Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
July 16, 2001
Only religion can rescue society from youth anarchy
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
Last month, Supreme Court of Nova Scotia Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy told the 28th Congress of Criminal Justice conference in Halifax that "Youth are going to have to be better raised and I'm not talking about traditional family units. I don't care what the unit is I just want it to be better."
The judge observed that many kids don't get proper discipline at home and as a result often don't function well as teens. He recalled his recent sentencing of two young girls who, when asked whether they were concerned about what was happening, replied: "not a bit." That response, said Kennedy, indicated they had no concept of life, no fear of anything and nothing to lose.
The chief justice was quoted saying that one of the most alarming trends he sees in court is youth who "don't see the difference between a slap in your face and cutting your throat. The ramifications are either not understood or absolutely not a factor."
A couple of years ago Nova Scotia Youth Centre psychologist John Bishop noted in a newspaper interview: "Often, one wonders about their value systems. Frequently, (teen killers) commit these acts and they show no guilt, they show no remorse, they show no great concern for their victims. It's almost as if they have never learned the value of human life."
A new Health Canada study by Halifax-based researcher Barbara Cottrell cites a growing epidemic of parent abuse by teenagers that can include hitting, kicking, breaking things, threatening to injure, maim or kill their parents, verbal abuse, theft and much more.
Bishop observed that many young offenders have lost their moral compass. However, in today's poisonous cultural environment, odds are that they never had much of one to begin with.
Kennedy, Cottrell and Bishop have all identified and articulated the problem, but are unfortunately equivocal about its cause, which is the ascendancy of liberal humanist ideology in society and the abandonment of traditional religious principles and standards.
Bishop refers to a "moral compass," but to be of any use, a compass has to consistently point in one direction. In an ethos of moral relativism the compass needle just spins aimlessly and uselessly in every which direction.
The baby-boomer and boomer-shadow parents of today's crop of adolescents and pre-teens are arguably the most ineffectual cohort of parents in history. Steeped in the post-'60s cult of permissiveness and a constellation of other half-baked liberal humanist notions, they have, in the main, failed miserably at executing their parental duty of nurturing an ethic of civility, duty and responsibility in their offspring.
Cottrell's report recommends that parents stop treating their children as friends and equals, set clear limits, enforce them resolutely and begin to act like the loving authority figures they are supposed to be.
Good advice, but the difficulty is that most of today's parents are so addled by relativism themselves that they have trouble conceptualizing what "clear limits" would consist of. Without an acknowledgement of each individual's accountability before a stern and demanding God, "clear limits" tends to be a hopelessly nebulous and arbitrary concept.
Several successive generations have now been indoctrinated to believe that there is no absolute morality, no objective right or wrong, no eternal accountability for one's actions, and the result has been too many people behaving unaccountably. Back when the dominant cultural consensus inclined most of the population to believe - or at least fear - that wrongful behaviour put them in danger of eternal damnation, it served as a powerful inhibition against crime and incivility.
Now the dominant cultural consensus systematically indoctrinates people with the notion that traditional religion is superstitious nonsense - not to mention sexist and oppressive - and that hell is a mythological fantasy, resulting in a massively diminished disincentive to wrongdoing.
Reflexive contempt for self-sacrificial virtue and rejection of real religion in favour of feel good "spirituality" that talks only of love and being happy, and says nothing about sin and evil and judgment, have robbed post-modern parents of the tools needed to combat the malignancies that today's depraved popular culture inflicts on their children.
Until this philosophical and spiritual dysfunction is addressed, there is no lively hope of turning the tide of youth anarchy.
Princeton University professor John Dilulio argues that only a return to religion can restore the personal responsibility and moral inhibition in youth that leads to moral behaviour. "Our guiding principle should be: 'build churches, not jails,'" he maintains, "or we will reap the whirlwind of our own moral bankruptcy."
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