Both personally and in a society, they're priceless. And when you lose them?
I just finished 'Life At The Bottom', by Theodore Dalrymple, a British doctor(mentioned here at Kevin's place). He covers quite well what happens when multi-culti, PC beliefs throw the standards of a society out in the name of being 'inclusive' and 'sensitive'. Then I found this and this at Tech Central Station. All covering, in Britain, how things have gone downhill.
I can't remember where I first heard it, somone said "Tell your kids they have no prospects and they'll live down to them"; I'd add "Tell them there is no better or worse way to live, and they'll find the worst". Read the articles if nothing else; read the book if you can get hold of it. They're all scary as hell. Youve read of the increasing crime problems in Britain? From what I've found out, from these sources and others, it's worse- apparently much worse- than the official numbers let on. We tried some of the 'let the minor crimes go, worry about the big stuff' in many cities in the 60's & 70's, and crime rates exploded; I remember the upset when it was announced that New York City PD would no longer show up to take reports on routine burglaries because there were too many of them and too much other crime to deal with. Well, in most cities they finally got their collective heads out of their butts and stopped that. Rudy Guliani became famous because he insisted on "I don't care how minor the crime, arrest and prosecute them!". The civil liberties weenies screamed- as expected- and the average citazen applauded- as expected- and crime- ALL crime- began dropping. Lesson learned, except to those so tied to 'we must cuddle all people, no matter what they do' types.
But in Britain, it seems that they took that attitude, kept it going and are now at the extremes. The doctor notes cases he's personally witnessed where police show up after- sometimes during- an assault, break up the fight, and then refuse to arrest the bad guy. He's a known bad guy, you see, he'll just do it again, we've got more important things to worry about. The other side of this is if you're an honest citazen, and you smack somebody attacking you, YOU they'll arrest and take to jail, and do their very best to put in prison.
Standards. Those abandoned, and those people growing up without them. Why bother to work when you're guaranteed a place to live and food to eat and medical treatment? Why care about anything except your own desires of the moment when you face very little chance of any real punishment? Why worry about taking care of kids you bring into the world when they're guaranteed those things? Of course, that means the sperm-donor 'fathers' walking out, and/or beating up the mother and kids when they are around, and so forth. Which means the kids grow up thinking that's the normal way to behave.
We've got much of the same trouble here. It hasn't reached the proportions of Britain, and I have hopes that we can reverse the trend. But it's very troubling to see, and more troubling to consider how many people think the system in Britain is just the thing that we need here. It's like they look at what's happening there, and in places where it's tried here, and either cannot see it or refuse to acknowledge it.
Mark Steyn had a column recently where he was criticizing the British government for the 'shoot to kill if in doubt' policy when dealing with bombing suspects. There are parts of the column I'd argue with, but not the one where he points out that while the British government now has the agents of the state permitted to kill if they think someone might be about to enter a tube station or whatever with a bomb, if someone breaks into your house and tries to knife you and you swat him with a cricket bat, those same agents of the state will put you in prison. It used to be the standard in Britain that you had the God-given right to protect yourself and your family- and your HOME- with whatever force necessary, but that standard is gone.
Standards like 'if your kid misbehaves in school, you punish him for it; and you don't gripe at the school for punishing him'. That's been replaced by parents- using the term loosely- screaming at and threatening teachers for daring to fail a kid on a test, or for daring to tell the parent in a conference that the kid's in trouble now and it'll get worse if he doesn't straighten up. I've a friend who's a teacher, I've heard these stories firsthand as well as from the news. There was a kid in my daughters' first grade class who had 'developmental problems'; this was a polite way of saying he hit other kids, disrupted class, hit the teachers, and so forth. The parents threw a fit every time he was sent to the office: they knew he had a problem but didn't want him 'damaged' by being put in a special ed class, he deserved to be in a regular class and they'd SUE if you suggested otherwise! And the principal, and standard-issue bureaucrat, kept suspending the kid for a couple of days and then letting him back into the class. So the kid got to keep hurting other kids and keeping the teacher from possibly teaching the other kids, and that kid did not get the help he needed. All because the parents cared more about his tender feelings(can you say 'self-esteem? I knew you could) than about actually dealing with his problem. Their standards no longer included 'if your kid has a problem, get him in a class where he'll get the help he'll need' because it might stigmatize him, you see; much better to let him screw up a whole class than have his God-damned self-esteem troubled.
Standards like you don't let your pre-teen or teen daughter go out dressed and made-up like a cheap hooker because "that's the FASHION, don't you understand?!?" Standards like if your kid isn't doing well in school you find out why and try to fix it, not run to the school and blame the teacher for being mean/bigoted/whatever for daring to bring this up.
I wrote once before that I was split in my thoughts on some of my kid's friends when they were growing up. On the one hand they were really messing up their lives, and on the other they made such a fine bad example: "Yeah, So-and-So dresses and acts like that; remember what happened to them?" That's a damned expensive example; expensive to those kids directly, and expensive to other kids who thought that was cool and didn't get slapped down from acting the same.
Standards like an adult does not go out in public wearing a shirt with obscene words on it, or obscene suggestions. Standards like, if you're an adult, ACT LIKE ONE!
I do not think we should revert in all ways to the 'Father Knows Best' attitudes of earlier days, but in some damned important ways we should. We'd all be better off.