We Reap A Bitter Harvest

Posted: January 22, 2013

In a Washington Post op-ed this week, newly minted Sen. Tim Kaine posed a plaintive question: “Are we ready to reduce gun violence?”

Television’s Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” tried digging a bit deeper, asking, “Why is it that there’s no other issue in this country with as dire public safety consequences as this that we are unable to take even the most basic steps toward putting together a complex plan of action just to slow this epidemic spread?”

The answers: While America may be willing to tackle this problem, as Mr. Kaine desires, it can’t agree on a solution — because the “most basic step” is also the most elusive, and perhaps even impossible to take. And that is a full-blown “back to the future” cultural restoration, a return to civility.

As political economist Walter Williams observed in a recent column, there was a time, in his youth, when New
York City high schools had gun clubs and students routinely brought their rifles to school on the subway. Nowadays, even though metal detectors and armed guards are staples at these same institutions, violence in classrooms as well as in hallways is a way of life.

Mr. Williams knows where to place the blame — on liberals and progressives, especially in the “education establishment,” who’ve “waged war on traditions, customs, and moral values.” These folks, he said, have “taught their vision, that there are no moral absolutes,” to the young. The results, even with all those “zero-tolerance” policies, are all too evident.

“Customs, traditions, moral values, and rules of etiquette, not laws and government regulations, are what make for a civilized society,” Mr. Williams concluded. No longer are they taught, much less appreciated. And we’re reaping a bitter harvest, one not easily reversed.

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