Christians are certainly NOT told by either testament to rat out those who don’t believe as they do. They are enjoined to talk to them and spread the love of God TO them…not turn them over to those who would punish them for their beliefs.
Surely all laws, human or divine, have to interpreted with common sense.
I believe that one of the Ten Commandments is ‘thou shalt not kill’, but the Bible makes plenty of exceptions – you can kill a child who curses his parents, a fortune-teller, a blasphemer, and of course, all the members (men, women and children, sometimes even the livestock) of rival tribes when God commands you to, as He sometimes did. And of course ‘thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’. Plus of course killing in war – that’s all right.
So I think if God lets us do – indeed wants us to do – plenty of killing under certain circumstances, surely He’ll let us tell a fib or two to keep a Christian alive when threatened by an Islamic fanatic, or to protect the US from foreign enemies?
No, they are called to profess their own 9faith to people who do not believe as they do, not to hide it in fear, even (perhaps especially) when that fear is well justified
Not the current rate, it was the “before 1960” claim I was having trouble digesting; that would imply that there was static problem of Wedlock among the majority of African Americans even before the arrival of the welfare state.
Something Sowell has spent much his career dispelling; stating that most social issues among African Americans were coming under control until the 1960s.
Ah, got it. Yes, I don’t know much about pre-60s conditions of life among Black Americans, in terms of family, jobs, education. I read Sowell’s columns and have a couple of his books but have not read them (yet). He – and the handful of other outspoken Black conservatives – are moral giants. Imagine the social pressure on them to conform!
Trying to figure out the causes – and therefore the cures, if any – of social problems like the disintegration (or at least unravelling) of the traditional family is tricky. I’m personally sympathetic to ‘economic’ explanations – I think that, ultimately, that’s what drives history – but … there is always more to it than that. For instance, we’ve seen an enormous change in what is considered acceptable in terms of personal sexual behavior in the West, just in my lifetime. Examples are the divorce rate, the rise of single motherhood (and not just among Blacks), and now, if Charles Murray is to be believed (he’s my favorite social scientist), the growth among young workingclass white males of the sort of socially disconnected short-term thinking that characterized so many young urban Blacks. You’ve probably read Coming Apart: the State of White America 1960-2010 – it ought to be required reading for every American.
This must ultimately have material causes – the automobile, television, more children going to college, prosperity, urbanization – but they’re difficult to put numbers on. In any case, I don’t think that ‘the welfare state’ – and we don’t have much of one in the US, compared to Europe – is the sole, and maybe not even the main, cause of the problem, although it obviously contributes to it in some of its aspects. (I don’t think Social Security is much of a disincentive to work, for example. And while paying for babies produced by people who can’t or won’t pay for their upkeep themselves is clearly going to encourage more such babies, just how much this encouragement contributes to their creation – as opposed to the change in the culture which means now there is no stigma attached to it – is another question. )
More generally, I think conservatives need to have a hard think about what their political party should do to stop the rot, assuming it can be stopped. I personally don’t believe that the traditional Republican politician’s approach – make noises about the ‘cultural’ issues that agitate the base, like abortion and homosexuality and immigration, while actually accepting the evolving status quo, and keeping taxes on the donor class low plus doing whatever else they want re. economic questions – is going to work much longer. Indeed the triumph of Trump was the first failure of this approach. We’re lucky that the Democrats seem to be going insane at the moment but I wouldn’t count on their continued mis-match with the thinking of the average American.
It’s not just social security, nor even just federal welfare. Cities and States offer their own programs, that essentially say to women, “If you have kids, and aren’t married, we’ll pay you. Chase any man who isn’t earning bank out of the house.”
Without a father around, familial problems start to accrue very quickly.
Welfare chased black men out of the home, as they weren’t as good of a provider as the Gov’t. Thomas Sowell tells of a report predicted this outcome, for this reason, in the 1960s when this all started.
On top of this, schooling quality fell, and cities became bastions clamping down on economic freedom due to “Great Society” frameworks that those like Detroit wholeheartedly embraced. They did this to meet conditions for Federal grants.
Thus, Economies became more top down, not holistic or emergent. Public Worker Unions made themselves a priority over the kids they were serving. Welfare outcompeted poor men as providers in their own homes.
If there’s one more thing I’d add, it’s that the Civil Rights era set an unfortunate precedent, where everyone thought protesting and getting an important figure to sign a law somewhere would magically change results.
But the true problems are made obscure by people’s own intentions (and how those intentions cause problems), and energy for change is channeled into measures that are symbolic and ineffective.
Something I’ve been preaching for a few decades now is what happened to inner-city schools. Some morons decided that black kids could only REALLY learn from black teachers so the search was on to replace white teachers with black ones in the inner cities. Unfortunately, there were relatively few qualified black teachers, so they started hiring ANY black man or woman who had a bachelor’s degree–and quite a few who didn’t even have that–regardless of whether or not they were qualified to teach. Since teaching jobs in most inner cities paid comparatively well–especially compared to social workers where many blacks with degrees had settled previously, mostly because THEIR college instructors had pointed them in that direction–the teaching jobs were jumped at…to the ultimate detriment of the black STUDENTS. At roughly the same time as this was going on in the 60’s, black students developed the silly idea that any black boy or girl who studied hard and TRIED to learn proper English, U.S. History, Science and Math was “acting white” and they were bullied as a result. Lots of THOSE kids intentionally dumbed themselves down to avoid the bullying, even though they were easily the intellectual equals of any white kid. I watched this happened with my own black foster son and he suffered for it throughout HS because he was so far behind. He was by no means stupid, but he was convinced that he WAS. Of course, in HIS case, he’d been raised by a welfare queen who I knew for 6 years and never saw hold down a job once. She’d pretty much convinced him that IF he ever got into college, he’d probably have to become a sociologist because that way he could “take care of her” for a change. She died when he was in the 9th grade, so that never became an issue…especially after my wife and I took responsibility for him and helped him study so he could qualify for either a scholarship in athletics OR even academically. I had committed to him that I would PAY for him to go to Junior College if everything else fails for him. As it turned out, he was a blue-chip quarterback in HS and got a full ride at Texas Tech University.
Actually, it is when you look at the percentage of black pregnancies terminated by abortion; if I recall correctly, the figure is about 60%.
Except that “thou shalt not kill” is a poor translation of the original Hebrew. The word that was translated as “kill” in the King James is more accurately translated as “murder,” which isn’t the same thing. And “thou shalt not murder” is how it’s translated in the Orthodox Jewish Bible.
I worked for Ounce of Prevention in Chicago which is a organization which houses several non-for-profits including Head Start. I learned a lot about Head Start and although I am vehemently against public education, find Head Start amazingly successful in educating young children. Part of the success of Head Start is one of the organization’s 7 components (Parent Involvement, Health, Mental Health, Education, and others I don’t remember now) which is Parent Involvement. A parent cannot reap the benefits of HS without taking part in the Parent Involvement component. That means that the parent has to be either working part-time or going to school part-time. It is also mandatory that they participate in various meetings and other requirements in order to have their children remain in HS. I don’t know if it is the same nowadays because it’s been many years since I was involved. The major problem with Head Start is that it stops at 5 year olds. Then, the public school system takes over and the majority of HS children fall into the same cesspool as the other children after having achieved much success.
Like you said, Head Start doesn’t go far enough. That’s because of the commie institution we call “public education”. Do you realize that the average amount of money a public school receives from the Federal Government for one child is about $17,000 per student? And high school is even higher. That is what the taxpayers are paying for children to come out of school without being able to read, write complete sentences, spell, use grammar properly, (and they just eliminated teaching cursive handwriting!) solve simple mathematical problems without a calculator, or find England on a map?? We (the USA) is nearly at the bottom of the rung of civilized nations educationally. Our children are STOOPID. In addition, if parents opt to send their children to a private/parochial school, they are paying TWICE for education because their tax dollars are still going to pay for public schools. I could go on and on (as most here know!) about public education. It should be totally torn down by its roots and started over with teachers having to be educated classically (in the Socratic Method as I am) and schools operated by a religious entity or business group. The government should not have their grubby hands in the process of educating our young.
Thank you for this post!
It’s VERY useful to talk to someone who has had actual, hands-on, experience in something – whether it be farming, a government program, aid to developing countries, combat … there is nothing like actual live testimony from someone who was or is there.
Academics have a saying, “The plural of anecdote is not data”. While this is true, some leftwing academics misuse it to mean, “I have my theories, I have the results of surveys, don’t bother me with inconvenient facts.” When I’ve argued with leftwingers about the downside of welfare … promoting dependency and irresponsible behavior … results that I have witnessed personally – I often get that response… “Those are just anecdotes!”
On Head Start. It was a government program. Well-intentioned, and, amazingly, with good results but … as you say, all the gains get lost when the child leaves the program and enters the public school system. This is a well-known fact, admitted even by liberals who have studied the program.
So what to do? I strongly believe the government has a role to play in ensuring that our population is educated. This has been true in the US for about 200 years. However, there are several ways the government can do this: one is to run government schools, which is how it’s mainly done today. But there are other ways to accomplish the same end – educating our young people – with better results.
Our government-run schools get mixed results: if you break down the population by ethnic group, and compare like with like – European Americans with European (indigenous) Europeans, African Americans with African Africans, Hispanic Americans with Latin American Hispanics, and Asian-Americans with Asian Asians … we don’t do too badly.
Anyone who is interested in this should read the wonderful Swedish Kurd, Tino Sanandaji . Every conservative should know about him. He was born in Iran, immigrated to Sweden … and has very sound views – in my opinion – on all the big issues of the day.
A list of the things he has written, and which are available on the internet is here.
Most of his work is in Swedish! Just scroll past the Swedish titles, and you start coming to his English-language stuff. It’s brilliant.
He writes on economics, immigration, Islam, education … he backs up a lot of his work with hard facts. He refutes Krugman, he explains ‘populism’, the problems with immigration to Europe, the dangers of simple comparisons of one nation to another … read his stuff and you will be well-armed for political debates. (Warning: he may challenge some of your assumptions. Don’t be put off by this.)
He did a statistical analysis of American educational results, which you can read here. It’s an eye-opener. If you think the US is terrible at education, do, please, read this essay, and have another think. Our kids may be stupid, but … compared to the kids in other countries, if the PISA scores are reliable … they’re not worse than the kids elsewhere. Whether this is a reason for being thankful, or being in despair, I leave to others to decide.
American public schools, in my opinion, do a lot less than they could, especially given the greater sums of money, proportionately, that Americans spend on their schools.
In fact, I think there are two almost-completely-independent problems: educating the ‘bottom third’ – largely Black and Hispanic students in the inner cities — and educating middle-class students. We could do much better at both.
How? There are various alternative solutions. A conservative-libertarian friend of mine is bringing out a book soon on reforming the school system. I’ll review it here and I hope lots of Republican Operatives buy it. I’ve read some chapters in draft form and I believe it will be of great value to conservatives in the education debate.
Can ANYONE explain to me where in our Constitution is the authorization for the federal government to have ANY role in educating our children at ANY level? When you inject federal dollars into the mix, you will ALWAYS get some degree of federal CONTROL–regardless of what we’re talking about here. The quality of public education BEGAN a downward spiral on the very DAY that the feds decided that they could “improve” it by injecting federal tax dollars into the system…and THAT’S the simple truth.
They would probably cite this:
Although if the Founders had had any clue about all the ways it would be misused, I imagine they would have phrased it more carefully.
There are several questions that arise whenever we talk about government getting involved in something, whether it’s to outlaw it, subsidize it, or do it:
(1) Is it a good idea for anyone or anything to do it?
(2) If it IS a good idea to do it, should government be involved?
(3) If government should be involved, at what levels of government should the involvement be?
(4) If the the government should be involved, is it Constitutional?
(5) If it’s not, or could be construed as not Constitutional, but is a good thing to do and needs government involvement, how do we deal with that fact?
These are all logically separate questions, although of course they are connected. But people often mix them up. Slavery was Constitutional. Prohibiting people from taking their favorite drug was not, so we changed the Constitution. Then when we decided to let them take it again (legally), we changed it back. There’s nothing sacred about the Constitution – it was written by fallible men … just very good and clever men, and because they had a pretty good understanding of human nature, the Constitution they wrote, with amendments, has stood up very well.
Note also: something – slavery is an example – might be Constitutional, but wrong – in which case we need to amend the Constitution. So – just for the sake of argument, if federal funding (with the inevitable controls) was Constitutional – should we amend to Constitution to make it unConstutional?
And: government involvement in education has always occurred in the US – it was just local, and then state, government that did it. But perhaps that’s a bad thing as well? I know there are people who are against any sort of government involvement in education at all, at any level, of any sort: they believe education is purely a private matter for the parents, or guardians, of children, and that no level of government should be involved in any way. I think they’re probably the same people who want to auction off the National Parks.
My own view:
(1) Education, abstractly, is a good thing. About the best thing there is, in fact. I suppose not everyone would agree. Of course, exactly what should be taught and how are also real issues. I’m a Cultural-Literacy supporter, as I think most sensible people are. However, I think we ask too much of the bottom third of our kids, and too little of the top third. I’d put a lot more practical subjects into education – I’ve taught a lot of kids how to factorize quadratic equations, and for most of them, it was a pointless exercise. They should have been learning how to cook a meal, wire up a house, play a musical instrument, shoot a rifle.
(2) Government – at some level – should be involved in facilitating education – not necessarily through government-owned schools, but at least by making it a legal requirement to educate your children to some minimum standard, and by subsidizing this education through forced income transfers (i.e taxes).
As for which levels of government should be involved, I’m open to argument.
It’s certainly true that the original Constitution doesn’t permit the national government to do very much.
Pretty much everyone just ignores this fact when they want the Federal Government to do something they support. I believe that when President Eisenhower wanted to get federal funding for a national highway program, which we now call the Interstate Highway system — certainly a good thing although completely unConstitutional – he had to motivate it by saying that a national highway system was essential for national defense. (I don’t know if the following is true, or just one of those stories, but supposedly new highways built for the Interstate Highway System had to have at least one straight mile in every five, so that a B-52 could land on them. )
I think the main argument against Federal aid to education is that it will inevitably bring Politically Correct indoctrination with it.
Whether or not the Federal Government is involved, I’m for maximizing choice and genuine diversity, so that decent schools can flourish, which means being able to get rid of incompetent teachers, being able to get rid of disruptive students, and having enough money to attract high-quality teachers. I trust that there will be enough parents who want their kids to actually learn real knowledge to sustain schools that teach real knowledge.
This is one of the most important issues we face today.
Ever heard of the 10th Amendment? Unless a power is SPECIFICALLY granted to the feds, it resides in the people and/or the States. There IS no such power granted to the feds vis a vis education…nor abortions, the environment, transportation (air, land and water), geology, national parks, medicine, health care, foods, drugs, sports, manufacturing and a whole host of other things that the feds have stuck their noses into over the last 150 years or so.
Yes, I have heard of it.
I think it’s sort of like Christianity – looks nice on paper, everyone pays lip service to it, but as a guide to behavior in real life, it’s just ignored. There’s probably a reason for that, grounded in what I believe is the bedrock of conservatism, common sense.
The world has gotten a lot more complex since the 18th Century. Even back then, our leaders found it necessary to violate the Constitution sometimes: what in the Constitution gave Jefferson the right to have the Federal Government buy the Louisiana Territory? Jefferson knew that to do this Constitutionally he should get the Constitution amended. But there was no time. So he finally rationalized it as being covered by the power of the Federal Government to make treaties. Uh-huh. I’m glad they found some reason to do it.
What do YOU think the Louisiana Purchase was if not a “treaty?”
If one can rationalize violating the Constitution for one reason, they can rationalize violating it for any number of reasons. The result (which we see) is a screwed up mess.
Indeed, it was a treaty.
But here’s how we have to think about it: suppose something is unConstitutional. Does it become Constitutional because it’s part of a treaty? Or … suppose something is Constitutional … then it doesn’t take a treaty to make it more Constitutional.
The things the Federal Government agrees to in a treaty should be Constitutional, no? If a Leftist President signed a treaty with Iran to arrest and extradite to Iran American critics of that country’s government … that wouldn’t make it Constitutional.
So … either it was Constitutional for Jefferson to have the Federal Government buy that land, or it wasn’t … whether or not it was in a treaty. That’s what Jefferson originally thought, and he was right.
I think we should think of it this way: government – at any level – should only do the things that only government can do. Here we have to use our common sense: I suppose someone could argue – I’ve heard that there are actually people who argue this way – that a military could be built and sustained by private citizens. But even if that were possible in theory, it’s not going to happen in practice.
In theory, education could be left to every parent: if you want to educate your child, pay for it yourself. But since there would be – some – parents who wouldn’t bother, we have to use the state to force them to do so … and … while we’re at it … we have to take money from those who have it, to pay for schools. There is a certain justification in doing this: the childless benefit from other people’s children being educated, so although they are forced to help pay for it, they also benefit from it.
Then there is the question of what level of government should be involved – I don’t think there is an iron wall between levels of government, in which local or state government is good and virtuous, but national (‘Federal’) government is evil. Government at the state or local level can be coercive and unjust too, as we see in California or New York at the moment. And you can find plenty of local government that is inefficient and corrupt … isn’t that part of Detroit’s problems?
A lot of “locally-controlled” public schools are c.r.a.p. I suspect they’d be better if they were nationally-controlled. (Which doesn’t mean they SHOULD be.)
I think the main criterion, once we agree that government should, or at least can, be involved in something, is: is the ‘something’ an inherently national issue, or is it a state or local issue? Some things can fall in between, of course. For a long time, maintaining the highways was done by the states and counties. When people didn’t travel more than a few miles from their homes, this didn’t matter much. But once we had the automobile, and automobile ownership by nearly everyone, and lots of things being hauled by trucks, over long distances … it became more reasonable to move some of the burden of maintaining the nation’s highways onto the national government.
You are absolutely right that we don’t want to rush to government to solve every little problem. And you are right that if government is going to be involved, it’s best that it be local, decentralized, close to us – if possible.
We have a wonderful Federal system which the Left is in the process of trying to destroy and replace with one of centralized national power. Whereas we ought to have a system where states can disagree about things, where if you’re unhappy living in one state you can move to another. Then Mississippi can outlaw having sex with animals and Calfornia can make it compulsory.
But we’ve got to use our common sense. Let it be only the Marxists who let their thinking get taken over by a set of simple ideas and who then try to rigidly interpret the world through those ideas.
Government, whether state, federal, or county should NOT be involved in education. Look at the perfect mess they’ve made of it thus far!! As a teacher and principal for over 25 years, public education is nothing more than just plain ol’ Marxist brainwashing. Can you imagine an employer paying an employee more and more money even though the employee has failed in his position? Pouring more and more money into a cesspool is just throwing money away. Instead of improving academic scores, they’ve worsened. What employer would allow that to go on and on?