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A House Divided: America's Two Nations
This is the third chapter in Scott Shore's book in progress, which argues why the Torah at Sinai is the only universally acceptable basis for restoring values and providing a basis for creating a conservatism for the 21st century. In Chapter III, Scott Shore pulls out all the stops and states what is wrong with society today - including abortion, socialism, and the Left's emphasis on group values over the individual and family. This book will be the "Closing of the American Mind" of the 21st century.
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses! Before you I have placed life and death, the blessing and the curse. You must choose life, so that you and your descendents will survive.” Deuteronomy 30:19
A healthy society is composed of concentric circles from the individual to the family to the community and finally the extended communities that define Society. In America today, there still exists a healthy society. Alongside this society is a twisted mockery of a wholesome society—a social nether world. These two nations cannot coexist anymore than a healthy person can coexist with malignant cancer. A cultural war is being fought and it is not one that we can afford to lose.
Humanity is composed of individuals. In a physical sense, the individual is the ultimate symbol of humanity. After all, a community or society, while real, are intellectual constructs and do not exist as biological entities. Only the individual is a living unit on his/her own. The individual is the result of the sexual union of the father and mother. It is often said that three are involved in the creation of an infant. The mother and father provide the physical and even personality traits of the child, while the Divine Soul or Life Force is drawn from Above. The relationship of mother, father and children in a family is the strongest and most important social bond in the formation of the individual and the family is the building block for the formation of the community. The family and community both maintain an element of intimacy or connection between the individual and a larger social group. The intricate relations and interdependence between communities form society. In open or free societies the full capabilities of individuals may take form in the advancement of the arts, sciences, literature, engineering and the entire vast array of human activities. Unlike the community, however, the society is not an intimate, personal bond of the individual but rather a sense of collective identity.
Society is a natural evolution of human development. This is not to be confused with the State. While society is a natural development, the State is an artifice that holds a monopoly of force over society or societies. Depending upon the State, it may foster or retard individuality, family, community and society. The interplay between State and Society shall be discussed in the next chapter. Let us return to the individual.
What is an individual? What is individuality and is it intrinsic or does it develop? Can there be a healthy and unhealthy individualism? What role does the family; the community and society play in determining the types of individuals and the meaning of individual identity in society? To begin this discussion we must turn the clock back prior to the 1960’s when all the entities from individuals to family to society became deeply uprooted and twisted from their traditional meaning. After we establish a healthy traditional paradigm that still exists, we can begin to examine the serious social cancer we face as a society today.
A human becomes unique at the time of conception. At that very moment a new life is created with its own, totally distinguishable DNA and biological and character blueprint. This is not some ideological point but an unalterable biological fact. Within a relatively short time, the embryo develops into a human infant. A pregnant mother has a precious life within her that is the special combination of her and the father. This pregnancy typically occurs within the framework of a marriage. The marriage is a public matter because it represents the couples’ commitment not only to each other but also to the community for the responsibility of raising their family. In simpler times, the father provided a livelihood for his family and guidance to his children and the mother provided the constant love and nurturing and education children so need. This is not to say that the father did not nurture or that the mother did not help with or even totally generate family finances. This pre-1960’s paradigm provided role modes for the children of expected norms of behavior in later life. While we know that not all families were happy, well-functioning families, this “institution” worked well for most people most of the time.
Does this mean that there were no “dysfunctional” families or that all families or marriages were happy? No, it simply means that in the past most children “survived” childhood and lived in the security that their parents would be part of their life during their formative years. Most marriages, while not romantically ecstatic, were viewed as permanent commitments and the couple learned to live their life with the oath they made on their wedding day. There was a clear recognition that marriage was based on common values and faith and that in all relationships there are good and bad times. The point is the couple stuck it out in fidelity to each other and for the sake of their children. This is certainly no longer true when there is a divorce rate in America over 50% and reaching up to 70% in some areas. This is also not true when a majority of black children are born out of wedlock. What has brought us to this point?
Let us return to the individual. Each person is born with a body and a variety of physical and emotional dispositions and abilities. As we spoke earlier, it is precisely the differences that will determine the responsibilities and opportunities of that individual to contribute to the world into which he or she was born. Given that we neither chose to be born nor did we choose our bodies or minds, can we say that we “own” ourselves? Unfortunately, this concept of “self-ownership” has become an axiomatic of liberal and libertarian thinking. What I believe was initially believed in this concept is that the individual had ultimate responsibility for the disposition of his life in contrast to “slavery” in which one man is the “chattel” or personal property of another. Yet this initial meaning has been lost although the “axiom” has been used carelessly. Ownership requires the conscious act of co-creation between man and physical matter. Ultimately, we are all part of G-d’s Creation just as much as the most distant galaxies of the physical universe. Our Owner in the deepest sense is G-d alone.
While it is certainly clear that no one else “owns” us, does that inherently suggest “self-ownership?” The answer is important since the unfounded idea of “self-ownership” as against the idea that we are “trustees” of our bodies and minds might easily justify suicide. That which I “own” I can dispose of as I wish, including myself. Yet most sane people naturally recoil not only at the idea of suicide but also at any self-mutilation or purposeful self-destruction through the intentional ingestion or exposure to poisons or toxins such as certain illegal drugs.
As previously mentioned, what is missing in the above discussion is that “third” force in the creation of a human being. The mother and father provide biological building blocks, but the Source of Life alone makes human life sacred. Each individual has an “owner” of his life and that is G-d. We have no permission to destroy the life that G-d has given us. All human life, born and yet-to-be born, has an Owner and a specific mission to play based upon all the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual attributes given to the child. It is this fact that is the basis for the assertion that being human inherently implies “certain inalienable rights.” This is an authentic philosophy of Life that asserts ”the right to life and liberty”. Without liberty we are fettered from fulfilling that mission that we each must discover.
How does an individual matter and “discover” his role in life? While discovery is a life-long task, most discoveries take place in childhood and adolescence. This is the time of life when the imagination allows for unlimited possibilities. When asking a young child what he or she wants to do when grown up, it is not unusual for the child to come up with most implausible list of future careers such as a fireman and an Air Force pilot and a doctor and a postman. The world of make-believe is the perfect place for children. It allows them to explore what really interests them. In childhood parents and the schools should encourage all the child’s interests. A child should also be free in school to discover their strengths and weaknesses without fear of embarrassment or shame. It is most important for children to determine their strengths and recognize their weaknesses, not how they stack up to other small children. In early childhood what possible good can come of comparing children’s grades? The child should feel comfortable with the skills that he or she possesses without the need to compare with other children.
Later as a child moves toward high school, the comparison of skills is necessary. An adolescent must learn the hard truth that we are not all created equal in talents, skills, abilities or intelligence. The point is not to retard the individual at any early age by humiliating comparisons before they have had an opportunity to develop their abilities without peer pressure. Too many children are prematurely discouraged from persevering in an area because of early failures or decide that they just don’t “make the grade” in their youth. This either creates some form of inferiority complex or a rebellion against a society in which they seem to be a failure. Our current education system combined with the lack of active parental involvement does little to prepare youth for the reality of finding their “place” in society. A proper education creates literate citizens with a healthy sense of how they might contribute will only come about by the involvement of parents in positions of ultimate oversight. Furthermore, parents must have every right to opt out of a school that retards the potential of their children. Our children are now political prisoners of an Educational Monopoly maintained by the ultimate control of teachers’ unions over local communities.
Youth is also the time of personal discovery of inner character. One finds the strength or weakness of ethical will through everyday trials. Nothing can stop young people from exposure to the lure of delinquency, addictions, or inappropriate premarital sexual relationships. This is the obligation of parents to define the boundaries of discovery so that it remains safe. Parental abrogation of this responsibility through misguided “laissez faire” views or sheer laziness is inexcusable.
A child brought up by responsible parents will find his strengths and learn the boundaries of acceptable social behavior. Such a child will feel “self-esteem” through the love of parents and the understanding that he should delight in his own talents and personality and not worry about the accomplishments, character or popularity of others. Finding one’s unique array of personality, capabilities and ambitions is the foundation of authentic individualism. Building on this foundation and finding one’s place in the community is the process of maturation.
Community is the network of social relationships within individuals is capable of doing acts of personal expression. It is the place in which I can do an act of kindness or provide the benefits of my talents in a direct manner. It is very difficult to do an act of kindness to “society.” Community on the other hand is interdependent individuals. We rely on our neighbors in times of difficulty. It is within the community that we actualize our potential for good character traits and responsibility. A community is defined by the sense of personal belonging one has. A geographic community is the face-to-face world in which our true timber is tested. Each community has its reward of belonging and its responsibilities for contribution. This is true of a religious community, a fraternal organization, an ethnic community, a trade union, or communities for a social agenda. Each community has its code of behavior and its expectations of the individual. The community and the family are the contexts in which the individual can make a personal or private contribution. These are the contexts in which individual character is tested and in which socially responsible and therefore potentially free members of society are shaped. It is in our community in which we are “known” and in which our words and actions may be properly weighed by our neighbors.
Society is the greater canvas upon which individuals and communities operate. Society is marked by a combination of common mores, tastes, values, language and culture. Here the individual exercises not a private but social contribution. A common economic, political and cultural “world” largely defines society. A transaction within a society is based upon a common understanding of property and contract. Economic relationships are facilitated by seamless modes of transportation, communication and finance. The triumph of American capitalism has created a shared society within America. The strength and character of American society will determine its ultimate fate.
Now we shall turn to the imminent cultural threats facing American society. While still a free and strong nation, the very foundations of our society are rotting away. The individual in the “traditional” view was the outcome of a mother and father, husband and wife, who create a new life with a Soul given from Above. If we but remove the spiritual element, an entirely different picture emerges. A sperm fertilizes an ovum. This outcome is either by design or chance. Once sexual intercourse is removed from marriage and social commitment, it does not necessarily follow that this “individual” is welcome to Planet Earth. Should the couple or the woman feel this new human embryo would develop into an inconvenient nuisance, and then the human “tissue” can be simply removed by abortion. Under current law, a human child may be disposed of in the last trimester or at birth. Abortion is merely a nice way to say infanticide. Once humans are disposable, the whole concept of the sanctity of the individual is undermined. In America, 40 million souls have been aborted since the Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade. This is an astonishing thought. While there may have been extraordinary cases in which the life of the mother was at risk or other imponderable and exceptional circumstances may mitigate this astounding statistic, this can hardly explain the “big business” and casual and massive use of abortion. Dare we so lose meaning in the English language that we can call an abortion based upon inconvenience, failure to exercise birth control or at the time of birth anything less than murder? Now an entire industry is developing to use aborted fetal or infant tissue for pharmaceutical use. Could Aldous Huxley have created a more ghoulish society?
What child lives and what child dies? Perhaps it shall be based upon the circumstances of fertilization? If sex is a commodity to be sold, naturally there will be occasional “mistakes” when contraception fails. If sex is a casual matter, it is quite likely that an unwanted pregnancy will occur eventually. An abortion society is a culture of death. Human life becomes cheap. Economic convenience or social circumstances measure the right of a human life to its existence!? It is a small step from casual abortion to purposeful infanticide of the handicapped or those with deformities. It is another small step to decide that only a male or female child shall be permitted to live. In China abortion is state policy. In India female infants are routinely aborted. Perhaps our advanced technology will permit us to determine in utero whether the child will be below average IQ, learning disabled, or mentally ill. If there is no “sanctity” to life than certainly we can dispense with these potential social burdens.
The same reasoning is true with the very aged. Is it not more humane to permit guardians of those in a vegetative state or the senile to provide a peaceful death to these suffering and socially burdensome individuals? In the culture of death the individual is not a unique potential but rather a matter of social convenience or “fitness” of physical and mental qualities that either pass the threshold of acceptance or die. In the culture of death we must all question our social utility. Is there any question as to why American culture is plagued with an epidemic of depression and anxiety? Is anyone surprised that individuals grow up with issues of “self-esteem”? Rather than having a mission within the Divine matrix, one is always wondering if he or she “measures up” to their social expectations. In our traditional world the individual had a family to help develop character and provide the love required for healthy human growth. In contemporary society the family is endangered and the implications are far greater than the disappearance of the “snail darter” or an exotic species. Without the family, the child has no foundation for the transmission of the eternal values upon which society depends.
In place of the internal compass of individual mission, a child becomes a consumer. Intrinsic worth can be “bought” by products that promise the mask of power, sexual prowess, status, social acceptance and every other fantasy the mind can conjure. Ultimately these products fail and the unfortunate soul must face an absurd and cruel world without real love. Drugs provide the sense of well being that naturally is the role of a sense of G-dly connection. These drugs of course are a certain road to death and those addicted have judged themselves unworthy of life and sentenced to a form of “death row.”
In America today there very well may not be an attentive parent paying attention to the behavior, friends, or activities of children. The assumption of “parental concern and responsibility” can no longer be taken for granted. These value-free consuming human units may be saved if there is an extended family or caring community. Communities were traditionally based on close neighbors, a strong relationship between the school system and the parents, religious affiliations and obligations or the work of civic organizations. Unfortunately, many people have no clue that their neighbors are. Often there is no extended family to help. Grandparents may live thousands of miles away. In some urban subcultures of America, children born out of wedlock are multigenerational and the “grandparents” have only the most tangential involvement in the children. Neighbors live in locked homes and apartments and taking care of other children in the community is not the norm.
Religious and civic organizations
are but mere shadows of their former status. All the critical components
of authentic individual growth are dying. It starts with disposable embryos
or children without fathers (or occasionally mothers). The community and
family no longer function to provide support and guidance to the parent
or the child. It ends with poverty, antisocial behavior, delinquency,
violence and death. The circle is thus completed in the culture of death.
This culture is most pronounced in the inner city “hell holes”
but the culture of the ghetto spreads to all society. This culture of
death has become mainstreamed through television, music and “fashion”.
Depend upon a market system to “cash in” on popular trends.
If the ghetto is “in” then the ghetto is what you’ll
Politicians know a good thing when they see it. “Victim” groups (largely formed as a result of their own behavior) are powerful voting blocs. Those who are economically less fortunate or those lifestyles are not legitimized by traditional values are quickly becoming the foundation of the modern U. S. Democratic Party. Not only Democrats but also some Republicans and libertarians support abortion even at birth. Some buy the votes of the “victims” of the sex and drug culture by offering “entitlements.” The Mega-State fundamentally believes in the power of the State to tax the fruit of other people’s labor, savings and invention is fully justified if there are enough votes to do it. As long as people remain dependent on the Welfare State, the Democratic Party has a safe constituency. The Republicans, while on balance less toxic to the Republic, have their own corporate entitlement groups. (Think of the two major parties as houses of prostitution. They simply have a different class of clientele.) The American Far-Left is the political market’s answer to the soulless world. Same sex marriages fine. Abortion of inconvenient humans, no problem. Casual sex spreading HIV or unwanted pregnancies, hand out condoms. No moral lectures. Teenage moms without financial means, send the welfare check. More children, bigger checks. Since the needs of people are essentially without limit, there will never be a shortage of Democratic or Leftist solutions. You can’t get what you want, Uncle Sam’s here to help.
What a pathological symbiosis! So long as people feel they deserve more from somebody, the Democrats and Republicans will provide it. There are whole voting groups dependent upon one government hand out or another. There are huge voting blocs who rely on the government for special treatment. Once each new “booty” is established, there is a new voting group for Democrats or Republicans, depending on the nature of the dependency. I am tougher on Democrats because they actually have a vested interest in social breakdown and its resultant misery. Of course, there ARE some moderate Democrats or nostalgic elderly folks who believe the Democrats are more “caring.” Some genuinely believe that Democrats are merely the party looking out for the little guy. They are well intentioned, but “their” Democratic Party was hijacked a long time ago!
Perhaps we should call the Democratic party what it really is. The Democratic Party has morphed into a legitimate socialist party. Just as with the classic Marxists, religion is banned from the public square. Consistent with socialist doctrine, the job of the part is to mobilize the “proletariat.” In America this means convincing middle-class America that they are being cheated, convincing workers that they stand to lose basic rights, and to convince all the wards of the State, including illegal aliens, that they have an intrinsic birthright to the product of other people’s labor and capital. This is an anti-religious, secular, redistributionist party. Is this not classic socialism?
What could be lower than to gain power through the perpetuation of a failing welfare and educational system? What could be lower than to profit from the votes of illegal aliens? What could be lower than to promise benefits that were not earned through labor but given as a “free gift” on the backs of actual hardworking Americans? This socialist madness does not stop on the shores of America.
The individual, the family, the community and the greater society—this used to be a functioning whole. Now we have fragmented interests competing to levy taxes on other interests. The sanctity of the individual and his connection with society is lost. Now we have lost souls in a cynical society. In lieu of the pursuit of Divine pursuit, we have shameless envy, greed and the pursuit of the lonely individual for Mammon in any way possible. Bereft of the true religion of Sinai, a new paganism has been born which includes human sacrifice.Send this Article to a Friend