Friday, August 10, 2012

Another Reason For Optimism

A while back I linked to a video showing 300 black teenagers storming a Walmart in a flash mob robbery. It looks like it's been taken down, but here it is with a voice-over commentary. That commentary and the video below is why we can be optimistic about the future. (MAJOR LANGUAGE WARNING.)

ELawShea, the fellow in the video, gets it. That Walmart video has affected him deeply to the point that he's questioning the arc of civilization. At 3:00, it shows that he's starting to wrap his mind around this curve and its implications:

The x axis is time and the y axis is ELawShea's metric, disrespectfulness.
Way, way back when, I linked to this article on civilization's decay in Oakland. Here's an excerpt that has stuck with me and is the driving force of what ELawShea is seeing and the graph above.
The inmates say the only difference between these neighborhoods and prison is the absence of walls. The same hierarchies apply - the meanest rise to the top. It's a survival skill that ensures ownership of drug corners, a sense of self-worth, female attention and protection from attack. 
Experts fear that the neighborhoods are only getting more violent. There are entire blocks without a single two-parent family, where drug dealers have become the predominant male role models, and children fend for themselves in crowded, chaotic homes where they are routinely exposed to drugs, sex and guns. 
Criminal families are on their third and fourth generations. Grandparents - the ones who have historically stepped in to help raise fatherless boys and instill a sense of right and wrong - are dying off.
Emphasis mine. The culture of moral relativism isn't static. That is, you don't decide to treat all families as equal and immediately the results become evident. As one generation gives way to the next, the effects of our cultural decisions evolve. ELawShea is seeing the evolutionary decay of civilization.

The key point here is not the decay, but the fact that he and others are coming to the same, shocked conclusion. Just like Mary Mitchell, confronted with the harvest of our secular obsession with self-gratification, they're tumbling to the same prudicious conclusions as the rest of us.

People aren't deliberately stupid and blind. They don't like to live in chaos, violence and uncertainty. The evidence is all around them and lots of folks are starting to wake up to the problem. That right there is a reason to be optimistic.

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