Crime, Culture, and the Quality of Life

healthylifeby N. A. Halkides10/22/16
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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15 Responses to Crime, Culture, and the Quality of Life

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    A very good description of the difference between the old America and the brave new world that the Left seeks to create with its Orwellian methods. Nor can the Left tolerate even the existence of such places (which they would never visit). Every place in the country must fit their Huxleyan image, and everyone must agree that this is how society should work. (That’s what liberal “diversity” means.)

    I haven’t played miniature golf in a few decades. Sort of a pity, though the reality is that I don’t get out much these days, partly because of my leg problems (the ooze from the left calf in particular is a bit of a problem). Even with a cane I think I could play (I don’t need the cane to stand, merely to walk) — but bending down to get the balls out of the cups would be a problem.


      Thanks, Tim, and sorry that your leg problems keep you from enjoying mini-golf. I don’t play much myself, except for an annual game or two on the course I described.

  2. Steve Lancaster says:

    There are thousands of towns just like yours. Where our culture will survive, come what may. I suspect that thinking people of whatever political stripe, except most progs, will agree on what it should be. For over 40 years this Libertarian has carried the fight to those who would deny, disparage and destroy our culture. A part of my personal libertarian philosophy is taken from the Battle Hymn of the Republic, “In the glory of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea, as He died to make men holy, let us live to make them free.”

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:


    Be careful, calling deviants, perverts and weirdos, deviants, perverts and weirdos will get you in trouble with even some so-called conservatives. Of course, such people are not conservatives, merely useful idiots for the Left.

    When I was a child, some fifty years ago, playing miniature golf was a special treat. I haven’t seen a course for years.

  4. Rosalys says:

    I like this article, Mr. Nik. It points out that the foundation of a good and peaceful society are a good and moral populace. It’s the people, folks! When the people allow incremental corruption by government policy they are not behaving as good and moral people. That is why we are in the trouble we are in, because, “good men do nothing.”

    Hillary had the unmitigated gall to quote Ronald Reagan (who was supposedly quoting Tocqueville, although it was later pointed out he never said it,) saying near the end of the last debate, “America is great because America is good!” This is blatant pandering! She has shown by her actions that she does not believe America to be good, and she is doing her utmost to destroy whatever goodness or greatness is left.

    But enough of the nasty woman!

    There is a family in the next town over that has a table, at the end of their driveway, set out every day with freshly cut flowers from their garden, (in season, of course.) There is a wooden box with a slot (and yes a lock – they are not THAT trusting!) and a price list. A sign says to, please, not take the vases, but the flowers only. They have been doing this for at least the past three years; I pass it on the way to the nursing home where my mother lives. It’s likely it has been going on for many more years. I have not noticed any vandalism, and if there was too much theft, I doubt they would keep it up.

    There is also a place that has been doing the same with bread, freshly baked every day. In Matunuck, RI, it’s called Daddy’s Bread, and has been operating on the honor system since 1975. Take a loaf and drop the money in the box!

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Most people mean well. It also helps if the honor system applies to something that isn’t expensive (such as bread). Somehow I suspect an honor system of new TV sets wouldn’t work so well.

      Of course Hillary doesn’t care about American being good (or not), nor about it being great (though she may be less hostile than Obama). But she knows that voters do care, and learned the fine art of pandering to them from her husband.

      • Rosalys says:

        Granted, these honor system flower and bread shops are in “good” neighborhoods.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Stores in good areas can put some of their merchandise (usually less expensive stuff, such as used books at a local bookstore that eventually went out of business) outside the store. This is much the same as the honor system sales, since anyone who comes along could take something and not pay for it. This can’t be done in higher-crime areas.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      There is a family in the next town over that has a table, at the end of their driveway, set out every day with freshly cut flowers from their garden, (in season, of course.) There is a wooden box with a slot (and yes a lock – they are not THAT trusting!) and a price list.

      Have they had any problems with the town council regarding city ordinances on licensing or other questions?

      Every now and then, one hears about some town closing a child’s lemonade stand on health or licensing grounds.

      • Rosalys says:

        Since it has been up for at least three summer/fall seasons running that I know of (and probably longer,) it seems they have not. Whether this is because of the benevolence of the town council, or that they don’t know about it, I cannot say.

  5. Anniel says:


    We’ve spent so much time and effort on your Trump article that this one was short-circuited. I really enjoyed reading about what is Hometown USA for a lot of us. Do you think this is the type of article Brad seems to want these days? If it is then more of it.

    Good luck to us all. God bless. Annie

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Do you think this is the type of article Brad seems to want these days?

      I haven’t read this yet, Annie. But when I glanced at it, it seemed an interesting essay in regards to culture.

      It should be fairly plain what I am asking regarding political articles. That so many don’t get it suggests to me that there are some conservative bubbles in need of breaking out of. Let me express my standards another way:

      All I ask is that people reach down inside themselves and pull out something other than grievance in many of its disguised forms.

      There. That’s perhaps the core issue. There are things to comment and complain about. But I hate to see myself and others caught in a cycle where we analyze this stuff to death. I think it does no good and I think it actually does ourselves harm.

      This may sound weird, but when you write an article, you ought to have one foot in Heaven. That is, you ought to be very aware of not just perpetuating the dull, tired, stale, boring daily drama. Give us nobility. Give us meaning. Hell, give us fun and humor.

      Good things can and will happen if people follow the initial rule that I laid out for political articles: Either report on what you are doing to combat the Left or what someone else is doing . . . and/or play journalist and tell us first-hand what is going on out there (which doesn’t include simply recycling and re-analyzing the daily news cycle).

      But if you want to write an article outlining the dozen (only a dozen?) ways that Hillary Clinton is corrupt, do that somewhere else. Take it to sites such as American Thinker which seem to specialize in “grievance in many of its disguised forms.”

      Smile. Enjoy life. And, sure, sometimes we have to take a stand. But if someone really believes that Trump will build a wall (and that it won’t just be a rhetorical one, quickly forgotten if he wins the election), then hold yourself to the same standard: Don’t just engage in idle rhetoric. Go out and analogously build that wall. Combat the Left. Or report on those who do. Or delve into your community and report on important and interesting things that are going on. You’ll have something far more interesting and important for others to read.

      And if you really want to delve into the minutia of political theory, then don’t pretend you’re doing something important by just venting. If you want to teach people something about politics, or economics, or whatever, then by all means, do so. But that means hard work. It means being organized. It means doing some research. And, most of all, it means getting your own ego and sense of angst or grievance out of the way and serving the reader. Teach them something. Make it plain. Make it interesting. Do a friggin’ whole series of articles on socialism if you’d like. But keep the reader’s interests in mind, not just your own desire to vent.

      Unfortunately, what is easy is just banging out words on a keyboard and fooling yourself that you’re doing something important. Put something more into it.

      That’s really all I have to say on this subject. If people don’t get it by now it’s likely because they don’t want to get it.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        It wouldn’t do for an article, but a friend once told me of an interesting example of the poison of identity politics from when he was with General Foods in Westchester county in the early ’80s before coming back to Louisville. A black secretary wouldn’t do any work, and didn’t even show up reliably to “work” — and made it clear that if anyone fired her, she would cry “racism”. So she got passed along from department to department.

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