The Baltimore Riots highlight something for me. America does not suffer as much from fiscal poverty as it does from Moral and Spiritual Poverty. So many have watched the changes in America in the last two decades with a sense of loss and shock that such anthropological regression could happen here. It is, but how do we stop it?
I think the solution lies in restoring a moral and spiritual base to the American people. You feed their bodies, but without feeding them morally and spiritually they will never feed themselves. You become and enabler of their anthropological regression which has enslaved them instead of leading them to freedom and self-respect by weaning them from government dependance. We must work to restore people dignity and their hope. What you are seeing in Baltimore is the incoherent misdirected rage of hopelessness. Their spirits are broken and shackled by their utter dependence on government, and their souls are lost from decades of progressive attacks on religion. Their bodies are broken by AIDS, drugs, violence, homelessness, and hunger. Most importantly, the very formation of these young men and women is damaged by the notable absence of stable two parent families. There needs to be a father in the home, or the thug culture that has captured so many young minds will be inextinguishable.
Today though, thanks to “Uncle Sugar,” a husband has become a disposable commodity. Enshrined into law by no-fault divorce, the marriage contract is only as good as the whim of one’s spouse. While women will say they take the brunt of the damage, I have seen too many men deeply financially damaged and emotionally shattered through no fault of their own to accept that women are the only ones hurt and the men are fine. In the inner cities, it has often been generations since the majority of households had a father and mother in a stable marriage in the home. This is possible because if a woman decides to leave her husband, no matter what her reason, the government offers support to her and any children. The husband gets a child support judgement and a shattered soul. It does not take long before this results in men unwilling to commit to marriage and women being used in a marital fashion and bearing children from multiple men without a husband. They raise these children on welfare at the taxpayers expense and receive larger payements for each child they bear out of wedlock. The Government, in effect, encourages immoral behavior. These children grow up in a multigenerational welfare family with no hope because the help they needed was not provided, nor did they have a successful role model to emulate. As Americans, we all too often get the idea that money can solve all problems, and, if it doesn’t turn out the way you expected, more money will make it better. That is arrogance. We all pay the price when these children grow up uneducated, violent, and socially disruptive just as we pay the price for the system that makes them that way.
How to fix it? What would I do? I’d bring back SHAME. Yes SHAME. Shame is a good thing. It reminds us when someone has broken the moral rules of our society, and a people without shame are a people without any moral compass. I would ban no-fault divorce because it is destructive to families and teach that civil marriage is a binding social contract, the breaking of which brings shame on the family. I would put the adultery criminal statutes back on the books. Too often, I have to read in the news about a man who catches his wife with another man and kills her or both of them. I read similar stories about women. On this issue there is no legal justice available to the aggrieved spouse. Civil and criminal penalties will offer a man recourse to restore his stolen honor and see the guilty punished. It will slow the rate of the murders of errant spouses, eventually seeing it end as people obey the morality requirements of the marital social contract. For those that find this reprehensible, I suggest never to marry and never to have sex with another person’s spouse. Society needs marriage as an anchor. Marriage is a crucible that forms men, creating a need in them to put their family before them, and focuses them on their home and family instead of what gets them the most pleasure for the least amount of effort.
Next, we need to give people hope. I worry less about wether it is Catholics, Sikhs, Buddhists, Protestants, or Mormons that bring spirituality, morality, and hope to these aggrieved people than that it is done. The churches must supplant the state in caring for the morally and spiritually poor. To truly give hope, we must teach them the value of work and help provide a viable path to self sufficiency. This means education, apprenticeship, and job training programs instead of simple welfare payments. Anything less, is nothing more than continued slavery and subservience to the state. It robs them of their dignity, and we must help them get their dignity and hope back.
The stakes are too high to ignore this problem. The alternatives are to help them in this way now, incarcerate them, or keep them on the dole for life. I would hope we chose to help.
Pax Christi –