Reading Right Now

I do not believe education or legislation or disbanding the common security forces can touch the social issues afflicting our poor nation now. At least, no one means will fully address, let alone solve, the cultural distress felt by persons of various races.

Education can help. I am reading and even rereading these books right now:

Arguing About Slavery by William Lee Miller

The Road to Disunion Volumes I and II by William H. Freehling

Becoming Lincoln by William H. Freehling

Granted, these are each volumes of several hundreds of pages each. Each one describes racial issues from 1787 through 1865. If you bother to read them (unlikely) the tensions they describe, along with the prescribed solutions once offered (any of which might have freed the slaves and prevented the American Civil War) read like a description of our American streets today.

The conversations we are supposed to have these days to help us listen to each other are mostly useless. I am sorry to tell you but listening is what you do when you don’t know what to do, in the same way testing is what you do for a virus when you don’t have a cure, or even a preventive.

Our current conversations are useless because they are uninformed. Education in the form of historical information, properly understood, can help us have a conversation today. I know this because I do not hear a member of the persecuted caste go into a tale of current distress for two sentences before he will say, “What is going on now has been going on for 200 years.”

Education can help. To help, the education we receive must be historically accurate.

Legislation can help but should be limited in scope. In the 1960’s we used to hear that we could not change anyone’s heart by changing the laws regarding segregation. The reasoning was no one could come up with a law sufficient to make one person love another person.

No law can change a heart. However, laws can be enacted to enable all persons in a nation to go to a decent school, have access to decent housing and, most important in a Democratic Republic, to vote. America has this legislation in place now. New legislation enacted to address the passions of the moment may make their promoters feel better, but legislation invariably tugs along unintended consequences in its wake.

More legislation means more enforcement. To heap more legislation on top of societal castes woefully ignorant of the national history, combined with the atrocious idea to abolish enforcement entities is reasonably certain to bring on the apocalypse.

So, carry on your conversations. Do your listening if it makes you feel better. Mingle with other well intentioned persons of various castes.

Covertly, steal a few hours each week to educate yourself on the history of the subject. Take a look at the periods in our history when people actually thought government could settle controversies, only to be disappointed. We live in a day wherein we are so intellectually vacant we believe more government pumping out more pages of legislation can actually solve problems. Sadly, this has been tried and tried and failed and failed.

Meaningful education, limited legislation, efficient enforcement; we need them all just to settle the controversy. To solve the problem, well, that is another topic for another day.

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