Continuing our discussion of Starship Troopers from yesterday, let's finish the lesson on the violence endemic in XXth century that brave men finally rose to subdue. Instead of living in a state of fear, where the future was a dystopia spiraling out of control, the fictional future world in Starship Troopers is one where those responsible for the degradation of communities and erosion of social capital have been put down.
|What if the black mob destroying city after city (especially Indianapolis) has no "better nature" to appeal to?|
Like untrained dogs:
“… These children were often caught; police arrested batches each day. Were they scolded? Yes, often scathingly. Were their noses rubbed in it? Rarely. News organs and officials usually kept their names secret — in many places the law so required for criminals under eighteen. Were they spanked? Indeed not! Many had never been spanked even as small children; there was a widespread belief that spanking, or any punishment involving pain, did a child permanent psychic damage.” …
“… They probably were not spanked as babies; they certainly were not flogged for their crimes. The usual sequence was: for a first offense, a warning — a scolding, often without trial. After several offenses a sentence of confinement but with sentence suspended and the youngster placed on probation. A boy might be arrested many times and convicted several times before he was punished — and then it would be merely confinement, with others like him from whom he learned still more criminal habits. If he kept out of major trouble while confined, he could usually evade most of even that mild punishment, be given probation — ‘paroled’ in the jargon of the times.
“This incredible sequence could go on for years while his crimes increased in frequency and viciousness, with no punishment whatever save rare dull-but-comfortable confinements. Then suddenly, usually by law on his eighteenth birthday, this so-called ‘juvenile delinquent’ becomes an adult criminal— and sometimes wound up in only weeks or months in a death cell awaiting execution for murder. You —”
He singled me out again. “Suppose you merely scolded your puppy, never punished him, let him go on making messes in the house . . . and occasionally locked him up in an outbuilding but soon let him back into the house with a warning not to do it again. Then one day you notice that he is now a grown dog and still not housebroken — whereupon you whip out a gun and shoot him dead. Comment, please?”
“Why . . . that’s the craziest way to raise a dog I ever heard of!” …“Mr. Dubois,” a girl blurted out, “but why? Why didn’t they spank little kids when they needed it and use a good dose of the strap on any older ones who deserved it — the sort of lesson they wouldn’t forget! I mean ones who did things really bad. Why not?”
“I don’t know,” he had answered grimly, “except that the time-tested method of instilling social virtue and respect for law in the minds of the young did not appeal to a pre-scientific pseudo-professional class who called themselves ‘social workers’ or sometimes ‘child psychologists.’ It was too simple for them, apparently, since anybody could do it, using only the patience and firmness needed in training a puppy. I have sometimes wondered if they cherished a vested interest in disorder — but that is unlikely; adults almost always act from conscious ‘highest motives’ no matter what their behavior. …
“… Young lady, the tragic wrongness of what those well-meaning people did, contrasted with what they thoughtthey were doing, goes very deep. They had no scientific theory of morals. They did have a theory of morals and they tried to live by it (I should not have sneered at their motives), but their theory was wrong — half of it fuzzy-headed wishful thinking, half of it rationalized charlatanry. The more earnest they were, the farther it led them astray. You see, they assumed that Man has a moral instinct.”
“Sir? I thought — But he does! I have.”
“No, my dear, you have a cultivated conscience, a most carefully trained one. Man has no moral instinct. He is not born with moral sense. You were not born with it, I was not — and a puppy has none. We acquire moral sense, when we do, through training, experience, and hard sweat of the mind. These unfortunate juvenile criminals were born with none, even as you and I, and they had no chance to acquire any; their experiences did not permit it. What is ‘moral sense’? It is an elaboration of the instinct to survive. The instinct to survive is human nature itself, and every aspect of our personalities derives from it. Anything that conflicts with the survival instinct acts sooner or later to eliminate the individual and thereby fails to show up in future generations. This truth is mathematically demonstrable, everywhere verifiable; it is the single eternal imperative controlling everything we do.“But the instinct to survive,” he had gone on, “can be cultivated into motivations more subtle and much more complex than the blind, brute urge of the individual to stay alive. Young lady, what you miscalled your ‘moral instinct’ was the instilling in you by your elders of the truth that survival can have stronger imperatives than that of your own personal survival. Survival of your family, for example. Of your children, when you have them. Of your nation, if you struggle that high up the scale. And so on up. …
“These juvenile criminals hit a low level. Born with only the instinct for survival, the highest morality they achieved was a shaky loyalty to a peer group, a street gang. But the do-gooders attempted to ‘appeal to their better natures,’ to ‘reach them,’ to ‘spark their moral sense.’ Tosh! They had no ‘better natures’; experience taught them that what they were doing was the way to survive. The puppy never got his spanking; therefore what he did with pleasure and success must be ‘moral.’“The basis of all morality is duty, a concept with the same relation to group that self-interest has to individual. Nobody preached duty to these kids in a way they could understand — that is, with a spanking. But the society they were in told them endlessly about their ‘rights.’
Mr. Dubois then turned to me. “I told you that ‘juvenile delinquent’ is a contradiction in terms. ‘Delinquent’ means ‘failing in duty.’ But duty is an adult virtue — indeed a juvenile becomes an adult when, and only when, he acquires a knowledge of duty and embraces it as dearer than the self-love he was born with. There never was, there cannot be, a ‘juvenile delinquent.’ But for every juvenile criminal there are always one or more adult delinquents — people of mature years who either do not know their duty, or who, knowing it, fail.
The face of the community causing our major cities to become dystopian nightmares, the exact opposite of which science fiction writers of yesterday wrote was the future for mankind...
“And that was the soft spot which destroyed what was in many ways an admirable culture. The junior hoodlums who roamed their streets were; their citizens (all of them counted as such) . . . and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure.”
The junior hoodlums who roamed their streets were ; their citizens (all of them counted as such) . . . and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure.”Why not juxtapose the lawlessness that was present at the end of the XXth Century in Starship Troopers (preceding the rise of a new order in that book), with the lawless in our society?
I’ve been riding around the city with police this summer and, in our travels, I've come across a few young men who are clearly on the verge of something very bad. Their worlds are mixed up with drugs and dysfunction, violence and guns, and, I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t be surprised to turn on the news one morning and see that one of them had become another statistic in this city’s bloody summer.
And while it’s hard to imagine that too many teenagers would be interested in this fortysomething’s views on life and growing up and being happy, maybe it’s worth a shot. Maybe we all need to start speaking out, speaking up more, and trying to counter that powerful pull from the streets that costs this city and this country so many young people. There's been a lot of talk lately about the idea that black leaders need to speak up more about the stunning frequency with which young black males are being shot, killed and locked up.
And they should speak up, from the president to the pastors in the pulpit. But shouldn't we all? Am I supposed to care less about a dead kid because he has a different skin color than the kids on my street? That doesn't make sense. I’ve found myself wanting to tell these young men that life is too short, and that the world is too big and full of possibilities, to so recklessly throw it away.
But I've thought more rationally about doling out mid-arrest advice and instead I’ve watched as they’ve been cuffed and hauled away for the latest in a long series of mistakes and misdeeds. We’ve seen that time and again this summer. Daily shootings. Frequent violent deaths. Many of them involving young men. Young black men who might look at my picture and have no interest in what I have to say. Young men like Darnell Franklin, a 17-year-old who police say was shot and killed by a friend, apparently by accident, as they sat in a car in a Downtown parking garage at about 3 a.m. Sunday.
Whatever details emerge from that case, the result is the same: another gun-related homicide of a young black male in the city.
More lost potential.
We are likely to see more such tragedies in the coming days and weeks, and it's easy to wonder if there is any way to get through to the young people who are living so dangerously on the edge.
I'll admit it: I feel somewhat silly for even considering the notion that even one of those kids is reading this column or, if they are, taking it seriously. But we all have to speak up and reach out.
We all have to make this point clear to the struggling young people in this city: We understand that many of you have been forced to to deal with far too much far too young. But we care about you, and you have the potential to overcome your surroundings. Many others have done it.I hope you were paying attention in your lesson on "History and Moral Philosophy" from Starship Troopers.
Reading Matthew Tully's column on the black "juvenile delinquents"terrorizing not only their community, but the greater community of Indianapolis, serves as a microcosm for the failure of not only the black community in all of America, but our inability to properly understand the true sickness in our society.