Thoughts on Texas from a Former Teacher

F Sad Alone Depression Depressed Young Loneliness

Teens today have more resources than time to connect with others.

Friday’s tragedy in Santa Fe, Texas marks the seventh high school shooting in the United States in 2018, and the fall semester hasn’t even started. The uptick in school shootings provides only a snapshot of the broader cultural despair that drives many teens to violence and suicide.

While many Americans debate what can be done to stop the carnage, more should consider why it happens so frequently.

After the shooting, a friend asked me why President Donald Trump could not sign an executive order requiring schools to better protect students and more strictly regulate their entries and exits. After all, his job description includes protecting Americans from enemies foreign and domestic.

Tragedies often cause people to forget niceties like federalism and the rule of law.

Without knowing all the details at the time, I told him that states could at least require public schools to have armed resource officers.

But Santa Fe High School did have two school resource officers on duty who engaged the shooter and prevented him from killing more.

Currently, 20 percent of U.S. public schools have resource officers, and multiple times this year they have prevented school shootings from becoming more fatal. Limiting students’ access to one entrance would no doubt make their jobs easier.

But the American school shooting problem is cultural, and one that better policies and law enforcement can manage but never solve.

Yes, schools should have metal detectors.

Yes, schools should have one resource officer per so many students.

Yes, teachers should have the option to carry in the classroom — provided they are licensed and trained.

But teens are more innovative than people give them credit for; and while skilled Halo players are not the tactical equals of trained soldiers, they come close enough to overcome trivialities like armed guards, metal detectors, and tighter student access policies. These policy changes are needed, but without a cultural mending, they will only control the damage—never end it.

Any effort to address the surge in school shootings should look at the stressful demands that teens face, which leads many to pathological loneliness.

Recent health insurance data show that depression is rising dangerously among all age groups, but the 63 percent increase from 2013 to 2016 among teens accounts for the largest spike. Unlike adults, many teens become irritable rather than sad when they are depressed. This often masks their depression and allows them to continue their daily activities like attending school.

Although today’s teens have more resources at their disposal to connect with other people, the limited time they have prevents them from taking advantage of these constructively. As a result, they find themselves overwhelmed in an impossible attempt to fulfill the social demands they face.

On the one hand, they feel that they must meet the demand of their peers by cultivating an image and building a following on social media. On the other, their parents and teachers — who come from a different century — still hold the same academic and extracurricular expectations that their parents and teachers held for them when they were in school.

But just as the rapidly changing economy negates the former truth that a good education guarantees a good job, a strong social media presence does not guarantee school popularity. Teens’ inability to excel at both, and the half dozen other tasks that society expects of them, often drive them to sacrifice the grades for the status.

Others give up on winning friends and exhaust themselves trying to make straight A’s, thinking their social fortunes will improve if they get into their dream college. This, in turn, drives them to an unhealthy scholastic perfectionism and isolation.

In “The Age of Loneliness,” George Monbiot observes that isolation “enhances the risk of depression, paranoia, addiction, cognitive decline, dementia, heart disease, stroke, viral infection, accidents, and suicide.” It drives premature death as surely as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

A recent study by psychologist Jean Twenge found a sharp correlation between social media screen time and the rise in teen suicide.

Teens today spend on average nine hours a day on social media. According to the nonprofit Common Sense Media, fifty percent admit to feeling addicted to social platforms.

The expectation that everyone should be a well-rounded achiever, coupled with the online expectations of peers, drives many teens to loneliness—a loneliness many drown in social media, video games, addictions, and — for some — violence against themselves or others.

American society once had churches, social clubs, neighbors — communities — to whom to turn in time of need. For many, social media have replaced these bastions of mentorship on which previous generations of teens relied. While social media can provide a temporary rush of companionship and feeling of popularity, gaining cyber friends and followers often fails to translate to empathetic relationships between people who are genuinely there for each other.

Emotion: The Deciding Factor in the Gun Debate

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“Am I next?”

The sign taped to the front of a stroller in which a cute, innocent toddler sat, pushed by her activist father on 18th Street NW, in Washington, DC., relayed a sense of urgency. Is clinging to guns really worth having the blood of that sweet, little, blue-eyed girl on your hands? Guns kill. Supporting their availability makes you an accomplice to murder.

The anti-Second Amendment demonstrations across the country on Saturday presented another example of the Left’s acute awareness of the power of emotion in human action. From an intellectual standpoint, classical liberalism and the 20th-century conservatism that carried its mantle are far superior to Marxism, Progressivism, or any left-leaning ideology that seeks to improve the human condition through government. But people rarely make spiritual, amorous, or ideological decisions based on intellectualism. Intellectualism serves a long-term purpose, but in the realm of politics, it’s nearly useless. The Left gets this, and that’s why it wins politically far more often than the Right.

As great as it would be to focus on policy from a strictly philosophical perspective, maintaining that idealism against those who cast political victory in terms of light and darkness—good and evil—life and death—means perpetual drubbing at the polls, and, dare I appeal to emotionalism? the loss of constitutional rights.

The National Rifle Association understands these stakes and has adapted its strategy accordingly. Its propaganda campaign that it rolled out after President Donald Trump’s election with Dana Loesch casts the Second Amendment debate in exactly those terms. Are the stakes really that high at this point? Of course not! Is the NRA appealing to emotion over reason? You betcha! But failing to do so equals bringing a butter knife to a gunfight (no pun intended).

The Right has more cause to cast this debate in terms of life and death and the survival of American civilization than the Left. Think of all the underage girls that will be raped because authoritarians decided to deprive their families of the right to keep and bear arms. Think of the children that will die defenseless in classrooms because their teacher couldn’t legally acquire a gun. Think of the babies shot through the neck in their mothers’arms by psychopaths because the lady that would have saved their lives could not legally obtain a firearm; and therefore, could only watch helplessly while the killer completed his work.

Ridiculous analogies, many would say. Those who want common sense gun control don’t want to take people’s right to self-defense away from them. Handguns will still be legal!

But do those 16-year-olds, who will vote in 2020 and every election thereafter, who are demonstrating against guns in general, even know what laws are on the books already? Do they care? They’ve been brainwashed to be anti-gun, not anti-rifle. Besides, the gun-grabbers abroad have already shown that they won’t stop until it’s almost impossible to obtain any firearm.

We certainly need to revamp civics and history instruction in schools so that future voters will understand the value of a constitutional democracy and why an assault on the Second Amendment would imperil every freedom. But that’s a long-term project. In the short-term, gun-grabbers need a good beating at the polls; and the only way to do that is to emotionally convince voters that those kids and their plump, professional handlers marching in the streets threaten their children’s life and liberty.

From Ignorance to Anarchy; from Anarchy to Tyranny

Crossposted from CapitalResearch.org

Image via Intellihub, goo.gl/bzD5TD

Abraham Lincoln addressed the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois on the subject of mob violence in 1838, in what many regard as the best speech of his pre-presidential career:

At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? …Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant . . . to crush us at a blow? Never! . . . I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us.

I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the growing disposition to substitute . . . passions, in lieu of the sober judgment of Courts; and the worse than savage mobs, for the executive ministers of justice.

Political mob violence from the American Left has spiked in the past year and is now becoming nearly as common as Kim Jong-un’s threats. But, what should be even more concerning is the fact that a growing number of young, college-educated adults see nothing wrong with using violence to vent their frustrations with political or judicial outcomes, or silence speech they find offensive.

recent survey by John Villasenor, who is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a professor at UCLA revealed that one in five undergraduate students believes it’s okay to use physical force against speakers who say “offensive and hurtful” things. The survey showed that party affiliation is virtually even, with 22 percent of self-identified Republican students support using violence as opposed to 20 percent of Democrats. The percentage is significantly higher among male students (30 percent) compared to female students (10 percent). Most troubling however, is that nearly 40 percent of students polled believe that the First Amendment doesn’t cover “hate speech.”

Many college students and their unenrolled, radical allies have recently proven that these aren’t just opinions they keep to themselves. Security measures to protect a recent event at the University of California, Berkeley where conservative commentator Ben Shapiro spoke, cost $600,000.  “If you’re going to blame me for the $600,000 in spending on security … you’re all Keynesians,” Shapiro said in his opening remarks, referring to the economist, John Maynard Keynes who inspired much of the New Deal. “Think of all the jobs I just created.”

Street violence and rampant vandalism followed the acquittal of a police officer in St. Louis, on September 15, who had shot and killed a suspected drug dealer during a police chase. Protesters, claiming the shooting was racially-motivated, refused to accept the jury’s verdict. For three straight nights, they rioted,  breaking store windows and throwing rocks, concrete, and chemicals at police. The officers arrested hundreds, including a masked individual waving an anarchist flag while he watched fellow protesters wreak havoc on local shops. The individual was armed with a handgun, a sword, and protective gear. Another individual with masks, guns, and drugs drove his car at a high speed into another motorist.

While anarchists destroyed property and attacked law enforcement in St. Louis on Monday, protesters at Georgia Tech University attacked campus police, putting two officers in the hospital and torching a police car. The Georgia Tech mob was protesting the killing of a suicidal student who had charged campus police with a knife.

Shortly after President Donald Trump’s election, CRC began covering this disturbing trend on the Left to resort to violence with “America Under Siege: Civil War,” the first part in a series produced by CRC’s film wing. The film exposed through undercover footage of groups like #J20, how Leftist protesters planned to disrupt the inauguration by blockading roads and public transit to prevent people from attending.

The growing frequency of leftist violence shows a similar pattern to lone-wolf Islamic terrorism. As youth become radicalized, they see others with similar beliefs carrying out acts of violence and then assume that the righteousness of their cause legitimizes it – a phenomenon experts call “terror contagion.”

As I wrote in August about the rise of Antifa, a loosely-knit group of Leftist street thugs who violently attack anyone who disagrees with them, much of the violent reaction of the Left has arisen because seasoned liberals, who should have been more responsible, have characterized President Trump and many on the Right in general as having fascist tendencies. But, entertainers and the overwhelmingly left-leaning media don’t carry most of the blame. Many university professors, following in the tradition of Howard Zinn, have successfully convinced students that the United States is an illegitimate country with a shameful history. Many left-leaning professors are now realizing they have created an intersectional monster that even they can no longer control.

Like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which long ago ran out of legitimate hate groups to harass, these radicalized Leftists, bereft of actual Nazis to fight, have begun to bite the hand that fed them as they seek to root out anyone who is not sufficiently “woke.”

Traditional, left-of-center media outlets have only belatedly begun to realize the danger to democracy that these types of protestors pose. Referring to the verbal attacks that Evergreen State College students hurled at former Bernie Sanders supporter, Professor Bret Weinstein Bari Weiss wrote in the New York Times: “[They] will make anyone who believes in the liberalizing promise of higher education quickly lose heart.” Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough spent a full seven minutes ripping Antifa on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” after masked members of the group attacked peaceful conservative marchers in California. And even the Washington Poston Tuesday called the Villasenor survey “a chilling study.”

The growing acceptance of violence in reaction to unfavorable speech and political and judicial outcomes poses a serious threat to the American system of government. If the country’s university system teaches future American leaders that the nation’s Founders were irremediably racist and evil, they will naturally want nothing to do with a system of government that those individuals established.

The next episode in Capital Research Center’s “America Under Siege” series, “Antifa,” will premiere on September 25th at Milo Yiannopoulos’s Free Speech Week at UC Berkeley and will stream for free on our YouTube channel and at DangerousDocumentaries.com.

Watch the trailer here:

Nationalism is the Future of the Republican Party

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Ronald Brownstein’s recent article in the Atlantic reveals that millennial, Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson is losing faith in her party because of its growing nationalist wing. The cause for Anderson’s growing disillusion is real and reveals a genuine shift in the power behind the GOP. Instead of fearing and fighting the awakening giant of nationalism though, Anderson and others should embrace it in a way that doesn’t compromise their values.

Anderson is a very adept young woman who managed to strike success in Washington D.C. while still in college and is part of the millennial wave of data miners — or “data dummies” as Van Jones called them, over the perception that they remain aloof from personal voter connection—who view themselves as the future of political management. She worked for eight years with the D.C.-based opinion research and communications firm The Winston Group before co-founding Echelon Insights. After Barack Obama destroyed Mitt Romney with Millennials in 2012 (which cost Romney the election), Anderson helped formulate a guideplan on what the Republican Party needed to do to capture the Millennial vote in the future. In 2015, she released a book along the same lines: The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials are Leading America (and How Republicans Can Keep Up).

Anderson says she arrived on the right of the political spectrum after a history teacher in high school taught her class about the Cold War. “You had these examples of countries where the government had tried to manage the economy really intensely and it ended up being bad for the citizens there,” she said. “I found myself beginning to lean more right on economic issues.”

But, when Obama captured the imagination of the overwhelming majority of Millennial voters in 2008, Anderson, like many right-leaning millennials made the mistake of thinking that if only the GOP turned more leftward on social issues it could cut into the Democratic Party’s gains with young voters. This was the basis of the post-mortem guideplan: Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation, which was based on polling and a number of post-election focus groups with millennial voters. When asked what came to mind when they thought of the Republican Party, one group of young, “winnable” Obama voters in January 2013, replied with words like “racist, rigid, and old-fashioned.”

Anderson sees the growing ethnic diversity in America as a prime reason why the GOP must change its tactics and even modify its message. Romney won the white Millennial vote by seven percentage points but lost the overall millennial vote by 23 points. Part of the reason for this is that more than 40 percent of the Millennial population is non-white. Furthermore, most of the Millennials that voted in the 2012 election leaned liberal on social and domestic issues like immigration, marriage, federalism, and government involvement in healthcare.

One key point though about the 2013 guideplan, or any political guideplan formed post-election, is voter turnout. The groups sampled were all voters in the 2012 election. Nearly half of eligible Millennial voters didn’t vote, which is not uncommon for the under-30 demographic in any presidential election. In 2016, Trump managed to galvanize millions of Americans who have either never voted or haven’t voted in years out of frustration with their options. Many of these voters were Millennials in middle America who either stayed home in 2012 or were too young to vote then.

While it’s true that the millennial generation is more liberal than their parents and grandparents’ generations, much of that is circumstantial. Millennials, more than previous generations have been through a college education system that is ideologically geared toward churning out liberal foot soldiers. They also came of age during the worst recession since the Great Depression—a recession overseen by a Republican administration. Most also had greater aspirations for themselves and their country than spending trillions of dollars and thousands of lives, fighting endless wars to spread democracy. They overwhelmingly depart with the conventional, Cold War foreign policy that John McCain and Mitt Romney offered.

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Another factor to consider is that voters born after 1996, known as Generation Z could tend to be more conservative than millennials.

Professor Jeff Brauer of Keystone College, who has studied the political habits of this up-and-coming generation believes that unlike Millennials who mostly assimilated into the Democratic Party, Gen Z-ers tend to resemble libertarians or socially moderate fiscal conservatives.

There are several reasons for this generation being more conservative than the last. Part of it is the gig and freelance economy that has given them an entrepreneurial spirit that many millennials were only forced to discover as a means to pay off their college debt before they retire. According to Forbes, 77 percent Gen Z-ers earn their own spending money by doing“freelance work, a part-time job, or earned an allowance.”

Furthermore, these people have grown up on the internet and are much more likely to research an issue themselves and form their own opinion rather than take the word of a professor, politician, media pundit, or their favorite comedian. They also grew up under the unbelievably dull and economically-stagnating administration of the first minority president. So, all this millennial nonsense about white privilege kind of falls flat.

Last, but not least, they’ve gotten a front row seat to the decline and fall of what was once the world’s greatest university system. Most Gen Z-ers are not too anxious to go tens of thousands of dollars in debt to hear some aging hippie rant against his or her country’s history and tout the values of socialism, without at least being guaranteed a decent-paying job upon graduation.

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Anderson wonders “whether Donald Trump’s GOP has a place for people like her, who want a party that marries support for less government and robust national defense with a commitment to racial and social inclusion.” The problem though is that there aren’t enough Americans that want that policy combination to win a presidential election. That was proven in 2008 and 2012. Anderson and her fellow “moderates” got the candidates they wanted in John McCain and Mitt Romney and Obama drubbed them both.

When one side gets its teeth kicked in twice in a row, it usually helps to find reinforcements the next time around–which is exactly what Trump did in 2016. He tapped into the silent, frustrated American majority that cares a lot more about rising healthcare premiums and economic opportunity for American citizens than statements or shows of racial and social inclusion. The overwhelming majority of voters on the right wanted a president who was going to put the country first at home and abroad, uphold the rule of law (i.e. crack down on border security and deport illegal immigrants), and stop trying to turn the U.S. into a social experiment.

Most people who want the government to make a big deal about racial and social inclusion also want a government that will commit to providing free college tuition, debt forgiveness, and free healthcare for all. The coalition that Anderson wants simply doesn’t exist.

According to Brownstein, she doesn’t want to join the Democrats but is open to a potential third party with the Republican policies in the mold of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

In 2016, the U.S. got the third way it had been craving for a long time. Trump is hardly a conservative. For many years, he supported Democrats. He is the most fiscally liberal Republican president since Theodore Roosevelt and he trounced Hillary Clinton with Independents. He was practically an independent that took over the Republican Party.

Anderson is disappointed that only one-in-four Republicans disagree with Trump’s response to Charlottesville. The shocker should be that a quarter of Republicans bought the media lie that Trump made a moral equivalence between fascists and anti-fascists. He didn’t. He made a moral equivalency in the violence perpetrated by both sides, which as dozens of videos on YouTube show, the leftist protesters started.

Moderation and ethnic inclusion are not antithetical to nationalism. The reason the nation is seeing such a rise in ethnic separatism and white nationalism is because the Republican Party and the conservative movement as a whole have failed to forge an American nationalism that unites all patriotic citizens. In one of the New York Times’ recent attempts to discover whether Trump is an actual racist, Katrina Pierson, a black lady who was a spokeswoman for the Trump presidential campaign summed up this concept fantastically:

“Just because you’re a nationalist and you’re white doesn’t make you a white nationalist. Putting Americans first makes you a nationalist and in that case, I’m a nationalist. I think we should take care of our families and our children first.”

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Mankind is nationalistic by nature. The growing nationalism of Americans that found a voice in Donald Trump is not old or dying out—it’s growing stronger. The Democratic Party has already picked the politics of tribalism over Americanism and the Republican Party won’t win any brownie points from voters if it tries to keep playing sidekick to the DNC’s ideals. People on the right aren’t going to support a party that just wants to lower the top income tax rate from 39 to 35 percent and pour another billion dollars into a bloated military. If it weren’t for the appeal of nationalism, Hillary Clinton would be president and the Republicans would be in the minority in Congress. If for no other reason that shows that nationalism is the future of the GOP.