We are not innocent

I’m far from alone in the view I expressed last evening of the Newtown, Connecticut school slaughter. This is from Lucianne.com:

Reply 2 - Posted by: M2, 12/15/2012 6:55:55 AM (No. 9066823)

The culture is permeated by violence and has been so for a decade, more escalated recently in movies, computer games and even advertising. Violence, by any means, is glorified, vigilantiism is lauded and life is generally cheap. This begins in the family; if parents show contempt for pro-life views, the seed is then planted that life is fungible, disposable.

Bad neighborhoods are allowed to perpetuate the culture of violence so long as it doesn´t spread beyond the borders. Remember Rahm Emmanuel´s admonition to the Chicago gangs to “stop it,” but nothing was done. That kind of casual approach to the valueless nature of human life has become the worldview of American culture.

No doubt the Left will try to blame the guns, but that is like blaming the fork for obesity. The problem must be attacked at its roots — entertainment, music, art and godlessness. If it isn´t, it cannot be destroyed. Parents, churches, synagogues and mosques must speak out forcefully against violence. Three out of four might.

The commenter’s last point weakens his main point. Of course our society constantly speaks out against violence. The problem, as the commenter himself indicates, is that our society, even while speaking against actual violence, systematically normalizes fictional portrayals of extreme and perverted violence through the entertainment media. And on a deeper level, it systematically normalizes the idea that there is no such thing as right and wrong. On the main page at Lucianne.com today, there is an editorial note: “Innocence defiled and destroyed.” But how could anyone who has spent one hour looking at American television, looking at the magazines on display in every supermarket, say that we are an innocent country? Our blindess to ourselves—our blindness to the evil and the general sleaze that we ourselves normalize—is stunning.

- end of initial entry -

M. Jose writes:

I have one quibble with the Lucianne poster you referenced:

Violence, by any means, is glorified, vigilantiism [sic] is lauded and life is generally cheap (emphasis mine).

Whereas one can argue over the merits of vigilantism, lauding it is not necessarily typical of non-recognition of value and of liberalism. In fact, vigilantism can be seen as a reaction against the liberal elements of society, in that someone is standing up for the good when the system no longer recognizes the good. Most attempts at portraying vigilantism positively that actually deal specifically with the vigilantism aspect (i.e. not including superhero stories that are more interested in the adventure than in the political implications) tend to portray it as a reaction to the lack of value-consciousness in the official channels, and to the fact that (usually liberal) philosophies have made them unable to deal with the reality of evil or that they are twisted into actively support evil. Look at the Death Wish movies. The protagonist Paul Kersey [for whom the blogger Paul Kersey named himself] is portrayed not as being good for being violent, but as for being good for standing up for what is right when the whole system is too hamstrung to do anything about evil (except perhaps for punishing the victims for minor infractions they commit while being victimized).

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 15, 2012 10:39 AM | Send

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