The Advent shootings at Sandy Hook School shocked the country’s conscience, and the grief that followed was genuine and widespread. However, by virtually unanimous consent, one primordial cause of the massacre has been conveniently kept from public view. Instead, we’ve gotten propaganda. For the Left, after all, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, and Nancy Pelosi always seizes an opportunity.
But first, she must also change the vocabulary. It has worked before. The Rubble fondly recalls how Pelosi, once a “liberal,” has quietly become a “progressive.” After all, “liberal” is so passé (and unpopular). But never fear, NewSpeak rules. After all, “suction and curettage” is now “evacuation of uterine contents.” That worked, didn’t it?
Well, Pelosi the Progressive now employs similar sleight-of-hand with the unpopular term “gun control.” Apparently “control” too strongly bears the stench of a bootjack government. So Pelosi now champions “gun violence prevention” — which for all practical purposes means gun prevention.
Pelosi doesn’t have to worry about protection. As House Minority Leader, she is surrounded by heavily-armed guards 24-7. Within days of becoming Speaker in January 2007, she commandeered “regular military flights not only for herself and her staff, but also for relatives and for other members of the California delegation,” reported the Washington Times. Ah, “TSA for you, but not for me.” But Mrs. Pelosi is a fine Catholic grandmother, so all that idle chitchat should go down the Memory Hole.
And it has, which is fine with me, because Pelosi’s profligacy merely masks her metaphysical treachery: an ardent supporter of government funding of every perversion imaginable, her new campaign of deception denies a fundamental rule of rationality — cause and effect.
That rule has been out of fashion in recent years, but scholars like Mary Eberstadt and Patrick Fagan have very effectively brought it to bear on our current ills. Their work traces the decline of our culture and the rise of violence and crime to a widely-neglected cause: the birth-control pill and its spawn – illegitimacy, poverty, failure in school, failure at work, and, all too often, crime and incarceration.
“There can be no doubt that, on the whole, [that] the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s improved the quality of life for most Americans,” brays David Allyn, a self-appointed “expert on the 1960s.” Fortunately, Mrs. Eberstadt wrote her book, Adam and Eve After the Pill, specifically and amply to demonstrate that “such benign renditions of the story of the sexual revolution are wrong.”
Is Abandonment Benign?
For the past month, Americans have been fed a “benign rendition” of the Sandy Hook shootings. Searching for “causes,” countless news reports tell of the “amicable divorce” of Adam Lanza’s parents three years ago, and quickly shift the focus to his mother’s gun collection. These accounts omit a salient factor that Eberstadt and Fagan would quickly recognize: only a few sources, which the Rubble has independently confirmed, have reported that Adam’s father, Peter Lanza, left home eleven years ago and moved in with his girlfriend, whom he eventually married ten years later.
This casts an entirely new light on the life of the “introverted teen with Asperger’s Syndrome.” Adam was not seventeen when Peter Lanza abandoned his family; Adam was nine years old. For any boy to watch helplessly as his father jilts his mother and runs off with another woman, the experience is traumatic. For the already-troubled Adam Lanza, who had to grow into adolescence and puberty and young adulthood without a father in the home, it was simply devastating.
And there’s more: like the mass shooter at Aurora, Colorado, Adam was taking a cocktail of behavior-modifying prescription drugs, a popular and often vile practice, especially targeting boys. Sure, his mother apparently tried her best to be a substitute dad, taking her sons to the firing range — a “guy” thing. Alas, feminist ideology to the contrary, moms can’t be dads.
America’s popular culture today is infested by a cancer of denial, which has metastasized to infect virtually every walk of life. Truths of all kinds are denied: The family is central to civilization; modesty befits the young (and the old); putting women on naval vessels and gays on submarines invites disaster; illegitimacy breeds failure; “feeling good” is not an education; boys should be boys, not drugged; you can’t spend more than you make; and desire for unlimited power is a deadly sin, not a Cardinal Virtue.
Like Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, our culture denies these truths, emitting instead a stream of “benign renditions.” Many actually swallow them whole. Why? Eberstadt blames “cognitive dissonance”; Orwell calls it DoubleThink. The result is the pretense of compassion, cheap camouflage for contempt for the truth – especially for any revelations of the disasters caused by liberals gaily chasing their ideological rainbows.
As our beloved Joe Sobran noted with an arched eyebrow, the truths that are most often ignored are those that loom large right before our eyes. In Adam Lanza’s case, no one points to the tragic facts of his home life; why, his parents had an “amicable” divorce, didn’t they? (The sad and simple fact is, they didn’t divorce until 2009 because Mrs. Lanza had Multiple Sclerosis, and her husband’s insurance covered it).
The salient fact that divorce is a disaster, so central to the Newtown tragedy, is unspoken precisely because it is so widespread. In fact, moral squalor has become the “new real” for most Americans. Hence, our culture of self-indulgence and diversity is no longer permitted to distinguish right from wrong. In order to perpetuate the resulting ignorance, government institutions, especially schools, have followed the prescription identified by Hannah Arendt: “The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.”
Where Is The Church?
This past week the website of the U.S. bishops’ conference featured an article by Thomas Melady, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. Melady’s findings, based on the latest U.S. Census, confirm Eberstadts’ and Fagan’s: “more than half of related children under six in families with a female householder were in poverty,” he writes. “This statistic is four and a half times the percentage of children under the age of six in poverty within married coupled families.
“The story worsens when you consider race,” he continues. “African American children are among the largest race group facing child poverty; their rate is 38.2 percent, twice as high as the rate for white children.”
Clearly the situation is dire. What to do? Melady: churches and the media must “awaken [Americans] with these facts” and strive to “eradicate in our lifetime poverty among children in the United States.” Dr. Melady suggests various programs, supported by both charities and government, to address child hunger.
What is missing? Yes, Dr. Melady recognizes the fact that single-parent homes wallow in poverty, and that African-American homes are most hard-hit; but he fails altogether to identify the primary causes – divorce, abandonment, and illegitimacy. Race has little to do with it; where abandonment rates are highest, poverty is highest, regardless of race: it’s that simple.
When he promulgated Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI predicted everything that Dr. Melady properly laments. But Humanae Vitae contains not only the analysis, but the solution — not only to poverty but to the moral collapse of our society. Why can’t the Church confront this crisis head-on – not with programs, but with the truth?
Last year Cardinal Dolan lamented that for fifty years our bishops haven’t been teaching the Church’s truths on sexual morality. We should applaud his candor and promise our prayerful support for his efforts to turn that around. Yes, cognitive dissonance reigns supreme in our culture, but there’s no reason why Catholics should succumb to it.