In 2016 David Brooks wrote in the New York Times about the millennials’ turn to community and away from autonomy. There is a possibility, he wrote, that “our culture is built on some fundamental error about what makes people happy.” He was taken by the words of Sebastian Junger who wrote about native culture in his book “Tribe.” Natives from colonial times were more communal. Junger wrote “They would have practiced extremely close and involved child care. And they would have done almost everything in the company of others. They would have almost never been alone.”
Brooks concluded that it wouldn’t surprise him if in the coming decades there would be “an end to the apotheosis of freedom; more people making the modern equivalent of the Native American leap” (community).
I am glad that Brooks is promoting community values. But he is a day late and a dollar short because our society has been inundated by the words of intellectual, secular, Progressives, including Jon Stewart of Daily Show fame, Bill Maher and Jon Oliver and a plethora of pundits, who spend their time demeaning and denigrating religion and people who believe in God and the commandments to care for the other; who believe in and teach family values, the importance of community; who believe in “Communion.”
These self- appointed arbiters of proper lifestyle have gone out of their way along the road to political correctness nirvana, to turn God and religion into four-letter words and now Brooks is extolling the virtues of Native life of yore. Yet, like all who fall for the nostalgia for an idealized past after they have tried to destroy the present, he left out the Native past that included tribal warfare and a sense of superiority. “It was the norm for members of each tribe to consider themselves “the People” and everyone else something less.”
The irony of it all. He is in fact he is expressing a nostalgia for a lifestyle that we had, in America and Canada, before the intellectual, secular Progressives attacked religion and those of us who believe in a higher power, in the Judeo/Christian ethic that underpins our freedoms and concomitant responsibilities.
As I wrote in my book, Back to the Ethic: Reclaiming Western Values, When Alexis de Tocqueville was traveling through America, studying the revolutionary new society that had evolved there he discovered that religious leaders in the 1830’s were heavily involved in strengthening families, building communities, and starting charities. They inspired people to a sense of the common good, educating them in “habits of the heart,” and giving them what he called “their apprenticeship in liberty.” By keeping religion separate from the State, the Americans were enabling religion to be more influential than one would have thought. Religion was influential in America because of the separation of Church and State: because religion never got directly involved in politics and vice versa. In the United States religion exercised little influence on the laws and the details of public opinion but directed the customs of the community.
I wrote this as riots were taking place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This happened because a police officer shot and killed a black man. He had on him a stolen gun with 23 rounds of ammunition.
I heard the mayor of Milwaukee reach out to families and beg parents to call and send texts to their children who were rioting in the street; including torching a squad car and tossing a brick through the window of another; to come home. Stop the violence. Stop destroying your own communities. Businesses that burned included a BMO Harris branch, a BP gas station, an O’Reilly Auto Parts store and a beauty supply store.
Police were attacked by civilians. Shots were heard fired throughout the evening.
And I listened to pastors calling out to the young people to come home; to stop attacking the police and destroying property. Pastors who have, sadly, lost control over the neighbourhoods. Pastors who were the ones who taught community values and family values. No one listens. Why bother. The Progressives have turned our culture into one of entitlement instead of responsibility.
And now these Progressives want us to turn to the “community” values of Native Peoples, as if they were revolutionary, after these same secularists have gone out of their way to debase Judeo/Christian religious teachings that long ago espoused community values and continue to espouse, today.
I am gobsmacked!