by N. A. Halkides 10/22/16
I always take my summer vacations in the same small Michigan town. When I was there recently I saw some things that reminded me of just how important values are in creating clean, safe and pleasant communities. Sorry, “Fiscal Conservatives/Social Liberals,” you political unicorns, and you Libertarians – this article will not be to your taste. Culture matters, and it’s worth fighting for. Let’s see why.
The local Jaycees were in the process of renovating their old miniature golf course. (Everybody knows that miniature golf is played on a putt-only small course with artificial obstacles which we’ll call “props” here, right?) The old course went back forty-eight years, and as a matter of fact I played on it as a boy and was sorry to see it replaced by a newer and, I suppose, glitzier one that was perhaps calculated to appeal to the modern taste. Now while it might sound like I’m about to launch into an attack on today’s idiotic youth culture and how it has too much influence on what the rest of us can read, see, and hear, that is not my purpose today. True, the course layout has changed, but at least the Jaycees decided to keep some of the old props like the lighthouse, the ferry boat, and the power plant – a kind of conservatism, we might say. For the moment, then, we will not lament the Jaycees’ decision to renovate the course (even though I think it was a mistake).
No, my purpose here is to relate when I saw when I walked in after hours on a Friday evening to look around (no locks keep anybody out). Apart from bricks and other building supplies, the workmen had left both hand and power tools lying around in plain sight. The course was not yet ready for the lighthouse (about five feet tall) to be installed, so it was left in an alcove off a patio area outside the course itself, not secured to anything, while the model ferry boat was just sitting on the ground. As a matter of fact I checked back on Sunday and nothing had been disturbed! And this was in an area with lots of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Now try to imagine such a scene in the Chicago area where I live. The power tools would have been gone in the first hour, the hand tools in the second, and even the heavy bricks would have been carried off before morning! The lighthouse would have ended up in someone’s basement, and some young punk would have tried to pawn the ferry boat. Perhaps the model power plant would have been left alone because it was too bulky to carry out. Very probably the premises would have been vandalized on the thieves’ way out; in the City of Chicago itself it’s even possible that shots would have been fired at anyone who walked in unexpectedly on them.
Along the main avenue through town, the local garden club plants petunias and takes care of them all summer (not the government, which the Left thinks needs to be in charge of everything). And remember these are annual plants – o.k., I didn’t know that either until someone told me – so they have to go through all that work every year. When there’s a parade, no one tramples on the flowers – not even the kids. I have seen a van load of prisoners from the county jail driven out to the nearby state park so they can clean it up while getting some fresh air and exercise. There is only one officer with them, and he doesn’t even have a rifle! (Boss Godfrey from Cool Hand Luke he isn’t). Men suffering from the delusion they are women are not allowed in women’s public washrooms or locker rooms (Obama’s DOJ hasn’t gotten around to taking the city to court yet).
What makes all this possible there and impossible in any large city? In a word, culture. Very few people want to commit crimes, so the crime rate is low. People have pride in the community and want it to look nice so they plant the petunias along the boulevard. They wouldn’t think of trampling on the flowers and they raise their kids not to either. And why are the kids raised properly instead of regressing to savagery as they do in the inner cities? Because they have one mother and one father who teach them to respect other people and other people’s property. As for those prisoners in the county lockup, I don’t know for sure but I imagine most of them are there for DWI or something similar as opposed to serious violent offenses, which are practically unheard of.
In the large cities where cultural Leftism and progressive politics are strongest, what do we see? Fatherless boys join gangs and commit horrific crimes, with criminality being seen as culturally acceptable. Female-headed households are the rule, with welfare the norm instead of independence. (Soon enough we will see the maladjusted children that result from same-sex “parents” or the even more strange “family” groupings Libertarians think people should be free to form once we “get the government out of the marriage business”). The jails hold many violent and dangerous criminals no one in his right mind would let out to do public works projects. If anyone tried to plant flowers along a street without a police guard, he’d probably get robbed at gunpoint or run over by an illegal alien with no driver’s license. Progressives have decreed that women’s washrooms be opened to male weirdos and perverts. In cities like San Francisco, sexual deviants of various descriptions parade around the streets openly, semi-dressed (and for the most part they’re not even young and good-looking, making it harder for urban pseudo-sophisticates to pretend the rest of us are missing out on something). It isn’t hard to imagine what the effects of all this are on children raised in such an environment, and we haven’t even touched on education since that’s beyond the scope of this article.
Where criminals are a small minority, there isn’t much crime. Where Muslims are not allowed to immigrate, there is no Islamic terrorism (which means no terrorism). (Obviously law enforcement is still needed, but in a healthy culture the few criminals are rounded up and jailed leaving good people free to enjoy their lives without having to fear violent criminals or terrorist attacks). Good people have guns but don’t feel it necessary to carry them (an evaluation which sadly is becoming more antiquated each year as the cultural poison spreads and the Left imports as many new Muslim “refugees” as it can from that hellhole known as the Middle East). Indeed, the lack of gun control typical of the places I’m describing – largely rural, small-town America, where pretty much every house has at least one gun – combined with the low rate of crime serves as an immediate refutation of the idiotic and dangerous idea that “easy access to guns” contributes to the violent crime rate. However, getting too deeply into the stupidity of gun control is wandering a little off our chosen topic.
A good culture will express itself in good laws to maintain public order, safety, and decency. Such laws are well within the province of a free society, whatever Libertarians might believe. In other words, weirdos and perverts who try to shower with women get arrested instead of applauded, and you can have your deviant pride parade if you must but you’ll have to keep your leather pants on in public – and don’t expect the rest of us to celebrate your deviation as if it were something wonderful. Notice, though, that such laws must proceed from valid cultural assumptions – they will be repealed by a Left that rejects those assumptions, and never passed in the first place by a Libertarian society that refuses the accept the necessity of moral judgments in shaping its laws.
A good culture is therefore worth fighting for. It will not be fought for by Libertarians, who don’t think it matters. It will not be fought for by self-described “fiscal conservatives” who are less interested in conserving the underpinnings of a free and decent society then they are in knocking some fraction of a percent off the cost of government. It will not be fought for by Establishment Republicans whose main concern is advancing the short-term interests of their wealthy donors and who shrink from any confrontation with the Left. It will be fought against by progressives intent on tearing down any trace of a liberal (in the proper use of the term) social order, and who are even now doing their level best to turn nice communities like the one I’ve described here into mirror images of the inner-cities they have already destroyed. No, it will only be fought for by American “social conservatives” who are in fact the only true Conservatives and who understand that if “good fences make good neighbors,” good culture makes good laws – and also supports the fabric of clean, safe, and decent communities.
Nik is a freelance writer, former professor, and has written for FrontPage Magazine.
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