Why America needs gentlemen…. and ladies too

Now, gender aside, in my home I insisted on one set of rules for all of my children, because that was how I grew-up and I knew it worked.  Of course, people argue constantly over the merits of corporal punishment, with some insisting physical discipline is required and others insisting it’s counterproductive.  Most parents fall somewhere in the middle on the subject.  I leaned more toward the very little physical discipline school, because I don’t like violence of any sort.  With consistent parenting, kids seem to turn out fine within this range.

It’s when parenting decisions are abdicated in society that we face  a real challenge, leaving the most imperiled children, those  in poor, single-parent homes – which statistically impacts more black children due to the out-of-wedlock/absent father crisis in black families.  The single-parent crisis, coupled with political pressure to avoid discussing the obvious collapse of civilized behavior among way too many young people, especially males, rears its ugly head in many disturbing news stories.  Knockout crimes, random assaults on passers-by committed by groups of young black men, keep making headlines lately.  Mark Steyn gives the politically correct reporting of  the current crime wave of “knock-out” attacks a facer in his latest piece, “Knockouts High and Low”, highlighting that the collapse of self-restraint permeates our society from these unprovoked random assaults all the way up to the highest levels of our government.  Steyn states,

“A society’s first line of defense is not the law but customs, traditions, and moral values,” wrote Professor Walter Williams a few years ago. “They include important thou-shalt-nots such as shalt not murder, shalt not steal, shalt not lie and cheat, but they also include all those courtesies one might call ladylike and gentlemanly conduct. Policemen and laws can never replace these restraints on personal conduct.”

American society brought most of its social norms from western Europe and from Protestant Christian ethics, due to the majority of our early immigrants being dissenters in their home countries and seeking religious freedom in America.  For an early taste of the religious ethic turned into civic moral code, William Penn’s, “Some Fruits of Solitude”, serves as a highly illustrative example, where the founder of the Pennsylvania colony offers an exhaustive (and fascinating) list of advice for civil conduct.

For two centuries these societal norms held within a pretty steady range, until our progressive social upheaval began in the late 1800s.  This culminated in the 1960s and 1970s epic sea change that tossed American society adrift, leaving us swirling in ever-widening treacherous waters of  dubious political “isms”,  far from that dry land of rock solid virtues, where America grew and prospered. –>


Filed under American Character, American History, Culture Wars, Food for Thought, Politics

3 responses to “Why America needs gentlemen…. and ladies too

  1. Amen! Indeed, sometimes the diplomatic must yield to the kinetic.

  2. Pingback: “Where have all the gentlemen gone?” | libertybelle diaries

  3. Pingback: Gentlemen: America’s endangered species | libertybelle diaries

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