Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
December 4, 2000
Violence stems from a loss of morals
Values-free education centres authority in the child, rather than outside authority
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
November 2000 has been tainted with a rash of ugly criminal incidents perpetrated by young people - the worst being the stabbing death of 17-year-old Samar Jabbar by a classmate in the stairwell of a Calgary high-school, allegedly over a $30 debt.
That same day in Saskatoon, a teenage girl was (non-fatally) stabbed by a rival for a boy's affections. Also; in Hants County, N.S., three individuals invaded a 92 year-old man's home and beat him nearly to death; a Halifax man was obliged to flee permanently from his home after it was firebombed three times by teenage thugs whom he had confronted.
In early November, the Royal Canadian Legion reported that young thieves snatching containers filled with donations to the veterans in an annual poppy campaign had become epidemic.
What these examples all have in common is that incidents of this sort simply did not happen 30 years ago, however much we are told crime rates are down.
In Calgary, "grief counsellors" came to the school to help facilitate "the healing process." Excuse me, but who are these people and what do they tell the kids? That everything is OK? That we still live in the best of all possible worlds, filled with essentially good people, despite manifold evidence to the contrary?
Does anyone ever think - yes, think, not emote - about what is happening to our society? Healing is needed all right, but "helping professionals" spouting psycho-babble at emotionally over-stimulated teenagers is not the medicine. It indeed may be a symptom of the illness.
November also witnessed the sentencing of a 16 year-old whose April 1999 shooting rampage at a high school in Taber left two students wounded and 17-year-old Jason Lang dead. The shooter had been an outcast, the butt of cruel bullying and harassment. Reading an account of what this kid had experienced literally brought tears to my eyes. It doesn't excuse his horrible crime, but explains what precipitated it, and is another searing indictment of our toxic popular culture.
Three years incarceration for murder is a bad joke, but determining what would constitute justice in this case is a conundrum. It seems that others besides the 14-year-old who pulled the trigger should be on trial. Not least the cultural vandals who set about demolishing our society's traditional moral standards in the years following the Second World War.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow, who initially embraced cultural relativism, soon, unlike most of his contemporaneous colleagues, recognized the consequences that would ensue. In 1958, Maslow warned that a society without a value system breeds psychological disorder because children need to be directed, therefore setting limits and imposing consistent discipline are essentials.
Maslow gloomily predicted that moral relativism would create a culture of "jungle people" who would have to be fought off as such. In a 1965 critique of nondirective, value-free education, Maslow declared that it was creating a moral vacuum.
Maslow asserted in a book posthumously published in 1989, that "self-actualization" should "very definitely" never have been applied to children.
William Coulson, a former colleague of Maslow's, argues that "value-free" or "values-neutral" education "harms children because it allows children to make life and death decisions" - like whether to knife your classmate over a trivial debt or a boyfriend.
Moreover, as Maslow noted, by subjectivizing morals and denying objective standards, "self-esteem" programs cause academic decline, loss of (ironically) self-esteem, and disrupted discipline in schools.
Consequences of "progressive education" notions, says education critic Pearl Evans, include not only a decline in intellectual attainment, but in morale as well. "This loss of self-esteem combined with familiarity bred by humanism's egalitarianism breaks down school discipline."
Coulson notes that nondirective, progressive education "harms children because it centres authority in the child - in opposition to outside authority."
We now have roughly three generations that have been nurtured in this faulty philosophical compost. Combine that with 24/7 access to violent, anarchistic, "values-neutral," pop-culture entertainment and you have a sure-fire formula for moral breakdown and its inevitable consequences, and it will take more than "grief-counselling" to heal that.
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