Posted by Curt on 30 November, 2014 at 3:45 pm. Be the first to comment!


Jerry Pournelle:

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009

If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.
Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983

At least one black leader, a State Senator, has declared that we are now in a race war, blacks and their sympathizers vs. everyone else. She has no authority to declare any such thing, and she certainly does not speak for anything like a majority of African Americans, nor, I suspect, for anything like a majority of liberal intellectuals, but it is an astonishing thing to say.

We are not in a race war, but there are similarities to a barbarian invasion. We have a barbarian culture within the United States. The most common cause of death of black males is to be killed by another black male. There are other sub cultures in which homicide is common. Generally the barbarian culture does not interact with the majority of the middle class, but in so-called ghetto areas American citizens cannot avoid interactions with the barbarian culture. They live there, and they can’t avoid it.

More than forty years ago when I was a city official in the Mayor’s office, I was asked to sit in on a meeting with the precinct captain of a district that included both black middle class and some “Inner city” “ghetto” areas. The meeting consisted of the police officers and several black women who were tired of the lack of law and order in their neighborhood. The captain explained that he had no more resources: he had patrols on overtime as it was. There was nothing to be done. I offered to send some of the Metro units in. These were elite police patrols who strictly enforced the law.  I warned the ladies that if we sent them in, they would come down hard on all criminal activity they saw.  All of it.  The ladies said that was very much what they wanted.

We sent some of the elite Metro units into the neighborhood. They began enforcing the law as they had been trained: not as community police, but as strict enforcement officers looking for good arrests. This was before Wilson’s “Broken Windows” theory became widely known, but I knew Wilson, and this was in that spirit: you don’t ignore minor infractions because that leads people to think you will ignore major ones.

The experiment lasted about a month, and the ladies reported they were really surprised at how much better conditions were; but there were black leaders who claimed that the district was being overpoliced. The LA Times talked about the invasion of the police. The mayor told me to get the Metro units out of there. Things went back to where they were before I attempted to intervene.

This was forty years ago, after the Watts riots but before the later Los Angeles riots.

The cure for barbarians within the gates is to educate the barbarian children. Humans are not born civilized. They acquire civility by living in civilization, and they learn it as they grow up in it. In the United States we have had waves of immigrants from areas with entirely different cultures, some from more civilized cultures than ours, but many from less, and few in which civilization was based on freedom: American citizens act civilized because they are civilized, not from fear of apprehension and punishment. The Metro Unit wasn’t really the answer to those ladies’ complaints; it was just all I had to offer.

But the way to civilize barbarians is to do it in the schools, from the earliest grades on: enforcement of discipline, being polite, respectful deference to authority – not cringing fear, but respectful deference. But those values have to be instilled, and enforced.

I remember a song I learned as a child.

School days, school days
Dear old Golden Rule days
‘Reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmetic
Taught to the tune of the hick’ry stick

I think everyone I knew learned it. It’s a catchy tune, and it sort of described what we were doing in school. The hickory stick wasn’t much used, but it was legal for the teachers to use it. The Sisters in my first three grades had rulers which they were said to use freely (although I think I actually witnessed Sister Elizabeth Ann use hers no more than twice in the two years I was in her First/Second grade classroom). And the Three R’s were certainly what we were expected to learn. Reading and Writing and Arithmetic.

And when we moved to the country I was in a public school, again two grades to the room and about 20-25 pupils to the grade. This was out in the county in farming country, but we had the same textbooks that they had in Memphis, and we pretty well learned the same things: ostensibly reading, writing, and arithmetic. Of course reading included some real literature: no Dick and Jane, and alas no Cat in the Hat. I wish I had my Third Grade Reader. I have found the California Sixth Grade Reader, which I have edited and published as an eBook; our Tennessee Sixth Grade Reader wasn’t much different. Most of the same poems and stories.

But we were also learning to be civilized. To say “Ma’am” to the teachers, or call them Miss Dean or Mrs. Cooper and be courteous, and yes, obedient. We learned self discipline. You don’t run in the halls. You don’t hit girls (boys got away with a bit more roughhousing with each other, but you don’t hit girls). This is how civilized people live.

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