for the small remnant of law breakers. The government can not form character – in the first place because they do not intend to. One might think that the government could teach manners, skills, or academics. However, statistics reveal that not only are the students from our government schools running at the back of the pack of industrialized nations, they also behind some developing nations. Government school students also compare very poorly with home educated students.
There is a gap between what government can do and what only parents can do. Government can not rear children, because bureaucracies do not have love.
Government can not provide care for health. It might provide some insurance for the medical industry, for selected allopathic treatments that cost a great deal of money. Geed capitalism has hidden many inexpensive, easily available cures, in favor of many “treatments” that neither cure nor are palliative, nor have any scientific evidence, merely because they transfer estates. It might be possible for some nationalized provision to pay for treatments to begin to shift this, but it is not in the works. Triage and rationing must logically be, unless there is greater currency manipulation that I can imagine. In short, neither red or blue governments can CARE. Only people care.
However, let it also be admitted that there is a gap between what parents do, and what needs to be done. It is possible for the government to provide food enough for everyone, and government does provide much food, but some children go hungry. Although how enforcement is conducted matters, still parents are not adequately socializing their children to stay out of gangs and out of crime. The better students have always had families who did not rely entirely on government for education.
Even what used to be done, is done less. Most families had father pontificating at the dinner table and mother helping with the homework. Most families purchased music lessons and brought their children to Sunday School (or Hebrew School). Most schools had PTA (Parent Teacher Associations) that not only raised money for projects but also remonstrated with the administration when things were not right. Most cities had a ministerial alliance that “bully pulpited” as well as had encouraging words with city officials when necessary. Most families had grandparents or aunt and uncles to turn to when times were hard or junior got into trouble. Mothers, grandmothers and aunts are more often working. Administrators have found a way to co-opt PTAs and ministerial alliances have been marginalized.
There is also a gap between what the government has done and the goal we would all like to see. The Clinton administration worked to reduce welfare rolls and reduce the federal deficit. Yet, we still see n generational welfare. It was Barbara Jordan, an African-American democrat from Houston, who first said as far as I heard, that we must work against an entitlement mentality. Yet it is has increased! George W. Bush’s administration sought to encourage marriage, and hired some counselors to encourage young people applying for welfare, having a baby between them to marry. Yet few did, and the tide of opinion that is is acceptable to have children out of wedlock grows. The percentage of young women who think that having a child out of wedlock is fine is dramatically up. Several administrations have promised educational reform, and achievement continues to tank (although often with parents thinking that rigor has actually increased due to deceptive statistics and rhetoric.)
It was the Rebpulicans whose educational reform ideas were once for site based management or school vouchers, resisted by the Dems, who wante dto see a continuation of massive schools, saying it was the only way to help those who needed special services. Then there was some sort of sea change and it was Republican George W Bush who instituted the No Child Left Behind porgram, built on a testing program that had bourght lower performing schools in tExas up (while also bringing higher perfomring down). IN Texas there had always been a great variance in outcomes and there were servearl disctricts that regularly graduated illiterates, and the program improved the situation. Implemented on a national scale, it brought outrage from states that had prided themselves on a good public system. The educator’s preducition that it would cause teachers to teach to th test, and enervate edcucation were entirely substantiated. Every test was made easier than the one before so that districts would look good. Then Democrat Obalam campaigned on the promise that he would dismantled NCLB and make improving the scores of minorities his top priority. Once in office, he said he had no intention of removing high stakes testing; NCLB stayed in place; and noting changed. Well, what changed is that college courses are now taught at an even lower level and employers are adjusting to a workforce that is completely ensconced in an entitlement mentality and entirely duped into thinking they had a rigorous education.
The Bill Clinton administration is the one with the most to brag about in terms of reducing the deficit, but today the federal deficit is so far up, that we have had to raise the limit on credit twice, have suffered failed auctions (meaning no one would loan us money), and despair is so rampant that it has fallen out of discussion. It was another democrat, Paul Tsongas, who might be credited with first bringing up the matter of over-spending to the American people. It was Tsongas who said “If anyone thinks the words government and efficiency belong in the same sentence, we have counseling available” (Kramer, Time, March 2, 1992). Then a republican administration spent money like it was going out of style, only to be topped by a democratic administration that really has pushed the dollar out of style! Therefore to conduct any discussion about government spending really is silly, but here we are.
So there is a gap beyond what parents can do that the government can not reach. There is a gap beyond what parents do, that government can’t reach and no one else is, although someone could. There is considerable gap between what needs to be done in society, that government is trying to cover and has not been able to. There are some things that only “the village” can do. Someone needs to rear parents and support them with good peer pressure. Someone needs to be the extended family. Sometimes some people may need to be substitute family. Someone does need to be employer and mentor for dads and some mothers. Someone need to help with education, with health care, information delivery, and fine culture. Some people need to help in government as professionals, and nearly everyone needs to help as citizens. Everyone needs to help with making this a livable culture.
After all, who is the government? We think it is us. We think, also, that it is them. Wake up! Stop being spun around, and pointed where you don’t want to go. Start planting yourself in what you know, look around to see the lay of the land around, and start watching “the government.” Get educated. Get effective. Get free.
But notice, that if you do this, someone else with competing interest may do it better. Okay, so how might freedom be engendered, rather than a food fight? By consensus values! This is what Thomas Jefferson meant when he said that only a moral and religious people could be governed democratically. *