By: Eddie Clements

The six-year-old Cub Scout that took his camping tool-knife, to his school so he could show it off has been persecuted by his school’s officials. The young man’s statements following the incident indicate qualities of his character those officials do not posses: intelligence and maturity.

One thing he said he learned from all this was that he should ask permission before doing something like that. A reasonable response, possibly echoing sentiments his parents told him. If so, fine. What is important is that he did not whine, he took the incident in stride, and it appears the lesson is something he will build on.

Another incident reported by an AP story in the Poughkeepsie Journal online, 10/14/09 reports “An Eagle Scout who kept a 2-inch pocketknife in his car has been suspended from his upstate New York high school for bringing a weapon onto school grounds.” The “17-year-old senior” was suspended “for violating the district’s zero-tolerance policy for weapons on school grounds.”
A so-called zero-tolerance policy suggests not only lack of imagination but intellectual laziness. Adults who are unable to discriminate between useful tools and weapons have no business running schools, and possibly anything else. They certainly have no place instructing children.

It appears now in the case of the six-year-old that the school is backtracking on its position, which is a good thing. The downside is, they did not do so as a result of the pleas of the child’s parents and objective examination of the case and circumstances, but because the national attention to the case put the school in a negative light. Obviously the people running our schools need to be hit over the head with a public-reaction two-by-four just to get their attention.

Or is something else at work, purely political, and having to do with political correctness? Cub Scouts often leads to Boy Scouts, which is an organization that won a court case excluding homosexuals from being adult troop leaders. Is it just possible that there is a tit-for-tat thing going on here? In the case of the senior mentioned above, the story says the student “gave the knife to an administrator…after another student told officials he had been carrying a knife.”

Young people require informed guidance, to complement their experiences. Structured learning environments supposedly teach them to process information, arriving at the ability to make discriminating choices based on reason: to think. When they become adults themselves they should be have a proper framework of reference to make informed decisions, a mark of maturity. The opposite, inability to make reasoned, discriminating choices, is an attribute of immaturity.

Children practice making decisions, and sometimes get it wrong, so guidance is needed. If they are subjected to unthinking punishment, instead of reasoned guidance, it only leads to things like confusion, frustration, or worse. What kids learn from zero-tolerance is behavior by rote prescription – the guiding principle of leftist, statist thinking. Reasoning, or judgment, is reserved for the privileged in the statist paradigm dispensing with the need for individualism.

The immaturity of the above is displayed by the adults, and their misguided thought processes. It is misguided thinking that leads to errant policies. The school officials involved in that policy, whether from an elected board or hired hands, fail to allow for variations, or the judgment of individuals. It is statist thinking, whether for reasons of political correctness or unthinking conformity.

“How can one make sweeping political meaning of this, it’s just school policy that needs to be addressed?” says no one in particular. No, zero-tolerance epitomizes leftist ideology. It is the type of immaturity apparent in the Obama administration.
When Representative Eric Cantor first broached the subject of Republican input to legislation early in the new administration, Obama rebuffed him with “I won.” That set a tone, and must surely have startled Congressman Cantor.

The latest is an attack on Fox News, for failing to follow administration scripts. During the campaign, talk radio was assailed, and has not really abated. The Tea Parties elicited the comment from Obama “I don’t even know these people.” I am sure he was telling the truth, since in Obama’s whole life he has only dealt with like-minded leftists.

There has been a series of attacks on those who would stray from Obama’s March to Perfection program, from Humana’s efforts to mount a mail campaign to the public, now to the Chamber of Commerce, and in between health-care town-hallers, to Bush administration lawyers to the CIA.

The whole idea of our democratic republic is to entertain input from many different perspectives to arrive at reasoned, fully explored choices to act on. Legislative proposals that would affect everyone are floated abroad, to be discussed between individuals who then offer feedback to their elected representatives. Some degree of support emerges, which might include no action at all on a particular issue, a notion not considered by the current administration. This process requires individual expression – anathema to leftist thinking.

The administration view is statist and all that implies, which includes collectivist thought and behavior: do not deviate. Acceptance requires unerring obedience. In other words, commission of a crime is not required for severe punishment, deviation from policy is enough.

“No, no” says the un-embodied voice. “This is just a small matter at one small place, not a big philosophical deal. Besides, how do you go from a knife at school to national political schemes? That’s crazy!”

The connection exists. A large puzzle is made by interlocking many small parts that by themselves give little clue to the complete picture. The puzzle analogy serves the purpose of illustrating the need to maintain progress toward a collectivist philosophy by stealth in a nation of individualists.

Big macro-philosophical deals emanating from the bureaucratic culture, or big government, in turn create problems at the micro-level. Ideas given the force of law preclude deviation, or individual choice. You can’t have half-measures with the force of law; it is, or isn’t; it complies, or doesn’t, whether a school, factory, administrative area like a county, or a nation. Collectivism emanating from the top creates loss of individualism at the bottom, which is the point.

Collectivism, statism, can’t win in the US by the force of argument. Therefore, deception is necessary in oration by the chosen leader, and force is applied where possible to achieve the desired result of a small cadre of elitists.

Our system of governance should have continuity established by bedrock tradition. It is not supposed to be change built on a foundation of shifting sand, infatuation built on a cult of personality. Instead of a president, we have something more akin to a high-school prom king who is not bothered by human sacrifice.

The prom king Barack Obama was elected by supporters in his core constituency who share his beliefs. His closest advisors have been discovered to be fans of Mao, Castro, Hugo Chavez, and disciples of Marx. We must assume Obama agrees with them. He has done nothing in deeds to dispel that notion, only in words, and talk is cheap. So what are his supporters like? We look at that in the next essay.

Eddie Clements

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