Jennifer Weil | Writer and Actress
 

Thoughts

For today, February 15, 2018

Someone I know and admire suggests teaching gun safety to children. That is not a bad idea, however, it would not have helped in the latest school massacre. Nice Valentine's Day Gift: twenty dead on a high school campus, shot by one of their own; others expected to die, others to have permanent injuries (not including the indelible psychological scars).  Seems the shooter knows very well how to use guns, lots of them. His skill is not in question, but his mind surely is.

I'm a Second Amendment loyalist, with an exception or two UNLESS and UNTIL our society returns to some moral compass. Morality will not by itself prevent aberrations from exercising their insanity, but it will help. It's a sobering fact that when you and I were growing up, mass school shootings did not happen. Nor did major massacres in churches or marathons or malls or the military. We know that outlawing guns will simply make outlaws more powerful and society less able to defend against them. Nonetheless, when a society has lost its foundations, is teetering on the edge of suicide by abnegation of its focus on an ethos that guides and is subscribed to by the majority, that society will die. Major norms retrenchment is the solution, which  takes time, which isn't good enough for the twitchy-brained progressives who think they can change minds by changing laws. They justify such reactions because they are "doing something," which in turns justifies their cushy jobs.

Civilization relies upon individual civility, which precludes intolerance of those with whom we disagree, which precludes  impulsive responses to deeply rooted sickness, and which precludes the idea that we can make people perfect. The concept of human perfection is one that humans far smarter than I have debated since the days when we could do more than grunt, so there is no point in a morning reflection to diving head first and blindfolded into that philosophical beaker.

My proposal for the immediate future is to do something I generally find futile and feckless, as we have so many laws already: legislation that makes it a criminal offense for anyone under the age of twenty-one to own a gun. We could put a handle on it: Don't Drink and Don't Shoot. If our society wants to address the myriad ways that its foundations are crumbling, it--we--might start teaching parents that their children are their responsibility, that they as parents are the authority in the household until their children leave home, and that they would do well to take classes wherever and however they can on how to be consistent in the rearing of their offspring. I would even consider a tax credit for parents who take such courses not taught by progressives but by experts in child development and self-management. To refine this idea further, such classes must teach that actions have consequences and that those consequences are not equivocal. Parents must be willing, uncomfortable as it may make them, to bear the anger of their children's rebellion against the restraints placed upon them; they must be willing to be, as many good parents through the ages have been, unpopular and deemed "square," "out of it," "stupid," "unfair," and the like. They must, in short, be willing to be unpopular with their offspring while they, the parents, go about the difficult task of raising their children into well-disciplined social beings, not wild animals.

Something is rotten in the state of our state, and unless we are all to perish in acts resulting from a chaos born of weak wills and disordered thinking, we must look to the ultimate source of the problem: the baby-makers' abandonment of rules, common sense, and courage, the courage both to resist the manipulation of their children and to resist the muddying of society's rules. Abandonment leads to erosion and decay. Welcome to the malaise of our society in this year of our Lord, 2018.

PREVIOUSLY:

Jennifer doing yoga on Mt Whitney"Trust me," says the chameleon. 

"In what shall I trust?"

"What you see."

"Ah. Then I trust that you will constantly change, and so, trusting your true colors, I trust you will understand that I reject your invitation to trust you."

Some changes inspire no hope. Not ranting, just sighing from the bottom of my feet.  But it's a very loud sigh. The complexities of a life made "simpler" by technology consume too much time, leaving too little to examine the serious issues of the day. Kafka would laugh, perhaps smugly.

Today, I have this to say: If conflict is necessary, if creative tension drives any relationship to its elastic best, then people should fight gloriously over things that matter, not waste the elegant, sophisticated art of battle on petty topics. Start a war worth fireworks and resolution. Armistice will substitute one kind of arms for another.

Second: I still believe the United States Constitution is an extraordinary document; in the small collection of writings divinely inspired, it has a prominent if not preeminent place.  Over the last two (and maybe more) generations, its teachings have been watered-down by revisionists or ignored entirely.  No wonder our elected officials dispense so lightly with them.  If the price of freedom is eternal, most of its keepers are sleeping at the post.  "Gimme" is another way of saying "What's yours is mine."  The government turns "gimme" into "Here it is" by taking it from other people. In any other arena of society, we call that stealing.  I guess now you're entitled to it, even if you didn't earn it, manage it, or consider what other good it might do in the world if the folks who did those things were allowed to keep it and put it to those good uses? I don't think so. Check this out:  The official "Who is John Galt? movie site: http://www.WhoIsJohnGalt.com. Rand was a mortal, not a goddess; but she was prescient.

I suspect my existential angst plagued me all the way back in the womb, and since wisdom and experience prove nothing is permanent, there is cause for both despair and hope. Everything changes one way or the other;  everyone knows that.  How things change--over that we humans may hold some power.  I think if we float on that conviction, we do right by taking vitamins, buying cosmetics, and going to the gym.  They are the actions of optmistic realists.

They also nurture the internal Peter Pan whom I, alas or hurray,  admit to harboring.