Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Incarceration Nation (according to the Detroit Free Press)

The U.S. prison population, the world's largest, has grown nearly eightfold over the past 35 years and now costs taxpayers at least $60 billion a year. An eye-popping report released last week by the Pew Center on the States found that, for the first time, more than one in every 100 American adults is in jail or prison. And that figure doesn't count the hundreds of thousands of people who are on probation and parole.
What is the goal here? Is there a smarter way to get there? What are we as a society getting in return for all this money? What is this massive and growing penal system accomplishing?

This is from today's opinion page from the Detroit Free Press newspaper. There are lots of folks discussing this 'problem' in our country. And many of those speaking about ways to curb this situation are looking every which way but the right way to cure this problem. It's not hard - you take away the morals and values that most folks have lived by for centuries and what do you wind up with? Well, just look at today's society. That's what you end up with.

Please read the following I copied from a book by Juanita Leischt, a social historian of the Civil War era:

"Many modern Americans consider themselves to be 'basically good,' and do not spend time berating themselves for being 'sinful.' Americans of the mid-19th century might have disagreed. One key characteristic of mid 19th century Americans was an adherence to strict individual ethics. Most people lived their daily lives in constant confrontation with 'good' and 'evil.' Often, they had daily and personal involvement in religious practices.

Make no mistake, there was crime and unethical behavior in mid 19th century America. The difference between this culture and that of modern Americans lies not so much in what people actually did (and still do), but in what was expected of them. Americans were expected to have a well defined and consistent sense of right and wrong. From infancy, mid 19th century Americans were bombarded with moral teaching...children were taught that right was right, and wrong was wrong, even if wrong was done for a good cause. The lesson that ethics were absolute - and did not change depending on the situation - was applied in day-to-day lives of adults (and) children.
Another attitude shared by most mid 19th century Americans was the tendency to set very long-term goals, and to live life with those goals in mind. Religions emphasized the afterlife, and many Americans lived life with a view to their eternal future..."

It is my opinion that if we stressed the difference between right and wrong to our children at a young age - and we all know what is right and what is wrong - then maybe the figure quoted by the Free Press can become lower. Instead we get parents angry at the teacher for disciplining their uncontrollable child; we get folks who won't take responsibility for their actions; we get psychologist finding a "syndrome" for the way brats act instead of realizing that it usually only takes consistent punishments - not necessarily spanking, mind you - to help teach the child right from wrong; we get divorces galore - third and fourth marriages have become commonplace; we get knocked for our Christian morals, values, and standards; we get kids placed on medication for being out of control; we get the glowing rays of the tv, computer monitor, or the video games to babysit the kids...should I go on?
And yet, people are in denial in that the few things I listed could actually cure much of society's ills.
Oh, wait - I'm not an accredited anything - what do I know? Let's listen to the same people who global warming.
Folks, unless we collectively change the way we live our daily lives, this country has only seen the beginning of 'hell on earth.'


john said...

what exactly does global warming (a scientific fact denied by corporate greed mongers and their flunky paid a.m. radio jocks) have to do with the decline of morality in our society and the lack of discipline and parental upbringing of our wayward youth????

Historical Ken said...

Re: my opinion on global warming: you say it's a proven fact, I tend to disagree. Scientists are paid by the government. The government stands to make a whole lot of money and become even more Big Brother by instilling the fear of global warming. Why else would the scientists who are nay-sayers of global warming lose their federal funding?
And if the world really is warming, I highly doubt that it is caused by humans. I believe it's a natural phenomenon of the earth.
As for why I threw global warming in my blog: I was just making a point that there are certain folks who insist on running our lives, whether the fear-mongering of disciplining our children in a traditional sense or invading our daily lives through what I consider to be the unfounded fear of global warming.
It's my blog - I'm allowed.