The mandates “everyone must get along and must approve of everyone else!” and “we must protect everyone from everything!” are the new Two Commandments which have replaced the old Ten.
The problem is human beings, by their very nature, from all of history, everywhere in the world, don’t get along.
And the problem is nobody can protect everyone from everything–life is full of unstoppable dangers and unpreventable risks and unavoidable pain.
Anyone who has raised toddlers, or parented several small children, understands these realities.
But somehow our elites and social rule-makers haven’t gotten the message.
Natural Born Fighters
It is human nature to be in conflict with ourselves, with others, and with authority.
We want opposite things at the very same time.
We vacillate, change our mind, or suddenly change direction–and expect everyone to instantly and gracefully accept it.
We demand our own way by default, and throw temper tantrums and lash out at others who block our demands.
Compliance lasts only as long as it’s advantageous to comply or when authority figures are watching.
From time immemorial, parents have cried out, “Stop fighting and get along!” to siblings fighting a low-grade war for attention or a high-grade war over colliding wills.
Every parent has heard the cry, “It’s not fair!” and “They started it!” and “It’s all their fault!”–usually by the actual aggressor.
Every parent has told a child, “Two wrongs don’t make a right!” and “Just because they pushed you, doesn’t mean you have to hit them!”
That’s why the mandate “Everyone must get along and approve of everyone else!” leads to such frustration, and actually causes more conflict than it resolves.
It eventually requires some kind of enforcement, some kind of arbitrary picking of winners and losers, and the losers seethe with resentment and bide their time.
Then the fight breaks out again.
Just ask any parent.
I wish the social engineers would listen to the prophet Jeremiah, who put it so well, “They cry, “Peace! Peace!” when there is no peace.”
Almost all parents, myself included, struggle with seeing their child be hurt by life.
Our natural urge is to protect them, to neutralize the threat, to keep it from every happening again.
But it’s simply not possible to do that.
For one thing, God made us to be intensely curious, inveterate risk-takers, and experimenters.
Every child, at one time or another, asks, “I wonder what would happen if I….?” and then goes ahead and does it.
It’s how we grow.
And growth involves mistakes, learning the hard way, and developing resilience in the face of worse and worse hardships.
Bigger Than a Banana
I remember crying in 1st grade when a classmate called me a monkey because I was eating a banana at lunch in the school cafeteria.
I begged my mother after school to never put a banana in my sack lunch ever again.
She actually laughed at me, told me I was being too sensitive, and kept right on putting them in there.
Obviously, I still enjoy bananas and don’t care if people want to call me a monkey and certainly wouldn’t cry about it if they did.
That “big issue” stopped being big–I grew up.
Just as resistance and tension is how muscles are grown, adversity and sorrow is how resilient character is grown.
Ironically, “no tolerance zones” and “zero tolerance policies” cause as much pain for their absurdity, their arbitrary nature, as they prevent.
We are treated to the constant parade of silliness where boys eat sandwiches into the shape of a gun, point them at someone and say, “Bang! Bang!”, and are sent to the principal’s office for violating the policy.
Or the 18 year old Eagle Scout who drove to high school with a boxed, locked rifle in his car trunk for use after school at the rifle range, who was identified as a violator and kicked out of school and forbidden to graduate.
Of course, we are all aware of “safe zones” created by universities where “protected classes” of people can be shielded from all ideas and words that might “hurt them”.
The sad truth is over-protecting institutions and helicopter parenting creates a kind of highly dependent young adult who never had to learn social coping skills.
It’s called “learned helplessness”.
So it takes smaller and smaller adversities, tinier and tinier offenses and hurts, to knock them off their stride and keep them down.
Which, in turn, actually sets them up for greater and greater pain in life–making them more crippled and helpless and requiring even more protection.
The easy way of avoiding all pain thus gives pain all the power to define, to cripple, and to paralyze the overprotected person.
And then they have adult-sized meltdowns and require the whole world to protect them from everything.
And “nice” and “tolerant” institutions and authorities without a backbone supinely oblige them and then get blamed even more.
And so here we are….