|You Think the GOP Has Problems?||The Scrooge in Me|
by Christopher Chantrill
December 18, 2012 at 12:00 am
BACK IN THE good old days, when a few million humans were evenly distributed across the planet, every young man was a rampage killer. In the dawn raid, the idea was to kill all the men in the neighboring village and grab a few women. Remember the Sabine women? It was rape and pillage and a jolly good time was had by all the rampagers.
A mere thousand years ago the Vikings liked nothing better in the Fall than to rampage up the rivers of southern England, killing the men, grabbing the grain, and selling the women and children in Dublin, the main slave market in NW Europe.
Now we have the modern rampage killer who, with benefit of modern technology, can kill a whole classroom of children on his own, without benefit of a band of brothers.
Are things getting better, or worse? According to Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature things are getting better, because the annual death by violence back in the hunter-gatherer age was 500 deaths per 100,000 per year. In the agricultural age, it was 50 deaths per 100,000. And today it is one to five deaths per 100,000 per year.
Well, you say, we are more civilized today, and that is true. Today we humans are concentrated in cities in a way unthinkable two hundred years ago. But that also makes us much more vulnerable.
Remember who invented the concentration camp? No, it wasn’t the Nazis or the Soviets. It was the Brits during the Boer War. They concentrated the women and children of the rebellious Boers in camps. They wanted to have them under control.
Commerce seems to require concentration: think Champagne fairs, Hanseatic ports, Manchester, Pittsburgh, Wall Street, Detroit, Silicon Valley, “ideopolises.”
Industry likes concentration: think slave plantations and mass-production factories.
Ruling classes like concentration: think collective farms and planned cities, one-size-fits-all social programs.
But why do we need to concentrate our children in government factory schools? OK, we know. The Jesuits did it because if you gave them the boy they could give you the man. So the Enlightenment’s “sophists, economists, and calculators” could hardly do less. The French wanted to get children away from the Jesuits, the Germans wanted to train up soldiers and thinkers to beat the French, and the Harvard Unitarians in Boston wanted to get the children away from the Puritans.
What any ruling class wants is to get children away from the influence of their parents. And what better way could there be to concentrate and homogenize children than in government child custodial facilities!
It is curious that the modern rampage shootings started around the time that the best and brightest decided that the big youth problem was the education of girls. Even though it stands to reason that boys are the ones that need to be socialized away from their dawn-raid instincts, and always will.
It is also curious that the very people that argue for saving the planet by preserving species diversity, and want a neo-pastoral culture in which people eat and work and live locally, are also the people that insist on the concentration of everyone in government schools, government health care, government pensions, and government-planned cities.
On the one hand these people want to unwind the remarkable human mobilization of the last two centuries, the strategic concentration of humans into cities which in the last decade was moving 10 million Chinese per year from the countryside into the cities. On the other hand they want people mobilized into virtual armies in schools, factories, office parks, social programs--for what?
We modern conservatives talk a pretty good line about freedom, and our liberal friends talk a pretty good line about liberation. But how can you call a people free or liberated that spend their entire childhood confined in government schools and then spend their adulthood in offices staring at computer screens? What is the goal of all this strategic concentration?
Army generals have always known that strategic concentration is a tricky business. When you concentrate your forces things can go very wrong. When you have achieved strategic concentration, you had better fight a battle and win it real soon, before you run out of food, or succumb to disease, or find that your army is in the wrong place. We in the West have been strategically concentrating ourselves for two hundred years. For what? For Obama’s War on Inequality?
There is probably no more mindless concentration today than the concentration of children in government schools according to a plan that was already old in 1850.
My guess is that in the next few years, from bitter experience, we will increasingly come to judge this strategic concentration of children as utter folly.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America