Periodically, when I’m in a bad mood I go on a rant about “innocents abroad.”
This usually relates to one of my kids’ friends going abroad and coming back with stars in their eyes, my absolutely favorite being the one who was sure that socialism couldn’t be bad because, well, look at all the great palaces and monuments France has. Yes, he got a history lecture about no matter what you might think of feudalism, it was not socialism. And how most of what socialist France has done involves things like trying to develop a video phone system that worked … well… like the net. And failing.
There is worse, though.
Most people in the U.S. don’t get how safe or how prosperous we are, not only in relation to most of history, but in relation to most of the world. They just don’t. The concept is impossible to comprehend if you’ve lived your entire life sheltered and fed in the U.S.
Which honestly is why so many people go abroad and then come home and work to destroy the U.S. because they think that the only way we can be that prosperous is if we’re stealing from others. Their guilt sends them into stupid global redistributionism, without having any clue of what really causes the foreign immiseration.
At that, this kind of naïve stupidity at home is what causes beliefs like “violence never solved anything,” and “if we were only nice to everyone, everyone would be nice to us.” Or, as we call it around the dinner table, the Obama administration, with its endless tour of apology and American self-abasement, and its working to make America small again (leading from behind. A some point you’ve made enough money, etc., etc., ad nauseam) in the belief it would make the rest of the world big (the finite pie fallacy shouldn’t be tolerated. Not even once).
Being an innocent abroad can get you killed, as shown in this jaw-dropping case: American Couple Believing ‘Evil Is A Make-Believe Concept’ Bike Through Territory Near Afghan Border. ISIS Stabs Them To Death.
I mean, click on it and look at those faces. Those two never had an unsupervised day in kindergarten, and no one ever spoke unkindly to them. Or so I presume, both from the smug self-satisfaction and from the bizarre idea that evil doesn’t exist. Because, you know, most of us learn the concept of evil in kindergarten.
How can an adult male – and educated adult male – write such unalterably naïve stuff as:
You watch the news and you read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place. People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil. People are axe murderers and monsters and worse.
I don’t buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own—it’s easier to dismiss an opinion as abhorrent than strive to understand it. Badness exists, sure, but even that’s quite rare. By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind. No greater revelation has come from our journey than this.
First, how protected and innocent do you have to be to think the worst evil in the world is “ax murderers” and not the men who smile and smile and are villains? And second, how can you think that everyone – everyone – is wonderful and generous and kind? Sure, when you travel through as a tourist, you will mostly be tolerated and treated nicely. Sure, most humans are fundamentally decent, for a given description of decent. But consider that these twits were bicycling from the tip of Africa to the North, and yet had no concept that not only evil does exist but that a lot of societies are set up in such a way as to be evil to women, to children, and even to the men who are — by and large in such societies — in charge. How could they be so blind unless they were looking at the world through the eyes of kindergartners convinced that because someone smiled and gave them cookies they must be nice?
And yea, you’re going to read that and go “the gene pool chlorinates itself” and much as I’d like to say that’s wrong, it’s not… but…
But any number of our overprotected, mal-educated offspring (ours as a country, not mine) will go abroad and come back with that kind of ridiculous conclusion.
Because there are grandiose palaces in a socialist country, socialism must really be good. Because people in Muslim countries smiled and were nice to them, the terrorists are imaginary. Because they didn’t meet an ax murderer, there is no evil and every human conflict is either a misunderstanding or some plot by governments.
We can’t count on ISIS to solve the problem of misguided idiots like this every time. Some of them will survive and come home, full of their obviously stupid ideas and starry-eyed, and ready to do evil in the name of good, to destroy America in order to elevate the world.
You can’t count on the schools, and I’d place reverse faith in entertainment to show your kids the world as it is. The only way to prevent both the self-chlorination of the gene pool and — worse — the oikophobia of innocents who went abroad and came back convinced they know, or guilty about their prosperity, is to properly educate your children.
Don’t shelter them. Let them know what the world is really like, here as well as abroad. And for the love of the future, teach them history.
Let them know that while they’re largely safe and happy, it’s a rare condition in the history of mankind. And one that could easily be reversed by a generation whose “compassion” and universal love is not tempered by reality.