Monday, April 23, 2007

even some liberals get it!

By the week's end, even the Canadian commentariat was acknowledging by its silence that it could neither explain the tragedy nor convincingly blame anybody.
But this is most distressing for them, because along with their new secular society comes the implicit offer: "We will keep you safe in this brave new world, and all social problems will be solved." At Virginia Tech, they didn't, and they weren't. Nor, barring a massive change in societal attitudes, does it ever seem likely.
This thesis was lucidly set forth by a single commentator, and a most improbable one. The experts of our technologically advanced society, he wrote, have proven "ineffective in the crucial task of protecting the community from danger, compared to less professional players of earlier eras: family, friends, community, religion. These societies seemed better than ours at containing the violent, archaic impulses of individuals."
Their control "was based on an entire social fabric that was hierarchical and patriarchal. It included a religion institutionalized in churches and a moral code that tolerated sex within narrow limits. Parental authority was backed by religion (honor thy parents) and by sanctions such as the threat of hell."
"All this was internalized in a sense of guilt and shame over violations. There was reverence for country and a sense of debt to those who died in war 'for us.' There was a penal code that didn't stand much tinkering in the name of civil rights." Great wars provided an outlet for suppressed violence. Lynching was "institutionalized." Even "dissenters – artists, rebels, etc. – could feel a certain security that their acts would not lead to total social breakdown and chaos, frightening even to themselves."
That by-gone society, without doubt, would have blamed Cho himself for the slaughter, attributing it to a single cause: human evil. And that society "worked." What we're doing now may not.
And who was this singular spokesman? Not some rabid, rightwing traditionalist (like, say, me), but none other than Globe and Mail columnist Rick Salutin: ex-Marxist labor union leader and long-time voice of the left. What strange bedfellows these tragic and changing times do make.

The above commentary comes from a column written by Ted Byfield, and can be found at

It's always thrilling to me when a liberal is able to see a glimmer of truth.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Counter