Monday, July 18, 2005

Katherine Kersten...on Gang-Banging Part II

So I'm trying to faze out the Katherine Kersten entries. I'll continue to write them occassionally, but she uses the same rhetorical and logical fallacies over and over again and I'm getting a little bored refuting them over and over again. Today's column, however, is a true marvel.

This, of course, is not the first time Kersten has addressed gangs. On June 9, she blamed gangs on the St. Paul NAACP and the African-American community. To get her point across today, Kersten uses a slightly different tactic.

She blames it on the '60s.

Unfortunately, I'm at a loss for where to start with this. For example, she equates the '60s notion of "recreational sex" with Paris Hilton and Abercrombie & Fitch, and ties that to the gang rape of a 13-year-old girl in California. Huh?

I'm certainly not saying that the '60s were without excesses and that it was a time of transcendant bliss. I think anyone who lived through them would agree with me. I'm also not going to say mistakes weren't made during the War on Poverty. But to blame the '60s for today's gang violence, drug addictions, and poverty? Come on...remember the crack epidemic? What about the so-called War on Drugs? Anybody hear of meth? Are all of those the result of that liberal decade?

In this column, Kersten reveals the undercurrent of so much of the conservative ideology that grew to fruition in the '60s and continues to thrive today. So many people, including Kersten presumably, were uncomfortable with the notion of people expressing themselves, people freeing themselves from the chains of a male-dominated hierachical society, people seeking out truth, that a backlash brewed and was eventually unleashed. These individuals cleave to the idea that if we just revert back to another time, when men worked, women cooked and cleaned, families were nuclear, picket fences were white, and everyone knew where they belonged, then none of today's problems would exist. But this is a fantasy. Without the civil rights movement, minority rights would still possibly be a foreign concept. Without the women's liberation movement, Kersten probably wouldn't be writing for the Strib. Without the freedoms won during that time, we would be far worse off as a nation.

But I don't want to get into defining and defending a decade that I didn't live in. What's in the past is just that...in the past. The constructive thing to do is look at the problems of today, and rather than find something to blame them on, figure out creative, cost-effective, empowering, and real solutions to the problem. Kersten sums up the answers thusly: "But on the social policy front, we hear -- yet again -- calls for more money for summer jobs, extended recreation center hours and the like."

Nothing could be further from the truth, and if she would actually take some time to research her articles rather than continuing to recycle used conservative arguments, perhaps she'd find out that on the so-called social policy front, people are finding and implementing solutions.

2 comments:

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

In an earlier post you complained about Kersten's incessant tendency to take a specific example and broadly apply it. Could you be guilty of doing the same vis-a-vis Kersten and Conservatives overall?

PiedPiper said...

A valid point, perhaps, yet I don't aim to apply this idea to all conservatives. I think that parts of contemporary conservative ideology grew out of the '60s as an answer to its excesses, and that today that ideology is experiencing some of its own excesses. I also think that there were many people who came of age during that time and are now the ones holding the power in the conservative realm. Unlike many liberals, there are parts of conservative politics that I agree with. There are several issues within liberal and conservative politics where a middle ground could be found, if only people on both sides of the spectrum were willing to compromise on them.

Blaming all social ills on what is considered a decade of liberalism is a waste of time, however. It does nothing to advance a point or solve anything. Rather it merely exists to drive a wedge between people and make them choose Left or Right.