School observes Flag Day by having students march with flags of nations their ancestors left.
Judge bans Christmas program from schools but okays Mexican Day of the Dead.
Seventy-five percent of San Diegans vote to keep cross at war memorial, but ACLU will go to court and says vote "doesn’t mean a damn thing."
Jefferson School renamed Sequoia because Jefferson owned slaves. But Cherokees under Chief Sequoia also owned black slaves.
San Francisco rejects World War II battleship Iowa as floating museum because of anti-military attitude.
– News items
The London bombings raise a key question: How was it possible that young men who lived in Britain – some of whom were born there – could have been so filled with hate that they blew up innocent fellow Britons riding in subway trains and a bus? We asked a similar question about John Walker Lindh, who grew up in California but went off to fight with the Taliban in Afghanistan – and wound up fighting fellow Americans.
The usual answer is that these people, and many like them, absorbed anti-Western, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-democratic ideas in extremist Muslim schools and mosques. But this is only half true.
It’s difficult to take people who have been raised to love their country and respect its values, and then indoctrinate them to hate that country and those values. It’s difficult to take people who have been firmly grounded in ethical principles, and then teach them to despise those principles.
It’s much easier to take empty vessels and fill them with hatred. It’s much easier to teach hate to people who have never been taught to love their country and respect its values. Such people have nothing positive to unlearn – they can go directly to the negative lessons.
But it’s even worse. Many schools in America, and I believe in Britain and elsewhere in the Western world, aren’t merely failing to teach young people to love their country and respect its values. No, the schools are actually setting the stage for the purveyors of hate by teaching young people to look down on their country and to disrespect its values.
Do you want to bring down a nation, or a civilization? There’s no need to subvert the armed forces and stage a military coup. There’s no need to convince citizens to vote for your candidates. All you need to do is to take over the schools of education, journalism and film, then wait a generation. The schools, news media and films will spread your destructive ideas.
Of course, those who took over our schools of education, journalism and film were leftists. They hoped to undermine our patriotism and devotion to freedom, then push their half-baked ideas of Marxism. They never expected radical Islamists to fill the moral and political vacuum they created. These atheistic leftists didn’t foresee that they would pave the way for religious fanatics who plan to take us back to the seventh century.
But that’s the risk nihilists run. They undermine the foundations of Western civilization, then are shocked when it starts to collapse – and threatens to bury them along with everyone else. They create a vacuum of patriotism and religion, then are dismayed when the vacuum is filled with values they despise almost as much as they despise capitalism and democracy.
But then it’s too late.
As a child, I pledged allegiance to the flag every morning, and on the way home I passed the sports field and heard the school band practicing patriotic songs. I could whistle "Columbia the Gem of the Ocean" and "Hail Columbia" before I ever touched a piano. When was the last time you heard those songs? For that matter, when did you last hear anyone whistle?
Schoolbooks gave a pro-American, sugarcoated view of history, but I believe this was beneficial. Kids need illusions. As they grow older, there is plenty of time to become disillusioned.
During World War II, churches and synagogues were filled to overflowing with worshipers praying fervently for peace, but a peace that could come only after aggressive tyrants were defeated. No clergy preached that we should "forgive" Hitler, "understand" Mussolini, or "see the viewpoint" of Tojo.
Nobody claimed, "One man’s concentration-camp guard is another man’s freedom fighter." And nobody claimed we "deserved" the Pearl Harbor attack, the way some people now claim we "deserved" 9/11. Nobody would have dared to.
Many high school and college kids joined the ROTC and were taught to shoot by sergeants who had been in combat. This helped us form the idea that a gun is a tool for defending liberty, not for robbing liquor stores. Schools and movies left kids no doubt that we were already members of a special group – Americans – so we felt little need to join gangs or cults.
Yes, I was luckier than the British bombers or John Walker Lindh. They were taught to doubt not only their nations, but also – even worse – their nations’ ideals.
- They grew up in nations where patriotism was viewed as budding fascism, and where flag-wavers were believed to be secret Nazis.
- Their schools no longer observed Christmas and Easter vacations, but merely winter and spring breaks. The significance was lost.
- Their teachers no longer wished the class "Merry Christmas" but "Happy holiday." What holiday? Groundhog Day?
- They read schoolbooks that depicted much of Western history as racist and imperialist, and that taught them to view their nations as a negative influence in e world. No wonder they didn’t identify themselves as British or American, but instead joined a group that is violently anti-British and anti-American.
- They rarely heard patriotic music on national holidays. They probably walked home from school with earphones, so they had no need to whistle. They had no idea of their nation’s religious basis, so they looked for a group that had a religious basis.
- The movies they saw depicted their leaders as scheming warmongers and their military as fascistic morons. There was violence in films, rock videos and video games, but it was purposeless. Instead of brave soldiers dying for freedom, they saw mindless people dying for nothing.
- They were never taught to shoot by a veteran sergeant, and as boys were probably discouraged from playing with toy guns. Thus they may have acquired an unhealthy fascination for weapons.
- They were probably taught that anger is always wrong. Thus they may have repressed their anger, only to have it burst out in an inappropriate direction.
- They were so tired of trying to find their own path that they joined the first group that offered certainty, even if it was a false and evil certainty.
- They were so ashamed of belonging to a group that was misrepresented as harmful that they joined a group that was really harmful.
- They were so sick of the watered-down religion and watered-down nationality they saw around them that they joined a group that offered an undiluted product, even if it was poisonous.
None of this reduces their moral or legal guilt for having voluntarily joined a gang of murderers. But it does reveal our guilt for having brought them up in nations so uninspiring, so lukewarm, so halfhearted, so value-free.
If they were merely aberrations, we can leave them to be argued about by psychiatrists. But what if they represent severe cases of a common disease – emptiness of soul and rootlessness of personality? What if there are many others out there?
We would do well to give our children – including the children of immigrants – solid identities as Americans, Britons or Australians as the case may be. Otherwise, they may fill their emptiness with whatever toxic material they happen to find. If we give young people nothing worth being loyal to, that’s our fault. And we will pay dearly for it.
So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
– Revelation 3:16
Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.