Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Plenty to Go Around

There seems to be a surfeit of hypocrisy among Don Imus' detractors (though none here at Viewpoint, of course). Michelle has the goods on two of the big fish, Al Sharpton and Barack Obama.

For readers who may not realize the kind of sleaze rappers like Ludicris put out on the air waves to be soaked up by our kids, Michelle also offers some lyrics at the Obama article. For strong stomachs only.



The tragedy at Virginia Tech conjures up a flood of thoughts. Two questions in particular are on everyone's mind: Why do these things happen? What can be done to stop them?

Like a lot of people, I think that the answer to the first question is two-fold. First, too many young people are in the grip of a murderous nihilism because as a society we have rejected the only belief system which gives us any basis for valuing human life and for treating others with respect and kindness.

Secondly, our young are immersed in a culture of violence and death in which they hear about killing, talk about killing, laugh about killing, and practice killing in their video games for hours every day.

Those two toxic elements form a time bomb in a person, a binary weapon, which, when the ingredients are mixed, becomes an explosive killer.

By abandanoning the Judeo-Christian worldview that was the mortar which held society together for three centuries, and replacing it with an atheistic materialism that offers no ground at all for morality, no basis for conferring worth on other people, we stripped our young of any basis for thinking of others as valuable in their own right.

In the absence of a God, people are valuable only to the extent that others value them, but atheistic materialism offers no reason why anyone should value another human being. If we're nothing but animals then, like animals, we can be slaughtered if someone has the power and the inclination to do it.

Add to this spiritual emptiness an entertainment culture of film, music, and video games so many of which are grotesquely violent and pornographic and the surprise is not that young people wantonly kill but that they don't do it more often than they do.

People immersed in what passes for entertainment in much of our culture become desensitized to death. They learn to see others as targets to be "blown away", not as people to be loved.

Some will object that lots of people play these games, listen to violent music, watch movies depicting mass slaughter, and yet they don't kill others. But this misses the point. People reside on a spectrum at one end of which are the most psychopathic among us. The more we revel in bloodshed and horror the more the spectrum gets shifted. Everyone becomes a little more desensitized, a little more hardened. Everyone tends to see others as a little less valuable than they would have, and some who would not otherwise be inclined to actually carry out their murderous fantasies now are and others who would not otherwise be inclined to harbor such fantasies now do.

Tragedies like yesterday's will recur as long as we continue to erode away the religious foundation upon which any morality must stand and substitute in its stead a culture that glories in violence, death, and horror. Just as we are what we feed our bodies, we are what we feed our minds.

If this is correct, and I'm convinced that it is at least a major part of the problem, then the long-term solution to mass murders in our schools is to recapture the spiritual understanding that we have lost in this country and to reject the culture of death the adults among us so blithely tolerate and our young so eagerly embrace.

We'll take up the short-term solution in another post.