When the Center Doesn't Hold; Jared Loughner and Us
When an unstable man has a cluster of confused grievances and shoots up the innocent we are appalled, as we should be. Arizona shooting suspect Jared Loughner had his mad grievances as this video of him (click), released by the school he attended, shows. Something collapsed in Jared Loughner before something lethally erupted. And the innocent died in consequence. Jared Loughner deserves to be put away for life. Perhaps he will be executed.
Maybe he was just mad; some kind of chemical imbalance. But could it be that in any case he reflects something more sinister, something darkly awry in this our beloved country? When a nation has a cluster of confused grievances and unjustly shoots up the innocent ("collateral damage" [click]) in endless wars, the hawks call it not criminality but courageous patriotism; but the rest of us see it as that cheapened form of patriotism which Boswell called the "last refuge of scoundrels". And those who disagree with the nation's behavior may become suspect of disloyalty, despite the fact that Mark Twain said, "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it". No nation can always be right, always as pure as the driven snow. To think otherwise is in itself a sign of pathology. Henry David Thoreau reminded us that the true patriot is one who seeks to make his or her own country better, more decent, more just. He went to jail to say that sometimes one must---precisely for the good of the nation---say that somethings are just plain wrong, and that the State is not ultimate.
Educated for Mayhem
For a long time now even what passes for education in this country seems to have become unhinged from what was once called a classical education, the study of the Great Books, books which often taught great moral lessons, or at least which provoked thought along moral lines. This love for true ideals and stable principles and virtues was the bedrock of education. But something has changed. Today the humanities which taught us to think critically about actions---whether personal or national---appears to have been eclipsed by an "education" tethered to the market place and to political correctness, the will-to-power, which in practical terms means to the brutal imperialism of the multinationals which often enough puts politicians in its pockets, as if each one had his or her price.
Can it really be wrong and unpatriotic to say that this corruption of education and the nation is an ominous development? Today "education" often pits students against their parents; the very idea of the family and family values are mocked; and dissenters are marked. Like Pavlov's pups, students appear to be being farmed into that dangerous uniformity Aldous Huxley warned about [see label below]. All traditional authority but the Almighty State is held in disdain, execrated, as the initiates into the Nihil alone are allowed to progress to the next levels. Johnny goes home and tells his parents that his teacher has a lover of the same sex, is an atheist, that everything the child has been taught in the family is worthy only of ridicule. And television reinforces this contempt for decency and virtue 24x7.
For many students the anxiety is palpable, ever escalating. Home and school amount to cognitive dissonance in the brain when the State becomes the only legal parent and "school" in the final analysis. The student then, often enough, seeks relief in prescription drugs, alcohol and promiscuous sex. Many become addicted. The teachers, who are not allowed to discipline the students along any moral lines as in the "old" says, are bewildered as instructions come down from on high. Any teacher who breaks ranks and shouts the warning is marked for life and soon packing fruit at the local supermarket for work.
Sound Philosophy, Stable Principles
To the Catholic thinker all of this was almost inevitable. When the center---i.e., true principles based on sound philosophy---does not hold, the rest of the unhinging is only a matter of time. It's freefall time, the great derangement of Nihilism, along with the concomitant will-to-power. That is when the blood threatens to flow---whether in a deranged lone student or at the whim of any nation which has jumped the spiritual tracks of genuine justice. Most students will not shoot up the innocent; but can most escape the collapse into the mental and moral abyss which the new education (so-called) and the ubiquitous media advance daily? ---[Updated 2x]
--->Doctors replace Giffords' breathing tube...
--->Lawyers Alert - Feds Tell College: You’re Not Catholic..."Federal and state laws are increasingly being used to coerce religious institutions into actions and commitments that violate deeply held religious convictions and moral principles,” warns Kevin Theriot, Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, in the analysis entitled “Protecting Catholic Colleges from External Threats to Their Religious Liberty,” which is posted at CatholicHigherEd.org"...More
Note: I already placed this news report in a post below but do so again here due to the gravity of the matter.
"The problem with concocting your own moral code, or with everyone concocting his/her own [is]...I'm not all that worried that Ed down the street worships six different gods, but if he's decided that coveting his neighbor's wife is okay, I want to know about it.---Brothers Judd.com