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Liberals! You are to Blame! Agreed, Holy Father, That Human Dignity Needs Work. Then What?

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Beyond Young Men and Mayhem

by Christopher Chantrill
March 18, 2014 at 12:00 am

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SO NOW IT LOOKS like the disappearing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 was hijacked or diverted, maybe by young Muslim extremists, and all the world is in a tizzy.

What is wrong with these young men that seem to want to tear the world down?

Nothing is wrong with them. The normal behavior of young men is mayhem. It is not remarkable that Al Qaeda and the Moslem Brotherhood have created a corps of terrorists and suicide bombers. The amazing thing is that so many young men in the world are boringly peaceable and productive.

Anyway, the young men committing the mayhem are not the problem.

Let us remember the time young men from Northwest Europe were the problem and were running all over the world creating mayhem. Leave aside Columbus and Pizarro and stout Cortez. Let’s talk about the young piratical Brits sacking Nombre de Dios and Portobelo on the Caribbean coast of Panama. Again and Again.

There the Spanish were, peaceably transporting the silver and gold mined down in Peru across Panama for transit to Europe. In 1572 Francis Drake, slave trader, attacked them and sacked Nombre de Dios. In 1601 William Parker attached Portobelo and in 1668 Henry Morgan sacked Portobelo and Panama City on the Pacific. Morgan subsequently became governor of Jamaica. In 1739 Admiral Vernon attacked Portobelo and was made a national hero. And that’s just the attacks on Panama!

The piratical young men weren’t really the problem. The problem was the dream of empire in their elders.

Back in the really good old days young men were regularly employed on dawn raids on the neighboring village. It was bloody work and the death rate from violence back then is reckoned at 500 per 100,000 per year according to Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of our Nature, but the young men were willing to do it. Then came the dawn of agriculture and those dawn raiders got domesticated into peaceable plowmen with an annual violent death rate of 50 per 100,000.

Today we have tamed our young men even more. The annual violent death rate in the US is down at about 5 per 100,000 among the young men operating power equipment, writing cool software, and starting radical new web-based businesses.

Really, the only time today’s biddable young men get feisty is when some powerful man wants them that way: gang-bangers in the inner city, street protesters for some community organizer, Occupy activists to beat up on the 1%, soldiers in the armed forces.

So of course today’s young Moslem men, encouraged by their elders, are racing towards the sound of the guns for the chance to explode a bomb in a crowd or take over a jet airplane. If Flight MH370 has indeed been hijacked and flown to a secret island or secret -stan airstrip, what could be more dangerous and exciting? Weren’t Western boys’ adventure stories all about that sort of thing?

The challenge for us is to look beyond the foreground of youthful mayhem to the strategic question. Is Islamic terrorism a strategic issue for us, one that requires an existential response, or is it a summer storm that will collapse into distant mutterings once evening turns into night?

Back in the 1940s to the 1980s the ruling class determined to contain the virus of global communism that threatened Europe and had infected the Third World. That amiable dunce Ronald Reagan deployed a three-part strategy to finish the job: first, a roaring economy; second, a defense buildup; third, a collapse in oil prices, courtesy of the Saudis, that devastated the Soviet economy.

In the late 2000s the old men of our educated ruling class decided against the war against terror and sent their angry young men out to say it was all a Republican lie.

After Obama’s locust years we are going to have to look beyond the latest news of mayhem in the air or in Russia’s near abroad and get serious about a proper strategy for America in the world. What are the threats and what are our goals? What do the old men want, and what shall be ask our young men to do?

For government always needs a war.

President Obama wants us to make war on each other. He wants to make war on conservative political groups, on global warming, on inequality. Forget all the foreign stuff.

Conservatives look for a different kind of mayhem. We’d like to unleash the young millennials to create economic mayhem with jobs, jobs, jobs to make America strong. And we’d like to unleash Harold Hamm and the frackers to create mayhem on global energy prices and make the Vlads and the mullahs of the world weak.

Which kind of war shall it be?

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures


German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Knowledge

Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Churches

[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


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital


presented by Christopher Chantrill

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