Authority crisis

Rioters as young as nine are looting shops and burning buildings in cities across Great Britain.  Pundits, of course, are trying to answer the question, “Why?”  The left is predictably blaming social conditions–government cutbacks in particular–and the right is predictably putting responsibility on the individual “hooligans.”

I haven’t seen any interviews of the actual perpetrators (fill me in if you have), but I suspect there is not all that much “rage”–pictures I’ve seen are of the young folks laughing as they run off with vodka and electronic appliances–and minimalistic responses on the order of “whatever” to journalists as to all adults.

My theory is this:  Western nations in general are suffering from a crisis in authority.  Specifically, young people today tend not to perceive the validity of ANY authority over them.  Not their parents.  Also not the police, their teachers, their pastors.  Nor the law or a moral code.  And certainly not their governments.

I would say too that we conservatives, while being strong on the authority of the family, may be contributing to the erosion of authority, especially when it comes to the contempt we tend to express for  government authority of every kind.

Not only the person who holds the office–always subject to political opposition–but the office itself seems to be denigrated.  We oppose not just our local Congressmen but “politicians” and “Congress” in general.  That’s different from how I remember it in the good old days of Goldwater and Reagan conservatism, which tended to be very patriotic, “law and order,” “my country right or wrong,” even to a fault.  I don’t deny that our office holders contributed to this new cynicism towards government.  But I’m saying that the social contract needs a general respect for authority, including the authority of the state–a notion that is explicitly Biblical–otherwise, civilization will come apart, as we are seeing in England.

 

UK RIOTS 2011: Manchester and Midlands burn but London is ‘under control’ | Mail Online.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Steve Billingsley

    To me it’s kind of a chicken or the egg thing. Our culture (media and otherwise) have propagated a real disrespect for authority for a long time (the cult of adolescence really began in Hollywood in the 50s – Rebel Without a Cause, Blackboard Jungle and all that) and we have had several generations where that has been the norm. The 24 hour post-Watergate, cable channel news cycle has fostered disrespect for governmental figures, much of which is richly deserved.

    So now there is a lack of trust in institutions in general, just at a time when these institutions need to perform well in crisis. There has been a revival of respect for the military, firefighters and police post-911, but I don’t know if that is enough to offset lack of respect of other institutions.

  • Steve Billingsley

    To me it’s kind of a chicken or the egg thing. Our culture (media and otherwise) have propagated a real disrespect for authority for a long time (the cult of adolescence really began in Hollywood in the 50s – Rebel Without a Cause, Blackboard Jungle and all that) and we have had several generations where that has been the norm. The 24 hour post-Watergate, cable channel news cycle has fostered disrespect for governmental figures, much of which is richly deserved.

    So now there is a lack of trust in institutions in general, just at a time when these institutions need to perform well in crisis. There has been a revival of respect for the military, firefighters and police post-911, but I don’t know if that is enough to offset lack of respect of other institutions.

  • SKPeterson

    Great Britain’s problem is that they do not recognize the moral and ethical right of persons to defend themselves and their property from violence and theft. As a result, property owners have little recourse to defend themselves from roving bands of riotous individuals except rely on what is now seen to be a woefully inadequate police response.

    Where the rioters met with armed resistance they backed down. For example in a largely Turkish/Kurdish community in London, the men armed themselves quickly with pool cues and proceeded to beat the rioters off. As a reward for defending their community and property, the police tried to arrest some of the Turks for hitting some of the rioters. The Turks essentially told the police to, in British terms, bug off, which the police wisely did. It is precisely this sort of tepid behavior on the part of the government in response to lawlessness that causes ordinary citizens to lose respect for authority and claims that the government can secure lives and property without citizens needing the right to defend themselves. By the same token, rioters quickly sense the weakness of the police to respond and operate with the knowledge that most of their fellow citizens cannot legally defend themselves from their depredations.

    When the government usurps the authority of individuals to defends their lives and property, or the lives and property of their neighbors, it undermines the general respect for authority that is part of our general social order. When it further penalizes law abiding citizens by arresting them when they do attempt to resist, it sends ample signals to the lawless classes that they have a largely free hand to operate in far too many instances. Simply a few shop owners brandishing some shotguns should have sufficed to turn back most of the rioters for the police to then take care of.

  • SKPeterson

    Great Britain’s problem is that they do not recognize the moral and ethical right of persons to defend themselves and their property from violence and theft. As a result, property owners have little recourse to defend themselves from roving bands of riotous individuals except rely on what is now seen to be a woefully inadequate police response.

    Where the rioters met with armed resistance they backed down. For example in a largely Turkish/Kurdish community in London, the men armed themselves quickly with pool cues and proceeded to beat the rioters off. As a reward for defending their community and property, the police tried to arrest some of the Turks for hitting some of the rioters. The Turks essentially told the police to, in British terms, bug off, which the police wisely did. It is precisely this sort of tepid behavior on the part of the government in response to lawlessness that causes ordinary citizens to lose respect for authority and claims that the government can secure lives and property without citizens needing the right to defend themselves. By the same token, rioters quickly sense the weakness of the police to respond and operate with the knowledge that most of their fellow citizens cannot legally defend themselves from their depredations.

    When the government usurps the authority of individuals to defends their lives and property, or the lives and property of their neighbors, it undermines the general respect for authority that is part of our general social order. When it further penalizes law abiding citizens by arresting them when they do attempt to resist, it sends ample signals to the lawless classes that they have a largely free hand to operate in far too many instances. Simply a few shop owners brandishing some shotguns should have sufficed to turn back most of the rioters for the police to then take care of.

  • http://prairiepastor.wordpress.com Dan Torkelson

    Perhaps another way of saying it is that the western world needs good citizenship. We’re having our cake and eating it too. We want to treat every leader as if he/she will be the Messiah while leaving the option open to rant and rave about everything he/she does that we don’t agree with.

    The 4th commandment has plenty to say about honoring authority, which is actually duty 1 of the Christian citizen. Maybe we don’t need a Messiah, but we need all people to start thinking about excellence in citizenship.

  • http://prairiepastor.wordpress.com Dan Torkelson

    Perhaps another way of saying it is that the western world needs good citizenship. We’re having our cake and eating it too. We want to treat every leader as if he/she will be the Messiah while leaving the option open to rant and rave about everything he/she does that we don’t agree with.

    The 4th commandment has plenty to say about honoring authority, which is actually duty 1 of the Christian citizen. Maybe we don’t need a Messiah, but we need all people to start thinking about excellence in citizenship.

  • Michael Z.

    Reminds me of the faux history in Heinlein’s classic “Starship Troopers”: government collapses because of young hooligans…

  • Michael Z.

    Reminds me of the faux history in Heinlein’s classic “Starship Troopers”: government collapses because of young hooligans…

  • http://brbible.org Rich Shipe

    Great point, Dr. Veith! I totally agree!

  • http://brbible.org Rich Shipe

    Great point, Dr. Veith! I totally agree!

  • Lou

    I’ve definitely noticed this happening as well. Good point, Dr. Veith.
    I think it also dovetails into your previous post about the need for a strong leader to run on the GOP side. Some people wrongly associate a strong leader with a celebrity personality. But the two are not necessarily correlative. Granted, having a charasmatic personality helps, but when most people speak of great leadership it is something altogether different. Leadership by example is perhaps the most powerful catalyst for change. When a leader walks the walk, people start to follow.
    So, I would say it goes both ways, a call for better citizenship, as Dan mentioned. But there’s also a dire need for real leaders in both the private and gov’t sectors.

  • Lou

    I’ve definitely noticed this happening as well. Good point, Dr. Veith.
    I think it also dovetails into your previous post about the need for a strong leader to run on the GOP side. Some people wrongly associate a strong leader with a celebrity personality. But the two are not necessarily correlative. Granted, having a charasmatic personality helps, but when most people speak of great leadership it is something altogether different. Leadership by example is perhaps the most powerful catalyst for change. When a leader walks the walk, people start to follow.
    So, I would say it goes both ways, a call for better citizenship, as Dan mentioned. But there’s also a dire need for real leaders in both the private and gov’t sectors.

  • Pingback: A Crisis Of…? | prairiepastor

  • Pingback: A Crisis Of…? | prairiepastor

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    For me, while it certainly has something to do with a crisis or authority, it more generally has to do with a crisis of morality–or really lack thereof. Now is it because we know more about what politicians are doing (and the implications thereof) that we didn’t know during the Kennedy administration, because politicians are misbehaving more, because we’ve become politically so polarized that we’ll vote for a known scumbag, or because we and our neighbors have lost some of our moral edge?

    Answer: yes. Add to that as well “we’re not considering the fact that if we loot and burn the stores in our neighborhood, there go our jobs and shopping outlets.” It is a crisis of morals, and one of logic.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    For me, while it certainly has something to do with a crisis or authority, it more generally has to do with a crisis of morality–or really lack thereof. Now is it because we know more about what politicians are doing (and the implications thereof) that we didn’t know during the Kennedy administration, because politicians are misbehaving more, because we’ve become politically so polarized that we’ll vote for a known scumbag, or because we and our neighbors have lost some of our moral edge?

    Answer: yes. Add to that as well “we’re not considering the fact that if we loot and burn the stores in our neighborhood, there go our jobs and shopping outlets.” It is a crisis of morals, and one of logic.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    This stuff is spreading all over the place where the nanny/entitlement state is the norm.

    A large segment of our society would fit right in.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    This stuff is spreading all over the place where the nanny/entitlement state is the norm.

    A large segment of our society would fit right in.

  • Grace

    A great many people, not just in England, but around the world believe they are entitled to that which they have not worked for – OR, they believe because they have made bad investments, be it homes they cannot afford, credit card purchases they are not able to pay for now, have the right to riot, destroy and demand that the government dole out the funds to make up the deficit.

    Right now, CNN is reporting:

    “Dow falls more than 500 points, wiping out Tuesday’s comeback.”

    Dr. Veith wrote: “My theory is this: Western nations in general are suffering from a crisis in authority.”

    It isn’t just “authority” it is ‘entitlement to that which one has NOT worked for, or spent monies one never had in the first place.

    An excellent article below, covering many different nations, published yesterday the 9th of August:

    Economic Uncertainty Leading to Global Unrest

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/44073673

    You cannot expect anyone who does not believe in the LORD God Almighty, to hold to any kind of moral code. As we read in the Scriptures:

    Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
    Matthew 7:14

    The entire portion of Scripture below speaks to this day we are living in:

    10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

    12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

    13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

    14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Romans 13

  • Grace

    A great many people, not just in England, but around the world believe they are entitled to that which they have not worked for – OR, they believe because they have made bad investments, be it homes they cannot afford, credit card purchases they are not able to pay for now, have the right to riot, destroy and demand that the government dole out the funds to make up the deficit.

    Right now, CNN is reporting:

    “Dow falls more than 500 points, wiping out Tuesday’s comeback.”

    Dr. Veith wrote: “My theory is this: Western nations in general are suffering from a crisis in authority.”

    It isn’t just “authority” it is ‘entitlement to that which one has NOT worked for, or spent monies one never had in the first place.

    An excellent article below, covering many different nations, published yesterday the 9th of August:

    Economic Uncertainty Leading to Global Unrest

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/44073673

    You cannot expect anyone who does not believe in the LORD God Almighty, to hold to any kind of moral code. As we read in the Scriptures:

    Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
    Matthew 7:14

    The entire portion of Scripture below speaks to this day we are living in:

    10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

    12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

    13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

    14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Romans 13

  • Carl Vehse

    Here’s another article, “Years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of amoral, uneducated, welfare dependent, brutalised youngsters,” describing the rioting youth in England:

    Most have no jobs to go to or exams they might pass. They know no family role models, for most live in homes in which the father is unemployed, or from which he has decamped.

    They are illiterate and innumerate, beyond maybe some dexterity with computer games and BlackBerries.

    They are essentially wild beasts. I use that phrase advisedly, because it seems appropriate to young people bereft of the discipline that might make them employable; of the conscience that distinguishes between right and wrong.

    They respond only to instinctive animal impulses — to eat and drink, have sex, seize or destroy the accessible property of others.

    A former London police chief spoke a few years ago about the ‘feral children’ on his patch — another way of describing the same reality.

    The depressing truth is that at the bottom of our society is a layer of young people with no skills, education, values or aspirations. They do not have what most of us would call ‘lives’: they simply exist.

  • Carl Vehse

    Here’s another article, “Years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of amoral, uneducated, welfare dependent, brutalised youngsters,” describing the rioting youth in England:

    Most have no jobs to go to or exams they might pass. They know no family role models, for most live in homes in which the father is unemployed, or from which he has decamped.

    They are illiterate and innumerate, beyond maybe some dexterity with computer games and BlackBerries.

    They are essentially wild beasts. I use that phrase advisedly, because it seems appropriate to young people bereft of the discipline that might make them employable; of the conscience that distinguishes between right and wrong.

    They respond only to instinctive animal impulses — to eat and drink, have sex, seize or destroy the accessible property of others.

    A former London police chief spoke a few years ago about the ‘feral children’ on his patch — another way of describing the same reality.

    The depressing truth is that at the bottom of our society is a layer of young people with no skills, education, values or aspirations. They do not have what most of us would call ‘lives’: they simply exist.

  • Random Lutheran

    I would suggest that the problem is not so much one of the lack of authority, but of the lack of a legitimate authority. Parents have, by and large, abdicated from disciplining and teaching their children. Schools introduce these same kids to absurd zero-tolerance policies, which demonstrate to the kids that those in “authority” are both entirely free of judgement themselves, and are also trapped within the same set of rules and regulations as the kids — but the adults very often have the power (note well: not authority) to exempt themselves and their friends from those rules, and their rule is at once entirely law-driven and arbitrary. This mode of governance on a small scale is seeping up into the larger society, and has infected our (and other) legal systems, leaving the populace as a whole governed not through the application of the law, but through the application of power by means of the law. Those who have been ruled by power learn that the exercise of power is the only means through which things may be obtained; the result is simple arithmetic.

    With both parents unwilling to parent, and those in government unwilling to govern, there is no reason at all to think that what we are seeing in the UK and elsewhere is unexpected. This is the inevitable end of the nanny-state: self-dissolution. A fine illustration of this (in this case, the dissolution of a nanny-state in microcosm with only the best intentions) is well-described in J. G. Ballard’s Running Wild. Cheers.

  • Random Lutheran

    I would suggest that the problem is not so much one of the lack of authority, but of the lack of a legitimate authority. Parents have, by and large, abdicated from disciplining and teaching their children. Schools introduce these same kids to absurd zero-tolerance policies, which demonstrate to the kids that those in “authority” are both entirely free of judgement themselves, and are also trapped within the same set of rules and regulations as the kids — but the adults very often have the power (note well: not authority) to exempt themselves and their friends from those rules, and their rule is at once entirely law-driven and arbitrary. This mode of governance on a small scale is seeping up into the larger society, and has infected our (and other) legal systems, leaving the populace as a whole governed not through the application of the law, but through the application of power by means of the law. Those who have been ruled by power learn that the exercise of power is the only means through which things may be obtained; the result is simple arithmetic.

    With both parents unwilling to parent, and those in government unwilling to govern, there is no reason at all to think that what we are seeing in the UK and elsewhere is unexpected. This is the inevitable end of the nanny-state: self-dissolution. A fine illustration of this (in this case, the dissolution of a nanny-state in microcosm with only the best intentions) is well-described in J. G. Ballard’s Running Wild. Cheers.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    According to this columnist, it appears that there is a racial aspect to the tragedy there.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/katharinebirbalsingh/100099830/these-riots-were-about-race-why-ignore-the-fact/

    And this one:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100099808/the-disturbances-in-tottenham-tonight-are-profoundly-depressing/

    I had thought that England, with no history that I know of of Jim Crow like laws, and slavery being far less common and even further in the past then here, might be relatively immune from riots like those after the acquittals of Rodney King’s assailants, but I may be wrong.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    According to this columnist, it appears that there is a racial aspect to the tragedy there.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/katharinebirbalsingh/100099830/these-riots-were-about-race-why-ignore-the-fact/

    And this one:

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyyoung/100099808/the-disturbances-in-tottenham-tonight-are-profoundly-depressing/

    I had thought that England, with no history that I know of of Jim Crow like laws, and slavery being far less common and even further in the past then here, might be relatively immune from riots like those after the acquittals of Rodney King’s assailants, but I may be wrong.

  • Jon

    I can’t say I know much about the cause of these British riots, but commons sense says that people don’t destroy their own neighborhoods and wreck local commerce for the heck of it. Wounds must have festering there for a long time. I’ve thought of these words from Dr. King about the ’65 Watts riots:
    _______

    I’m still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice. I feel that violence will only create more social problems than they will solve. That in a real sense it is impractical for the Negro to even think of mounting a violent revolution in the United States. So I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way. And continue to affirm that there is another way.

    But at the same time, it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.

  • Jon

    I can’t say I know much about the cause of these British riots, but commons sense says that people don’t destroy their own neighborhoods and wreck local commerce for the heck of it. Wounds must have festering there for a long time. I’ve thought of these words from Dr. King about the ’65 Watts riots:
    _______

    I’m still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice. I feel that violence will only create more social problems than they will solve. That in a real sense it is impractical for the Negro to even think of mounting a violent revolution in the United States. So I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way. And continue to affirm that there is another way.

    But at the same time, it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.

  • http://www.whenisayrunrun.blogspot.com Andrew

    Meaningless riots, dogging, swatting, sex on the dance floor at junior highs, we are raising a society of gimme with no consequences.
    The feral class from the article “Carl” posted is too true.

  • http://www.whenisayrunrun.blogspot.com Andrew

    Meaningless riots, dogging, swatting, sex on the dance floor at junior highs, we are raising a society of gimme with no consequences.
    The feral class from the article “Carl” posted is too true.

  • Grace

    Jon @13

    You wrote: “But at the same time, it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.

    I agree, “riots don’t develop out of then air” – they develop, as in the case of Los Angeles, and as you mentioned the Watts riots earlier, from not taking advantage of the education they were/are offered.

    The excuses for below average grades, children who cannot read or perform math at grade level (even with PC’s) is nonsense. These same children, no matter what age, learn to use their PC’s for games, they ‘text message during class, learning to do all thats needed to entertain themselves, including cell phone photos and videos — but they can’t read at grade level! It’s a farce,

    Parents, of these children are not doing their part, they want all the perks school can offer, that includes free lunches, breakfast, personal computers, etc – however, their children continue to fall behind, the ‘bar is lowered so that they can pass within their class, no matter how poorly they perform. Personal responsibility is the answer, not “rioting” because you don’t have what your neighbor has because he/she worked hard in school.

    The “thin air” you purpose is that which the majority of those who will not study, but languish, (poor me) so that they can obtain decent jobs upon graduation, and then blame everyone around them, including schools, government, anyone but themselves. And now ‘RIOTS?

    Calif. reading test flunks national standards

    California is passing fourth-graders on a standardized reading test who fail to meet minimum federal standards

    Aug. 10, 2011

    By SCOTT MARTINDALE

    California fourth-graders who fail to meet federal minimum proficiency standards in reading are passing the state’s reading test, according to a new federal study that lays bare the disconnect between state and federal education standards.

    The U.S. Department of Education, which released its findings Wednesday, concluded that California, like 34 other U.S. states, allows fourth-graders who would be classified as “below basic” in federal reading assessments to pass the state’s standardized reading test with a “basic” designation. The study examined 2009 testing data.

    Federal officials converted each state’s standardized tests onto a national, 500-point scale to compare how difficult they are against the national standard. The following are the 2009 minimum cut-off scores for a student to be considered “proficient,” which is one level up from “basic.”

    “Basic,” which is considered passing, is defined as demonstrating “partial mastery” of essential grade-level skills, federal officials said.

    http://www.ocregister.com/news/federal-311600-reading-california.htm

  • Grace

    Jon @13

    You wrote: “But at the same time, it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.

    I agree, “riots don’t develop out of then air” – they develop, as in the case of Los Angeles, and as you mentioned the Watts riots earlier, from not taking advantage of the education they were/are offered.

    The excuses for below average grades, children who cannot read or perform math at grade level (even with PC’s) is nonsense. These same children, no matter what age, learn to use their PC’s for games, they ‘text message during class, learning to do all thats needed to entertain themselves, including cell phone photos and videos — but they can’t read at grade level! It’s a farce,

    Parents, of these children are not doing their part, they want all the perks school can offer, that includes free lunches, breakfast, personal computers, etc – however, their children continue to fall behind, the ‘bar is lowered so that they can pass within their class, no matter how poorly they perform. Personal responsibility is the answer, not “rioting” because you don’t have what your neighbor has because he/she worked hard in school.

    The “thin air” you purpose is that which the majority of those who will not study, but languish, (poor me) so that they can obtain decent jobs upon graduation, and then blame everyone around them, including schools, government, anyone but themselves. And now ‘RIOTS?

    Calif. reading test flunks national standards

    California is passing fourth-graders on a standardized reading test who fail to meet minimum federal standards

    Aug. 10, 2011

    By SCOTT MARTINDALE

    California fourth-graders who fail to meet federal minimum proficiency standards in reading are passing the state’s reading test, according to a new federal study that lays bare the disconnect between state and federal education standards.

    The U.S. Department of Education, which released its findings Wednesday, concluded that California, like 34 other U.S. states, allows fourth-graders who would be classified as “below basic” in federal reading assessments to pass the state’s standardized reading test with a “basic” designation. The study examined 2009 testing data.

    Federal officials converted each state’s standardized tests onto a national, 500-point scale to compare how difficult they are against the national standard. The following are the 2009 minimum cut-off scores for a student to be considered “proficient,” which is one level up from “basic.”

    “Basic,” which is considered passing, is defined as demonstrating “partial mastery” of essential grade-level skills, federal officials said.

    http://www.ocregister.com/news/federal-311600-reading-california.htm

  • Jon

    “…we are raising a society of gimme with no consequences….[t]he feral class….”
    Whoa, for a moment there I thought you were referring to Wall Street bankers, brokers, and hedge fund managers.

  • Jon

    “…we are raising a society of gimme with no consequences….[t]he feral class….”
    Whoa, for a moment there I thought you were referring to Wall Street bankers, brokers, and hedge fund managers.

  • Rose

    The solution: Fathers.
    Dr. Voddie Baucham has a great message in the CD “The Centrality of the Home in Evangelism and Discipleship”.

  • Rose

    The solution: Fathers.
    Dr. Voddie Baucham has a great message in the CD “The Centrality of the Home in Evangelism and Discipleship”.

  • Grace

    Rose,

    “The solution: Fathers.”

    It just isn’t “fathers” it is ‘mothers too. There are many children who have been raised by a caring mother, either because a father left, or died. Not having a father isn’t an excuse not to learn to read or “riot” –

    Blaming men for all the ills of society doesn’t make sense. This country has given children the tools to learn and succeed, it’s the childs responsibility to take advantage of the education they are given, FREE, whether their parents pay taxes on income, or collect welfare.

    Take away the ‘free pass excuse’ from the children in this country, and start instituting ‘tough love.

  • Grace

    Rose,

    “The solution: Fathers.”

    It just isn’t “fathers” it is ‘mothers too. There are many children who have been raised by a caring mother, either because a father left, or died. Not having a father isn’t an excuse not to learn to read or “riot” –

    Blaming men for all the ills of society doesn’t make sense. This country has given children the tools to learn and succeed, it’s the childs responsibility to take advantage of the education they are given, FREE, whether their parents pay taxes on income, or collect welfare.

    Take away the ‘free pass excuse’ from the children in this country, and start instituting ‘tough love.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    It is a crisis of confidence.

    Authority doesn’t recognize itself.

    A very high percentage of the folks involved in the riots are not British, they are foreigners. The authority that should never have let them in, is now allowing them to menace the nation. When folks tire of the tyranny of the masses, confidence will be thrust upon them as there being no place to flee, they will fight. Notice the Turks didn’t suffer from a lack of confidence. They fought back.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    It is a crisis of confidence.

    Authority doesn’t recognize itself.

    A very high percentage of the folks involved in the riots are not British, they are foreigners. The authority that should never have let them in, is now allowing them to menace the nation. When folks tire of the tyranny of the masses, confidence will be thrust upon them as there being no place to flee, they will fight. Notice the Turks didn’t suffer from a lack of confidence. They fought back.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Not having a father isn’t an excuse not to learn to read or “riot” –”

    Yes, it is. It is the father’s responsibility to manage his household.

    “Blaming men for all the ills of society doesn’t make sense.”

    Yes, it does. You can’t delegate responsibility.

    Women were neither created nor selected by nature for leadership in the home or anywhere else. To the extent that some women do it well, it is the exception, an anomaly.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Not having a father isn’t an excuse not to learn to read or “riot” –”

    Yes, it is. It is the father’s responsibility to manage his household.

    “Blaming men for all the ills of society doesn’t make sense.”

    Yes, it does. You can’t delegate responsibility.

    Women were neither created nor selected by nature for leadership in the home or anywhere else. To the extent that some women do it well, it is the exception, an anomaly.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I’m still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice.”

    Looks like it is the shop keepers who are the oppressed people in this case. What shall we say when they protest for protection of their property rights? Insurance is not the answer as rates are derived from the observed risk of the adverse events, and the victims pay the rates.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I’m still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice.”

    Looks like it is the shop keepers who are the oppressed people in this case. What shall we say when they protest for protection of their property rights? Insurance is not the answer as rates are derived from the observed risk of the adverse events, and the victims pay the rates.

  • Grace

    sg,

    There have always been homes where there was no father. Either the father left, or he might have died, OR he never married the mother of his child/children.

    There have been examples of children, who grow up in homes without fathers, ….. they are not ‘throw away’ young men and women, they have learned from their childhood and upbringing that there is a right and wrong way. There are many mothers in churches who have relied on the LORD Jesus to direct their fatherless homes.

    As you post @ 20 – that it’s a ‘hopeless situation – this simply isn’t true.

    God gives women strength, even though their is no father in the home.

    Your excuse would damn all children who have lost fathers who died in military combat and other areas.

  • Grace

    sg,

    There have always been homes where there was no father. Either the father left, or he might have died, OR he never married the mother of his child/children.

    There have been examples of children, who grow up in homes without fathers, ….. they are not ‘throw away’ young men and women, they have learned from their childhood and upbringing that there is a right and wrong way. There are many mothers in churches who have relied on the LORD Jesus to direct their fatherless homes.

    As you post @ 20 – that it’s a ‘hopeless situation – this simply isn’t true.

    God gives women strength, even though their is no father in the home.

    Your excuse would damn all children who have lost fathers who died in military combat and other areas.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Grace, my point is that the absence of a father is truly grievous and to be avoided if at all possible. Sometimes duty calls, or there is an illness or accident and a father is lost. However that is not the general case, and we all know it.

    Anyway, has anyone called mothers to account for the upbringing of these youths? Please post a link to such an article decrying the mothers of these shameless rioters. I won’t hold my breath.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Grace, my point is that the absence of a father is truly grievous and to be avoided if at all possible. Sometimes duty calls, or there is an illness or accident and a father is lost. However that is not the general case, and we all know it.

    Anyway, has anyone called mothers to account for the upbringing of these youths? Please post a link to such an article decrying the mothers of these shameless rioters. I won’t hold my breath.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The excuses for below average grades, children who cannot read or perform math at grade level (even with PC’s) is nonsense.”

    No, it isn’t. The natural distribution of ability (like height) is extremely stable. The distribution really doesn’t vary much at all no matter what population you examine. By definition it is impossible for more that half of folks to be above average. Nothing will change the shape of the distribution.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The excuses for below average grades, children who cannot read or perform math at grade level (even with PC’s) is nonsense.”

    No, it isn’t. The natural distribution of ability (like height) is extremely stable. The distribution really doesn’t vary much at all no matter what population you examine. By definition it is impossible for more that half of folks to be above average. Nothing will change the shape of the distribution.

  • Grace

    sg @ 23

    How many men were lost in WW1, WW2, the Korean war, Vietnam, and all the other conflicts this country has seen in the past 25 years?

    Many of these men had families, wives and children, don’t they count? or are they such a small number we can overlook the mother’s who worked hard to raise children by THEMSELVES to be uselful productive men and women.

  • Grace

    sg @ 23

    How many men were lost in WW1, WW2, the Korean war, Vietnam, and all the other conflicts this country has seen in the past 25 years?

    Many of these men had families, wives and children, don’t they count? or are they such a small number we can overlook the mother’s who worked hard to raise children by THEMSELVES to be uselful productive men and women.

  • Grace

    sg @24

    “By definition it is impossible for more that half of folks to be above average. Nothing will change the shape of the distribution.”

    One doesn’t need to be “above average” to succeed, in terms of making a living and contributing to their family. “Above average” isn’t the point here sg, …. what is the point is being able to read. I knew almost no one in school who could not read at the given guide lines. Those who could not, usually had learning disabilites, and were not part of the testing scales.

  • Grace

    sg @24

    “By definition it is impossible for more that half of folks to be above average. Nothing will change the shape of the distribution.”

    One doesn’t need to be “above average” to succeed, in terms of making a living and contributing to their family. “Above average” isn’t the point here sg, …. what is the point is being able to read. I knew almost no one in school who could not read at the given guide lines. Those who could not, usually had learning disabilites, and were not part of the testing scales.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 26

    The fact that you were not personally acquainted with folks on the left and far left side of the distribution does not mean they do not exist and cannot do a lot academically. They need help to figure out what to do and they need job placement assistance. They don’t do better in school because they can’t do better in school. All the effort they can manage will not give them more ability. It won’t make them taller either.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 26

    The fact that you were not personally acquainted with folks on the left and far left side of the distribution does not mean they do not exist and cannot do a lot academically. They need help to figure out what to do and they need job placement assistance. They don’t do better in school because they can’t do better in school. All the effort they can manage will not give them more ability. It won’t make them taller either.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 25

    You are arguing from the exception. It doesn’t matter how many exceptions there are, they are still exceptions. The general case of a child growing up without a father is not a war orphan. They are a small percentage and the fathers are involuntarily absent. Don’t you figure that a child’s image of his father is far different if his father died in a war or of accident or illness rather than if the father is either undetermined or voluntarily absent? Anyway, the rioters’ fathers are not likely dead in some war. So, it is beside to point.

    I am not arguing that there are no good mothers, but they are mothers not fathers and the child needs his father.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 25

    You are arguing from the exception. It doesn’t matter how many exceptions there are, they are still exceptions. The general case of a child growing up without a father is not a war orphan. They are a small percentage and the fathers are involuntarily absent. Don’t you figure that a child’s image of his father is far different if his father died in a war or of accident or illness rather than if the father is either undetermined or voluntarily absent? Anyway, the rioters’ fathers are not likely dead in some war. So, it is beside to point.

    I am not arguing that there are no good mothers, but they are mothers not fathers and the child needs his father.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ Carol-Christian Soldier
  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ Carol-Christian Soldier
  • Pete

    Anyone seen the movie “Red Road”? Set in Glasgow, Scotland, it won some film festival awards. It’s a so-so story line about a woman whose job is monitoring security camera feeds throughout the city. She sits in a room watching a bank of video screens. One day she identifies the man who, years earlier, had killed her daughter and husband when he was drunk and on drugs and crashed his car into a bus stop. The plot is about her finding him and then ultimately extracting her revenge. The most striking thing to me about the film was the depiction of Glasgow and the people therein. The landscape was universally bleak, graffiti’d and littered. Everywhere. The people were sad and dirty and the young people seemed very much like the “feral youths” rioting now in real life in London – aimless, amoral, drunken. It’s an NC-17 film with some strong stuff in it. But it’s a scary depiction of where we are and where we are headed in the post-Christian era.

  • Pete

    Anyone seen the movie “Red Road”? Set in Glasgow, Scotland, it won some film festival awards. It’s a so-so story line about a woman whose job is monitoring security camera feeds throughout the city. She sits in a room watching a bank of video screens. One day she identifies the man who, years earlier, had killed her daughter and husband when he was drunk and on drugs and crashed his car into a bus stop. The plot is about her finding him and then ultimately extracting her revenge. The most striking thing to me about the film was the depiction of Glasgow and the people therein. The landscape was universally bleak, graffiti’d and littered. Everywhere. The people were sad and dirty and the young people seemed very much like the “feral youths” rioting now in real life in London – aimless, amoral, drunken. It’s an NC-17 film with some strong stuff in it. But it’s a scary depiction of where we are and where we are headed in the post-Christian era.

  • Rose

    Folks, I don’t have to guess what the solution is.
    I have the Scriptures.
    The responsibility is given to fathers to “bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4.
    And it is the responsibility of the pastor and elders to hold fathers accountable.
    Women are charged to respect their husbands.
    And older women should teach the younger women to love their husbands. Titus 2:4. Not much of that happening in many churches.

  • Rose

    Folks, I don’t have to guess what the solution is.
    I have the Scriptures.
    The responsibility is given to fathers to “bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4.
    And it is the responsibility of the pastor and elders to hold fathers accountable.
    Women are charged to respect their husbands.
    And older women should teach the younger women to love their husbands. Titus 2:4. Not much of that happening in many churches.

  • Cincinnatus

    Such problems always begin at home, folks. I haven’t seen a child spanked in years, and since when did it become acceptable for children to make noise and squirm (or run around loudly playing with toys) in church?

    /mini-rant over

  • Cincinnatus

    Such problems always begin at home, folks. I haven’t seen a child spanked in years, and since when did it become acceptable for children to make noise and squirm (or run around loudly playing with toys) in church?

    /mini-rant over

  • Lou

    Carl #10, very revealing and thought-provoking article. I really appreciated this take on the present state of youth under a continuous liberal dogma. Thanks for that.

  • Lou

    Carl #10, very revealing and thought-provoking article. I really appreciated this take on the present state of youth under a continuous liberal dogma. Thanks for that.

  • Jonathan

    @32–Cinci–Well, at least the parent(s) are bringing their kids to church. You should congratulate them for that. Maybe you could even offer your assistance to the struggling parent(s).

    I think it is an aweful shame that so many churches exclude kids in the devine service and instead banish them off to “children’s church” or to “Jesus time” while the divine service goes on without them.

    Kids don’t “get” the divine service because they haven’t learned it, they’ve been shunned from it. So, we can’t be surprised that we are losing the divine service in favor of the entertainment worship that grown-up kids remember from their “Jesus Time” experience.

    Mini rant over.

  • Jonathan

    @32–Cinci–Well, at least the parent(s) are bringing their kids to church. You should congratulate them for that. Maybe you could even offer your assistance to the struggling parent(s).

    I think it is an aweful shame that so many churches exclude kids in the devine service and instead banish them off to “children’s church” or to “Jesus time” while the divine service goes on without them.

    Kids don’t “get” the divine service because they haven’t learned it, they’ve been shunned from it. So, we can’t be surprised that we are losing the divine service in favor of the entertainment worship that grown-up kids remember from their “Jesus Time” experience.

    Mini rant over.

  • DonS

    Jonathan @ 34: Amen! Children should worship with their parents.

    As for the issue of authority, didn’t we have a thread a few weeks ago where we discussed how poor of a basis for an ethical society moral relativism is?

    If authority is to be respected, it has to act, well, authoritarian when necessary. It cannot coddle bad behavior, chalk it up to “cultural” differences, or respond in a less than decisive manner to quell it. We need a clearly defined set of standards that one is expected to adhere to in public life. We need an identity, not just as a sub-cultural group, but as fellow citizens in a unified country. That identity flows from our leadership. If our leadership is continually inciting class warfare and pitting one group of citizens against another, then you see the results.

    Reagan was particularly adept at uniting Americans, and helping them to have pride in their identity as citizens of these great United States. I don’t see that kind of leadership in the UK, and I don’t see it here in the U.S. Consequently, periodic bouts of cultural warfare will occur.

  • DonS

    Jonathan @ 34: Amen! Children should worship with their parents.

    As for the issue of authority, didn’t we have a thread a few weeks ago where we discussed how poor of a basis for an ethical society moral relativism is?

    If authority is to be respected, it has to act, well, authoritarian when necessary. It cannot coddle bad behavior, chalk it up to “cultural” differences, or respond in a less than decisive manner to quell it. We need a clearly defined set of standards that one is expected to adhere to in public life. We need an identity, not just as a sub-cultural group, but as fellow citizens in a unified country. That identity flows from our leadership. If our leadership is continually inciting class warfare and pitting one group of citizens against another, then you see the results.

    Reagan was particularly adept at uniting Americans, and helping them to have pride in their identity as citizens of these great United States. I don’t see that kind of leadership in the UK, and I don’t see it here in the U.S. Consequently, periodic bouts of cultural warfare will occur.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Maybe you could even offer your assistance to the struggling parent(s).”

    Wouldn’t it be rather inappropriate for Cinn to spank the child for him?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Maybe you could even offer your assistance to the struggling parent(s).”

    Wouldn’t it be rather inappropriate for Cinn to spank the child for him?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Great book on the topic by Theodore Dalrymple, Life at the Bottom

    http://www.amazon.com/Life-Bottom-Worldview-Makes-Underclass/dp/1566635055

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Great book on the topic by Theodore Dalrymple, Life at the Bottom

    http://www.amazon.com/Life-Bottom-Worldview-Makes-Underclass/dp/1566635055

  • John C

    The religious right and the libertarians in the Republican party are playing a dangerous game. If they constantly undermine the capacity of governments to govern, then the country is not going to get good government. You don’t have to look to England to see this happening — the debt ceiling crisis is an example closer to hand.

  • John C

    The religious right and the libertarians in the Republican party are playing a dangerous game. If they constantly undermine the capacity of governments to govern, then the country is not going to get good government. You don’t have to look to England to see this happening — the debt ceiling crisis is an example closer to hand.

  • Cincinnatus

    John C.:

    What a ridiculous comment. The Republicans and libertarians haven’t done a thing to “undermine the capacity of governments to govern.” Would that they had, as you’ll notice that the bureaucracies that do most of the governing in this country haven’t stopped for a single second.

    But this isn’t even the sort of “authority” we’re talking about, nor does it have anything to do with the crisis in authority. What we mean by authority is social or communal authority–the authority of parents and grandparents, of clergymen, of teachers, and, yes, of government officers like policemen. The crisis in authority emerges because the populace, especially the youth, no longer respects their parents and grandparents, their teachers, their clergymen, and, last and probably least, their neighborhood policemen and elected officials. We might ask ourselves, of course, whether they manner in which such authority is exercised, when it actually is exercised, is even worthy of respect any longer.

    But I suggest that this has nothing to do with recent actions of a minority caucus within congressional Republicans. This is something that has been generations in the making and is rooted in the very structure of our way of life.

  • Cincinnatus

    John C.:

    What a ridiculous comment. The Republicans and libertarians haven’t done a thing to “undermine the capacity of governments to govern.” Would that they had, as you’ll notice that the bureaucracies that do most of the governing in this country haven’t stopped for a single second.

    But this isn’t even the sort of “authority” we’re talking about, nor does it have anything to do with the crisis in authority. What we mean by authority is social or communal authority–the authority of parents and grandparents, of clergymen, of teachers, and, yes, of government officers like policemen. The crisis in authority emerges because the populace, especially the youth, no longer respects their parents and grandparents, their teachers, their clergymen, and, last and probably least, their neighborhood policemen and elected officials. We might ask ourselves, of course, whether they manner in which such authority is exercised, when it actually is exercised, is even worthy of respect any longer.

    But I suggest that this has nothing to do with recent actions of a minority caucus within congressional Republicans. This is something that has been generations in the making and is rooted in the very structure of our way of life.

  • DonS

    John C: Would you mind expounding on that point? Are you saying that the rioters in England are the religious right and the libertarians? Or, that the rioters in England are particularly attuned to the message of the religious right and the libertarians? Are you saying that it is inappropriate for us to exercise our right of free political speech to advocate for better government? Is this what you mean by “constantly undermine the capacity of governments to govern?” Should we just accept whatever government does, even in a democracy, knowing that if we protest we may undermine that government? As far as the debt ceiling crisis, how, exactly did that undermine the capacity of governments to govern? Was it wrong to have a debate about whether we can just endlessly borrow more money without any plan to pay it back, or even to stop borrowing? Doesn’t an ever-increasing and crushing debt load, in itself, “undermine the capacity of governments to govern”? Expound, please.

  • DonS

    John C: Would you mind expounding on that point? Are you saying that the rioters in England are the religious right and the libertarians? Or, that the rioters in England are particularly attuned to the message of the religious right and the libertarians? Are you saying that it is inappropriate for us to exercise our right of free political speech to advocate for better government? Is this what you mean by “constantly undermine the capacity of governments to govern?” Should we just accept whatever government does, even in a democracy, knowing that if we protest we may undermine that government? As far as the debt ceiling crisis, how, exactly did that undermine the capacity of governments to govern? Was it wrong to have a debate about whether we can just endlessly borrow more money without any plan to pay it back, or even to stop borrowing? Doesn’t an ever-increasing and crushing debt load, in itself, “undermine the capacity of governments to govern”? Expound, please.

  • Grace

    sg @26

    “The fact that you were not personally acquainted with folks on the left and far left side of the distribution does not mean they do not exist and cannot do a lot academically.”

    Did I state that I was not “personally acquainted with folks on the left and far left side of the distribution? ……. No, I never posted anything like that. Being a pastor’s daughter, knowing those who had come from homes who were fatherless, because the mother in most cases had been left to raise young children ALONE, is a situation in which I was aware.

    If you are referring to those on welfare, who follow in their mothers and grandmothers footsteps, becoming pregnant, having many children, receiving welfare – that is a different subject. OR, if you’re referring to illegal aliens who are here to ‘TAKE whatever they can from welfare, free health, education, etc, that’s is a different subject as well. Those who fall under these two categories have brought down the scores within California. It isn’t always a fatherless situation regarding the illegals, more often than not, they do have a father at home. What they lack is a respect for the laws of this country, and the backbone to be honest.

    Both of the groups mentioned above, are often involved in gang activity – there has been plenty of news for ‘years regarding the riots, and angry outbursts when they don’t receive what they haven’t earned.

    “They need help to figure out what to do and they need job placement assistance. They don’t do better in school because they can’t do better in school. All the effort they can manage will not give them more ability. It won’t make them taller either.”

    You would be surprised how many young people (fatherless) have goals and attend college, be it a two year, or university. You stated “All the effort they can manage will not give them more ability.” that simply isn’t true. Effort is the essential tool which brings about results, in the case of school, ‘effort brings about the ability to read, to learn math, etc. Without ‘EFFORT there is no progress. The “ABILITY” to accomplish anything, is brought about by an “EFFORT” to forge ahead, …… and that means learning to read. The ability to read well, will allow the student to further learn, no one can achieve an education or learn without reading SKILLS.

    As for your “taller either” – that’s nonsensical!

  • Grace

    sg @26

    “The fact that you were not personally acquainted with folks on the left and far left side of the distribution does not mean they do not exist and cannot do a lot academically.”

    Did I state that I was not “personally acquainted with folks on the left and far left side of the distribution? ……. No, I never posted anything like that. Being a pastor’s daughter, knowing those who had come from homes who were fatherless, because the mother in most cases had been left to raise young children ALONE, is a situation in which I was aware.

    If you are referring to those on welfare, who follow in their mothers and grandmothers footsteps, becoming pregnant, having many children, receiving welfare – that is a different subject. OR, if you’re referring to illegal aliens who are here to ‘TAKE whatever they can from welfare, free health, education, etc, that’s is a different subject as well. Those who fall under these two categories have brought down the scores within California. It isn’t always a fatherless situation regarding the illegals, more often than not, they do have a father at home. What they lack is a respect for the laws of this country, and the backbone to be honest.

    Both of the groups mentioned above, are often involved in gang activity – there has been plenty of news for ‘years regarding the riots, and angry outbursts when they don’t receive what they haven’t earned.

    “They need help to figure out what to do and they need job placement assistance. They don’t do better in school because they can’t do better in school. All the effort they can manage will not give them more ability. It won’t make them taller either.”

    You would be surprised how many young people (fatherless) have goals and attend college, be it a two year, or university. You stated “All the effort they can manage will not give them more ability.” that simply isn’t true. Effort is the essential tool which brings about results, in the case of school, ‘effort brings about the ability to read, to learn math, etc. Without ‘EFFORT there is no progress. The “ABILITY” to accomplish anything, is brought about by an “EFFORT” to forge ahead, …… and that means learning to read. The ability to read well, will allow the student to further learn, no one can achieve an education or learn without reading SKILLS.

    As for your “taller either” – that’s nonsensical!

  • kerner

    I think I get John C’s point, although I don’t necessarily agree with it. But let me be the devil’s advocate just for kicks and giggles.

    Used to be that the teacher in a public school had a pretty clear mandate of authority. If the teacher repremanded a pupil, the pupil’s parents usually backed the teacher and disciplined the child.

    But lately Republicans and libertarians have spent a great deal of time and effort characteriing the public schools as incompetent at best, or the agents of a degenerate philosophical system at worst.

    Further, as members of public employee unions, the teachers themselves are characterized as greedy parasites.

    So, nowadays, when we observe parents, upon discovering that their child is threatened by the school authorities for some alleged infraction, parents often no longer back the teacher. Instead, parents often rush to protect their child (family) from the teacher (parasitic agent of a corrupt and godless government).

    But can we Republicans/libertarians, who have spent so much time and effort characterizing the government school system so negatively, now escape all responsibility for the erosion of the teacher’s authority at times when we want teachers to have it?

    And does that problem extend to the government in general. Does our rhetoric to the effect that we have way too much, too powerful and too intrusive, government undermine the authority of that government to do the things that government really should be doing?

  • kerner

    I think I get John C’s point, although I don’t necessarily agree with it. But let me be the devil’s advocate just for kicks and giggles.

    Used to be that the teacher in a public school had a pretty clear mandate of authority. If the teacher repremanded a pupil, the pupil’s parents usually backed the teacher and disciplined the child.

    But lately Republicans and libertarians have spent a great deal of time and effort characteriing the public schools as incompetent at best, or the agents of a degenerate philosophical system at worst.

    Further, as members of public employee unions, the teachers themselves are characterized as greedy parasites.

    So, nowadays, when we observe parents, upon discovering that their child is threatened by the school authorities for some alleged infraction, parents often no longer back the teacher. Instead, parents often rush to protect their child (family) from the teacher (parasitic agent of a corrupt and godless government).

    But can we Republicans/libertarians, who have spent so much time and effort characterizing the government school system so negatively, now escape all responsibility for the erosion of the teacher’s authority at times when we want teachers to have it?

    And does that problem extend to the government in general. Does our rhetoric to the effect that we have way too much, too powerful and too intrusive, government undermine the authority of that government to do the things that government really should be doing?

  • kerner

    sg:

    I disagree with a some of what Grace says, but I agree with her this much. Native ability is not the whole story. Training, discipline, and a work ethic can and do make a difference. These will not make anyone taller, but they will enable almost everyone to jump higher.

    On a more practical level, the people on the lower end of the bell curve may never get smarter in the raw material sense of that concept, but they would function on a higher level if they had access to good training and discipline, and if their families or cultures or both instilled in them a serious work ethic.

    Functional literacy and numeracy, and productivity, are all within the reach of most people who are in the “dull normal” range of the bell curve. I think Grace is merely saying (and if she is, I agree with her) that poor performance is frequently not a function of low native ability; just as often it is a function of poor attitudes.

  • kerner

    sg:

    I disagree with a some of what Grace says, but I agree with her this much. Native ability is not the whole story. Training, discipline, and a work ethic can and do make a difference. These will not make anyone taller, but they will enable almost everyone to jump higher.

    On a more practical level, the people on the lower end of the bell curve may never get smarter in the raw material sense of that concept, but they would function on a higher level if they had access to good training and discipline, and if their families or cultures or both instilled in them a serious work ethic.

    Functional literacy and numeracy, and productivity, are all within the reach of most people who are in the “dull normal” range of the bell curve. I think Grace is merely saying (and if she is, I agree with her) that poor performance is frequently not a function of low native ability; just as often it is a function of poor attitudes.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @43

    The US and Europe have the best training for folks of all abilities and the measured performance for people of similar abilities are higher here than anywhere on the planet. In other words 85 IQ persons in the US actually perform much better on any measure of health, prosperity, literacy and numeracy than 85 IQ folks anywhere on the planet. We have pretty much optimized human performance and results. However, the bottom is still the bottom. It can’t just be wished away and any failures are not the fault of those who optimized the system. We have the best system ever. We have the best results ever recorded. We don’t have perfection. I am guessing we never will. I do agree with Grace that we have not optimized training or results regarding self control especially with regards to criminality. Rather we have incentivized pathologies like illegitimacy and single motherhood.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @43

    The US and Europe have the best training for folks of all abilities and the measured performance for people of similar abilities are higher here than anywhere on the planet. In other words 85 IQ persons in the US actually perform much better on any measure of health, prosperity, literacy and numeracy than 85 IQ folks anywhere on the planet. We have pretty much optimized human performance and results. However, the bottom is still the bottom. It can’t just be wished away and any failures are not the fault of those who optimized the system. We have the best system ever. We have the best results ever recorded. We don’t have perfection. I am guessing we never will. I do agree with Grace that we have not optimized training or results regarding self control especially with regards to criminality. Rather we have incentivized pathologies like illegitimacy and single motherhood.

  • kerner

    sg:

    I don’t want to create controversy where we don’t really disagree. The bottom is, in fact, still the bottom. But all except those at the extreme bottom are capable of learning to read, do basic arithmetic, and hold some kind of useful job.

    We also seem to agree that the failure to accomplish these basic levels of functionality are the result of what you call “pathologies” (as good a term as any, although “sin” is a good alternative).

    Which is to say that, often, people don’t learn because they won’t, not because they can’t. And a lot could learn more than they have. Which is to say that our system/culture could improve, and thereby improve the performance of the “bottom”.

  • kerner

    sg:

    I don’t want to create controversy where we don’t really disagree. The bottom is, in fact, still the bottom. But all except those at the extreme bottom are capable of learning to read, do basic arithmetic, and hold some kind of useful job.

    We also seem to agree that the failure to accomplish these basic levels of functionality are the result of what you call “pathologies” (as good a term as any, although “sin” is a good alternative).

    Which is to say that, often, people don’t learn because they won’t, not because they can’t. And a lot could learn more than they have. Which is to say that our system/culture could improve, and thereby improve the performance of the “bottom”.

  • kerner

    Incedently, the fist couple pages of “Life at the Bottom”, were consistent with my own experence. Maybe I’ll read the book.

  • kerner

    Incedently, the fist couple pages of “Life at the Bottom”, were consistent with my own experence. Maybe I’ll read the book.

  • John C

    “I don’t deny that our office holders contributed to this new cynicism towards government.” Dr Veith
    As part of the social contract, citizens confer moral authority to government. Government can squander this authority in a number of ways but primarily through corruption and incompetence.
    Riasing the debt ceiling is a standard proceedure; President Reagan did it on 18 occasions. Yet, the Republicans took Congress to the brink in a process that ultimately resulted in a credit rating downgrade and a tumble in stock markets around the world.
    Congress has an approval rating of 14%. The election people to Government who don’t really believe in government undermines the authority of government.
    Thanks for the kicks and giggles at 42 kerner. You have developed my argument better than I could have done myself.

  • John C

    “I don’t deny that our office holders contributed to this new cynicism towards government.” Dr Veith
    As part of the social contract, citizens confer moral authority to government. Government can squander this authority in a number of ways but primarily through corruption and incompetence.
    Riasing the debt ceiling is a standard proceedure; President Reagan did it on 18 occasions. Yet, the Republicans took Congress to the brink in a process that ultimately resulted in a credit rating downgrade and a tumble in stock markets around the world.
    Congress has an approval rating of 14%. The election people to Government who don’t really believe in government undermines the authority of government.
    Thanks for the kicks and giggles at 42 kerner. You have developed my argument better than I could have done myself.

  • Cincinnatus

    John C.

    Well, since you’ve successfully derailed at least part of the conversation, I’ll indulge you:

    The credit downgrade has been a long time coming–probably for a decade at least. S&P didn’t downgrade our credit rating because Republicans “took Congress to the brink.” Indeed, I highly doubt whether S&P would care in the least whether pensioners are left uncompensated for a few days or weeks had a shutdown actually occurred. The reason S&P downgraded our debt–and the reason Fitch and Moody’s might follow suit–is because we have too much of it in a time when it is not needed (i.e., not wartime) and we have literally no plan whatsoever to put our debt program and deficit on a sustainable course. Contrary to your assertions, certain Republicans were really the only voices in Washington arguing for a volte face in the direction of fiscal restraint. If we had actually trimmed our spending by $4 trillion, as Republicans, Obama’s (ignored) deficit commission, and the credit agencies suggested, we would still have our AAA rating. If this were about “political brinkmanship,” S&P wouldn’t have waited until after the “crisis” to downgrade our rating.

    Let’s bring it back around. I suggest that our fiscal profligacy, both at the individual and public levels, is not unrelated to our general disregard for moral authority in all domains of life.

  • Cincinnatus

    John C.

    Well, since you’ve successfully derailed at least part of the conversation, I’ll indulge you:

    The credit downgrade has been a long time coming–probably for a decade at least. S&P didn’t downgrade our credit rating because Republicans “took Congress to the brink.” Indeed, I highly doubt whether S&P would care in the least whether pensioners are left uncompensated for a few days or weeks had a shutdown actually occurred. The reason S&P downgraded our debt–and the reason Fitch and Moody’s might follow suit–is because we have too much of it in a time when it is not needed (i.e., not wartime) and we have literally no plan whatsoever to put our debt program and deficit on a sustainable course. Contrary to your assertions, certain Republicans were really the only voices in Washington arguing for a volte face in the direction of fiscal restraint. If we had actually trimmed our spending by $4 trillion, as Republicans, Obama’s (ignored) deficit commission, and the credit agencies suggested, we would still have our AAA rating. If this were about “political brinkmanship,” S&P wouldn’t have waited until after the “crisis” to downgrade our rating.

    Let’s bring it back around. I suggest that our fiscal profligacy, both at the individual and public levels, is not unrelated to our general disregard for moral authority in all domains of life.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I suggest that our fiscal profligacy, both at the individual and public levels, is not unrelated to our general disregard for moral authority in all domains of life.”

    Moral authority?

    Heck these days folks don’t even respect the natural laws of material limits!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I suggest that our fiscal profligacy, both at the individual and public levels, is not unrelated to our general disregard for moral authority in all domains of life.”

    Moral authority?

    Heck these days folks don’t even respect the natural laws of material limits!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus said (@48):

    The reason S&P downgraded our debt–and the reason Fitch and Moody’s might follow suit–is because we have too much of it in a time when it is not needed (i.e., not wartime) and we have literally no plan whatsoever to put our debt program and deficit on a sustainable course.

    I see three points to your claim there:
    1) We have too much debt
    2) There is no good reason for this (not wartime)
    3) We have no plan to get out of debt

    I’m sorry, but if those are the only reasons, then that fails to explain why S&P downgraded our debt when they did. Because when in the past decade (or more) have those points not been true?

    I mean, we actually are in the middle of war — two of them. As we have been for the past decade or so. So I assume your judgment of “not wartime” extends throughout the Bush administration.

    John’s explanation certainly points more credibly to the reason for S&P’s timing than does yours. After all, never before have we haggled so long over the debt ceiling and come so close to failing to raise it.

    The only other credible explanation I’ve heard for the timing is that we hit a particular debt amount that triggered this rating. I’m dubious of that explanation.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus said (@48):

    The reason S&P downgraded our debt–and the reason Fitch and Moody’s might follow suit–is because we have too much of it in a time when it is not needed (i.e., not wartime) and we have literally no plan whatsoever to put our debt program and deficit on a sustainable course.

    I see three points to your claim there:
    1) We have too much debt
    2) There is no good reason for this (not wartime)
    3) We have no plan to get out of debt

    I’m sorry, but if those are the only reasons, then that fails to explain why S&P downgraded our debt when they did. Because when in the past decade (or more) have those points not been true?

    I mean, we actually are in the middle of war — two of them. As we have been for the past decade or so. So I assume your judgment of “not wartime” extends throughout the Bush administration.

    John’s explanation certainly points more credibly to the reason for S&P’s timing than does yours. After all, never before have we haggled so long over the debt ceiling and come so close to failing to raise it.

    The only other credible explanation I’ve heard for the timing is that we hit a particular debt amount that triggered this rating. I’m dubious of that explanation.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@50: An admirable effort, but I disagree.

    While the timing of S&P’s announcement was somewhat arbitrary (as will be those of Moody’s and Fitch’s if they happen), there are concrete measures or benchmarks that ratings-agencies bear in mind. First, sovereign debt should be, ideally, no more than 60% of GDP. Ours is beginning to tick above that level (in 2010, it was about 59.8%). Second, if a nation is deeply in debt, it should at least be experiencing strong and sustained economic growth. S&P’s announcement comes on the heels of significant downward revisions to indicators America’s economic growth, both futural and measures taken from the past few quarters. In short, our economy is not growing, and there is every sign that it won’t for a long time (and may even slip back into recession). Finally, in all cases, a government must have a concrete plan for managing its debt and spending levels so that it doesn’t exceed these rough guidelines. Obviously, the United States doesn’t any kind of plan as of last Tuesday.

    Couple these concerns with the general economic instability and unsustainable debt across the industrialized world, particularly in the Euro zone, and we have a general recipe for credit disasters. Indeed, the UK narrowly averted a credit downgrade by instituting an actual austerity plan. Ireland, Greece, and Italy have already been downgraded and are facing further downgrades. France is threatened.

    Also, it’s a bit of a stretch to say we’re at war. I mean, the “RON PAUL!” side of me agrees. But in economic terms, what we have going on in the Middle East (and what we have had going on since 2001), while numerically expensive, does not constitute the sort of military engagement that would ordinarily justify debt programs on the order of those used to finance WWII or even Vietnam. Certainly not trillions of dollars. But yeah, I’m sure our unfunded foreign conflicts didn’t help S&P view us more favorably either.

    Sure, Republicans drew attention to the whole thing, but it’s not like S&P wouldn’t have noticed our debt otherwise. A downgrade was, unfortunately, long overdue, and I reiterate my claim that it would have happened either way.

    tl;dr: Contrary to your belief, there are actually relatively specifiable standards for creditworthiness.

    p.s. Sovereign/national/public debts are a complex topic, and I fully expect my remarks to be corrected or amended by WebMonk or some other commenter more apprised of economic technicalities than I am. But these are valid general rules…

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@50: An admirable effort, but I disagree.

    While the timing of S&P’s announcement was somewhat arbitrary (as will be those of Moody’s and Fitch’s if they happen), there are concrete measures or benchmarks that ratings-agencies bear in mind. First, sovereign debt should be, ideally, no more than 60% of GDP. Ours is beginning to tick above that level (in 2010, it was about 59.8%). Second, if a nation is deeply in debt, it should at least be experiencing strong and sustained economic growth. S&P’s announcement comes on the heels of significant downward revisions to indicators America’s economic growth, both futural and measures taken from the past few quarters. In short, our economy is not growing, and there is every sign that it won’t for a long time (and may even slip back into recession). Finally, in all cases, a government must have a concrete plan for managing its debt and spending levels so that it doesn’t exceed these rough guidelines. Obviously, the United States doesn’t any kind of plan as of last Tuesday.

    Couple these concerns with the general economic instability and unsustainable debt across the industrialized world, particularly in the Euro zone, and we have a general recipe for credit disasters. Indeed, the UK narrowly averted a credit downgrade by instituting an actual austerity plan. Ireland, Greece, and Italy have already been downgraded and are facing further downgrades. France is threatened.

    Also, it’s a bit of a stretch to say we’re at war. I mean, the “RON PAUL!” side of me agrees. But in economic terms, what we have going on in the Middle East (and what we have had going on since 2001), while numerically expensive, does not constitute the sort of military engagement that would ordinarily justify debt programs on the order of those used to finance WWII or even Vietnam. Certainly not trillions of dollars. But yeah, I’m sure our unfunded foreign conflicts didn’t help S&P view us more favorably either.

    Sure, Republicans drew attention to the whole thing, but it’s not like S&P wouldn’t have noticed our debt otherwise. A downgrade was, unfortunately, long overdue, and I reiterate my claim that it would have happened either way.

    tl;dr: Contrary to your belief, there are actually relatively specifiable standards for creditworthiness.

    p.s. Sovereign/national/public debts are a complex topic, and I fully expect my remarks to be corrected or amended by WebMonk or some other commenter more apprised of economic technicalities than I am. But these are valid general rules…

  • Cincinnatus

    “Obviously, the United States doesn’t any kind of plan as of last Tuesday.”

    I accidentally the whole thing.

  • Cincinnatus

    “Obviously, the United States doesn’t any kind of plan as of last Tuesday.”

    I accidentally the whole thing.

  • Cincinnatus

    Oh, and according to the IMF, which apparently employs a different method of measuring debt, our debt is actually 92.7% of our GDP, as of 2010. Bad news bears.

  • Cincinnatus

    Oh, and according to the IMF, which apparently employs a different method of measuring debt, our debt is actually 92.7% of our GDP, as of 2010. Bad news bears.

  • Cincinnatus

    And it also doesn’t include intra-government debt.

    /done commenting

  • Cincinnatus

    And it also doesn’t include intra-government debt.

    /done commenting


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