Back in my junior year in high school in Garner, North Carolina, there was not one—not one—school shooting in the entire United States that year, and not one act of what is now called “domestic terrorism.” In fact, in our schools other than some minor and normally harmless fist-fights (mostly to settle private disputes between rambunctious teenage boys, often over a girl), the extreme violence as we see and experience in our day was basically non-existent.
In fact, all through my grammar school and then high school years the schools were open, like most all educational institutions in the Tar Heel State. Just like all our stores and places of commerce, almost anyone could just walk in freely, although normally for schools they went to the administration office if something was desired. I can remember when my mother came to pick me up when Hurricane Hazel was on the way, or when news came that one of my grandfathers had passed away near Charlotte, and we needed to prepare to make the sad trip there for the funeral: she didn’t have to go through a metal detector and be searched for a concealed weapon. That was unthinkable. People weren’t like that then, certainly not in our state.
There was no need to have all the doors locked, or to hire security and police staff…or for that matter, to have employed babbling psychologists, sociologists, and “grief counselors” ready to assist students who suffered “mental problems.” Indeed, it was considered the height of intellectual folly and ridiculousness to even think about having “staff psychologists” or “grief counselors” lurking about to handle personal issues—mental illness—when the real solution to any potential problem was strong two-parent families (which then accounted for around 90% of domestic situations) at home, and solid discipline at school, plus the fact that the vast majority of families (and their children) were churchgoing and, at least publicly, professed some sort of faith in God, and thus in His Commandments.
The administrators of our schools and proprietors of our places of business weren’t afraid of some deranged gunman coming in and shooting up the place. That just did not happen.
Since then and with the triumph of modern progressivism, we have been informed that those older modes of behavior and belief, that way of life and conducting ourselves, was bad, that it restrained our freedom, that it limited us, that it was certainly “sexist” and probably also “racist.” We have been instructed that the older credo about marriage and the family is passe’ and in our contemporary culture just no longer applies. Marriage as a sacred institution, and for many of us a sacrament, has been in so many words downgraded to “if it feels good, just do it,” or, “shack up for a while and see if it works, and if not, then just split.” Too bad about any children born in this situation; they’ll just have to live with the less bad parent, usually the mother (but what happens if both are bad?).
No need here to cite statistics: you already know or have an idea what they reveal. Even in two-parent families, modern theories of child-raising dominate in far too many cases. Older, traditional ideas are relics of a bygone and, we are told, “not very enlightened age.”
And the schools? From the earliest primary grades to high school and then our colleges, “progressive” modern educational theories now undergird and inform instruction, certainly in public institutions of so-called “learning.” There has been a long-march, a continuous and largely effective campaign to implant an ideology, inculcate it in the unformed minds of our youth. How else to explain, in large part, the indoctrinated, zombie-like graduates of our schools and colleges, who simply mouth the ideological slogans and post-Marxist pablum instilled into them through twelve years of schooling and then another four of college? The University of the South-Sewanee, “Ole Miss,” UVa…what have they become in our day?
And our entertainment industry and sports?
I was struck one recent morning as I forced myself to watch a few brief minutes of “Fox & Friends” on the television, and beheld the woefully dumb blond Ainsley Earhardt rhapsodize about the 1990 film, “Home Alone,” one of the most inane and insipid movies of the past thirty years, as one of her favorite motion pictures. Just an example, but an example that says quite a bit about not just the twice-divorced Earhardt, but about what has happened to American society and the standards of taste now regnant and dominant in our decaying culture…and which now wash over my beloved North Carolina.
When was the last time you viewed a film without a plethora of four-letter words—and lots of them—or bedroom scenes which bare almost everything, punctuated by grunts, groans, and grimaces? Take a look at HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and regular weeknight television, almost any program.
I recall Groucho Marx on his early 1950s TV quiz program, “You Bet Your Life,” when he intimated in a very humorous way, sexual relations between a married couple. Everyone in the audience laughed (after gasping), but everyone also knew back then that such relationships were very special and should be within matrimony. There were limits to what should be said, not because of prudery, but because such intimate acts were very unique expressions of the sanctified marital bond. Of course, such relations also existed outside that bond—and that was also talked about and illustrated within our culture—but everyone, or almost everyone, knew that that was NOT normative, NOT the way things should be, NOT if families and their offspring were to succeed, and NOT if our society was to survive.
So, in recent days we have the specter of a dozen or so Democratic candidates blaming the shootings in El Paso and Dayton on Donald Trump—he is, according to that sorry excuse for a political leader, Beto O’Rourke, the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler! He’s a racist and the white-nationalist-in-chief who is directly responsible for ALL the violence we’ve seen, whether in a Walmart in El Paso or a high school in Parkland, Florida.
Yet the real culprits, those really responsible for the condition of our country and for the situation we find ourselves in are those like Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Julian Castro, and their intellectual associates and immediate forebears, who have inflicted—and continue to inflict—on us the insane policies and nostrums, the ideology that is at the very root of our situation in and the breakup of this country.
No, Beto: it is people like you and those who taught and instructed you who produced the crisis we see around us, the dislocation, the despair, the heartache, the fatherless boys, the broken families, the rage and misdirected anger…and the violence. Look in the mirror and SEE the culprit, and then go take a thirty day Ignatian Retreat in silence and pray God that He will forgive your Evil.
Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.