It Is the Moral Collapse, Stupid

This one has some staying power. The most recent massacre, I mean. We might be talking about this all the way to, you know, like next Monday.

And I know that sounds dismissive of tragedy but it isn’t really: it is dismissive of the official response to tragedy. A little earlier today I saw that the Yankees and Rays will forgo their game broadcast and will, instead, broadcast several hours of DNC gun control propaganda. They didn’t call it that, but that doesn’t change what it is. As I read the Yankee’s statement is just became blazingly clear what they could actually do to bring an end to this:

Fire the next top flight player who gets a girl pregnant and doesn’t marry her.

Because that is what this all is: what is wrong with our society is entirely the result of society deciding not to enforce standards. Sure, one ball player not doing the right thing didn’t cause this all to happen, but thousands of professional sports stars over decades acting like pigs in the off season played a huge role. They taught the young men of America – and especially poor, young men – that it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you can deliver the goods. That only your ability to make money matters…everything else will be covered up, paid off and forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Years ago I wrote about Mick Jagger and his life and I pointed out that his persona, especially as young, was an act. He was a middle class kid. Nice, respectable life. His mother was a Tory. He did very well in school and had he not become a rock star, probably would have had a long and successful career in some square employment. But the persona, crafted to sell records, was of a wild, party man. A street tough telling it like it is via his music. Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll! But it was, indeed, all an act. A very successful act: Jagger is worth about $500 million. And I considered Mick Jagger, and many like him, and wondered how many people took it at face value and decided to live that life – live the act, that is. But by actually doing it and not having an army of people to keep things squared away and hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up all mistakes?

Given the popularity and endurance of the Rolling Stones, it was probably several million people around the world who wanted to be like Mick. Or like any one of scores of other famous rock acts…which were (and are) acts. Make believe. Those few in the business who really lived that life – Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon, etc – ended up dead at very young ages. Because living that life is suicidal. Neil Young sang about it being better to burn out than fade away – but he sang that in 1979 and he’s 76 now and very much fading away rather than burning out.

Let me quickly think of the people I know – friends and family – who are six feet under because they went along with all that: George, Todd, Rob, Pat, Jeff, Alex…that’s just top of the head. How many people can think of that many in a few seconds? Then we can add those who are simply a mess: a good dozen that I can easily think of. And then there’s their kids! Also a mess – though some of them have managed to rise above.

Certainly the sudden massacre of 19 kids in school is a shock – but in the grand scheme of things, in this War Against Decency we’ve been waging for 70 years, it hardly counts as a skirmish. More than 100,000 people died of drug overdose in the United States last year. That about 5,200 school shootings. And they passed almost unnoticed. Not dramatic enough. Can’t make a good DNC political point about it. And, heck, I actually saw pictures of NYC billboards which are telling drug addicts not to feel shame, but just use the drugs properly. But dead is dead – whether from a bullet or drugs. Or any other of the social ills which are causing people to die (I think I read that 28 people were murdered in Chicago last weekend…and not too long ago an adorable little girl was gunned down in a McDonald’s drive through…but, hey, she was black and so was the shooter and it was over gangland crap so nobody gonna do a major news story about that).

We can change and we will change. This cannot endure. Bad as it is – and looks to get worse – the strength to cure this will be summoned. The longer we wait, the more brutal the reaction. But it has to be. Civilization is necessary in order for 90% of us to live. When our backs are really against the wall, you’ll be surprised what people are capable of. But until then, I’m going to keep pointing out what is wrong and who contributed to it.

So that when retribution comes, the right targets will feel the heat.

We Wanted This Culture of Death

In the aftermath of the latest school massacre, the Democrats have brought up what they always bring up – gun control. You know the usual: universal background checks, things like that. Nobody, as far as I can tell, has even asked whether the shooter would have passed the background check (my bet: he would have). It is all so patently ridiculous – performative theater, though Democrats are looking here to goose their base for November. Don’t know if it will work – they tried it with Roe but the bottom line is that people care far more about what it costs to fill the tank than a theoretical end to abortion.

But people were killed, does that make a difference? Perhaps, but probably not. I think that we’ve become rather numb to this, and that is sad in itself. But it is what we asked for.

Earlier today, I came across a Tweet which said that it may be that the cops didn’t charge into the building but instead isolated it before moving. I don’t know if that is 100% accurate but I think that would be in keeping with normal police procedure. You don’t know what’s out there and until you’ve got some intel, any move you make might make things worse. But the point of the Tweet was that the cops should have just charged in supreme disregard for their own lives. To which, you answer: yeah. But.

And the “but” is that by what standard should a cop selflessly sacrifice himself? I mean, I know the standard. John 15:13, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” But there’s a problem here – that’s a Christian standard. It is, to be sure, shared to some extent by other faiths, but the highest expression of it is Christian. To go to certain death for the benefit of others is something Christ did, and all Christians are supposed to follow the example of Christ as far as they are able. But this standard isn’t shared by people with no faith – and keep in mind that “no faith” runs from the most irritating atheist you’ve ever met all the way up to the weekly Church-goer who lives the other six days of the week as a practical pagan. The chances that any particular person – let alone any particular cop – will be a Christian hero are rather small these days. I’d guess that its about one in four Americans who actually take a stab at living a Christian life these days.

And as I said, this is what we wanted. Not like we specifically voted on it, but we passed in silence as it happened. I mean that as a people, of course: some of us objected vigorously and we were told to shut up. But a school shooting is a bum defecating on the street is a child being sex trafficked is a starlet being used as a sex toy is an activist getting rich off tragedy is a corporation turning a blind eye to his Chinese supplier’s slave laborers is a twelve year old being told he’s genderfluid by his teacher and so on. You get the picture. The shootings gather more notice because they are dramatic (and the Democrats hope to wring political advantage out of each corpse), but the rest of it is just going on right in front of us…and in the course of a year causes vastly more deaths than all the gun violence combined.

As I’ve said before, there is a cure for this. It is the same cure used the last time barbarians inundated the West: extreme violence. What we call cruelty these days because, not being Christian (or any sort of faith, really), we have lost sight of what real cruelty is. Civilization is not innate to humanity. The normal course of humanity is to grab whatever it can with no thought to others or the future. To be a person who cares about others and takes a thought for the morrow is a learned quality. We, as a people, learned it over a thousand year period and via the lash, the branding iron, the headsman’s axe and the gallows. We were forced, by those who wanted civilization, to knuckle under to required norms of behavior. And we became so used to this that we forgot that our custom of being decent was force reduced to routine and hiding it’s claws. We began to believe that decency was the norm and that we could release our instincts and everything would work out not just as well as we had it, but much better.

We believed this because people can be very, very stupid.

So, we’re now getting to the point where we’ll have to choose and I believe we will choose incorrectly. That is, we will refuse to apply the violence necessary to restore decent behavior. And because we make this choice, we’ll then find a small group of people who will make it for us and so we’ll get the same result. Civilization will not completely die – it can’t. People will want to eat in safety. Right now, they don’t see how large the threat is but a day will come when they do, and then those who threaten the safety will find things starting to go very badly for them.

But, meanwhile, we’ll just keep going on – stepping around the sh** on the sidewalk as we walk from one mass shooting to another.