Monday, November 3, 2014

A Key Election Issue: What Is Love

As we enter crunch time, three candidates for the local school board were present at the coffee shop.  For the most part their concerns were about the efficiency of the board: they would bring needed business experience to improve bus services, reduce capital costs, and generally ensure money is spent wisely.  I couldn’t argue with that.  But I didn’t think those things were the key issue in our school system.
I offered to these talented people a quote from the Wall Street Journal this morning.  A recent poll showed that over 50% of young adults under the age of 30 favor a socialistic form of government, and an even greater portion thought capitalism was an evil.  For the group who had been discussing the values of the hard work they were bringing to the table, they had no insights into what is being taught in our schools:  hard work is not a virtue.  Working to get what you want is not a priority.  The government should give us what we want.
That same article noted that using the definition of dire poverty as making less than $1.25/day, the number of people in dire poverty in the world --- nearly 1 billion in 1990 --- has been reduced by more than 60%, a huge amount of progress, and the reduction is largely documented and attributed to the spread of capitalism.  I suspect that fact won’t be taught in our schools.  It almost seems funny to me how our school systems can teach the evils of American soldiers who killed native Americans, and the American policies which in WWII and even today lead to bombings of innocents around the world, yet these same schools encourage the giving of even more power to the government ---- “so it can do good things for people.”  Clearly the government has demonstrated that it is inefficient at doing anything well, so why would you want to expand the things it is supposed to do?  But that is the big picture evolving from our schools, and what our young people come away believing, but I think there is also a smaller picture, and a more personal one.
Kids are being taught to care about other kids, to an extreme and without limits.  Christians might view this as a good thing:  Love Your Neighbor.  But while young kids are taught how to put a condom on a cucumber by the 4th grade, they are not taught virtues, and certainly not the meaning of love.  Love is not sex, nor are sexual acts “making love.”  Love is a giving of yourself to another; it is a very personal thing.  I see a lot of young people volunteering to help others; I personally funded a high school graduate to spend a year in Africa, helping the poor.  Those are good things; those are things done with love.  But those same young people are being taught that when they get on with the rest of their lives, a large portion of “loving your neighbor” should be passed on to the government, which represents them.  They are missing a key point:  a government cannot love anyone, and it can’t act with love, and people who benefit from government largesse don’t feel loved.  You can’t delegate your responsibility to love your neighbor.
A recent newspaper headline read:  “X makes more money that Y, but pays lower taxes.”  What an evil man X is, was the intended message.  In the body of the article, however, were data noting that X made most of his money from investments in businesses, which are taxed at a lower rate because these investments help the economy --- helping people --- and that X donated more than ten times the amount of money to charity than Y did.  The headline implied X was bad because he had not paid more money to the government, which it also implied would do good things with the money.  But X DID good things with his money; he did those good things himself.  He loved his neighbor directly, ones he saw who needed his help through a good use of the money he earned, not through an inefficient government.  X was portrayed as evil for loving his neighbor, but I don’t think most people saw that subtle message.  They had been not taught to see the value of getting and using money wisely.  They had not been taught the real definition of love.
That is the key failing of our public school systems, and no one even sees it as an issue except perhaps those parents who continue to leave the public school systems for the private.  And public school administrators and teachers can’t seem to understand, in part I suspect because of what they also never learned.   They ask for better pay and better benefits so they can teach children their values, or lack of them. 
The documented results demonstrate their failures.  Young people think socialism is good; they never really learned the facts about how it has failed in the past, and the hundreds of millions who died under this “caring form of government.”

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