I virtually never agree with the people who tend to blame America first, but this time at least one of them is right. The investigation of the Boston Marathon Bombing is well underway, and some have wondered about the Tsarnaev brothers’ ties to Chechnya. That nation’s president immediately dismissed the notion that the crime had anything to do with Chechnya. “They were raised in the United States, and their attitudes and beliefs were formed there. It is necessary to seek the roots of this evil in America.”
Unlike the 9-11 terrorists who emigrated here just to attend flight school and crash into the World Trade Center, the brothers Tsarnaev lived here for more than a decade. The younger brother arrived when he was six or seven years old. He’s grown up on American soil, in Massachusetts public schools. He has been immersed in the values of this country, at least the ones his school chose to mention. But what did his American education teach him? Typically, he has learned three all important truths:
- Tolerance is the insistence that all ideas are equally valid. Terrorists don’t practice tolerance, but they adapt it to rationalize that their murderous schemes are worthy of respect.
- Self esteem is the principle that every human being is worthy of acceptance and validation no matter how he behaves. Terrorists generally demonstrate high self esteem. What they lack is any sense of esteem for their fellow human beings.
- Multiculturalism argues America was founded by racists, slave traders and war mongers. This means that our history is no different or more remarkable than the story of any other nation! Look at what most kids bring away from twelve years of public schooling, and you discover that the rain forests of Brazil are more crucial to life as we know it than the Constitution of the United States.
A different generation and a wiser nation might have done things differently. As recently as fifty years ago, public schools in the United States cultivated virtues that could bind Americans together- even those who had recently arrived from distant lands. Only half a century ago, Dzhokar would have been taught a different set of American guiding truths:
- Honor is the conviction that I must be true to the highest ideals of my nation and treat my neighbors the way I want to be treated.
- Duty is the sense of that I am responsible for being a constructive force in the lives of others, even as I make every effort to advance my own life, and contribute to the larger community.
- Moral absolutes are those timeless principles that lead to self control and respect for law. For example, human life is so sacred that murder is always wrong- whether the victim is an innocent child or a corrupt political opponent.
It’s not clear whether the younger Tsarnaev brother had truly integrated Islam into his life, or if he was simply carried along by the radical rage of his older brother. What is apparent is that he was never schooled in the sort of classical virtues and truths that produce great men, great women, and great nations. Islam is a certainly a factor in this senseless crime, but so is the American system of public education. There was a time when our schools were geared to develop great citizens. Unfortunately, public education has now been hijacked to promote an agenda of mindless individualism. Young Americans spend more time in public schools than they do with their families. It’s not outrageous to insist that kids like that should graduate with some skill in math, more proficiency in English, and a sense of gratitude.
Lift up the Cross!