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Zen and the art of raising geopolitically-savvy kids

By Erik Rush
web posted October 23, 2006

It's amazing what one can learn about politics - and people - from a ten year-old…

My son (the ten year-old) saw the horrible condition of the starving people in Darfur (the Sudanese region in which human rights-related atrocities and ethnic cleansing have been going on since 2003) on a television news report. Every now and then, he will view people in similar condition in other war-torn nations, or ones in which there is political inequity (to put it politely). Obviously, the images of starving children are particularly disturbing to him.

"Why don't we send them food?" he asks.

"Well, we do," I tell him. "America sends billions of dollars in financial and food aid to countries like those every year."


"That's right."

"Then why are they still starving?"

"Good question," say I. "Because the fat, aboriginal scum who run those countries generally steal most of the money and food and share it with the army in order to keep themselves in power."

"What's 'aboriginal' mean?"

"Never mind."

Miyamoto Musashi, the 16th-century samurai and great military figure in Japanese history, wrote about a concept he called "immature strategy" in his book Go Rin No Sho (A Book of Five Rings). The basis of this was that one could not be an effective swordsman, military leader - or anything else, for that matter - utilizing underdeveloped, half-baked ideas or techniques.

Hence my son's initial response: Having been raised in a culture in which people ostensibly care about others, he reasoned that throwing a mess of resources at the problem would readily fix it. Then there's the fact that kids of that age still think everything ought to be the way they think it ought to be - just because.

Immature strategy; my ten year-old isn't aware of the political nuances involved, the corruption, greed and lack of concern for life that is business as usual in many cultures, but is anathema to the Judeo-Christian ethic to which he has been exposed. So his solutions are on a par with his maturity as well as his frame of reference.

Upon further explanation, however, a more mature statement emerges: "So… those people aren't really starving - they're being starved."

Now we're getting somewhere. "Precisely," I say enthusiastically.

"Don't their leaders care about them?" he asks.

"Well, no. In fact," I go on, "some of them are being persecuted - starved - because their leaders believe they're no better than animals on account of they're from a different tribe, or because they worship the wrong god."

Which leads into a religious discussion which I won't get into here…

So he's watching the news the other night while they report on the North Korean nuclear arms issue. I'm in the next room. This ten year-old correctly assesses that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il is one of the tyrants as described above. Not only that, but he's implicitly threatening his neighbors - and the U.S. - with nuclear attack.

Now, it bothers me a little that my son is already familiar with the indescribably horrific specter of nuclear war and its potential for destruction. It is of some comfort though, knowing that growing up in the 'Sixties in New York, my introduction to this potentiality came much earlier and was surrounded by much more urgency. We had those air raid drills some of you remember; you know, when we were herded into the school basement and instructed to place our faces against the walls, shield our heads with our arms while we waited to be dry-roasted like Planter's peanuts by Soviet ICBMs, instantaneously fossilized and conveniently entombed for future generations or intergalactic travelers to find in 2000 years or so.

They wrap up the report on Kim Jong-il. "Someone should just kill him," I hear my son mutter.

Now, would Musashi think that was mature or immature strategy?, I wonder. I know my son understands the rationale behind the atomic bombs dropped on Japan: Ten more years of war and two million lives lost versus a few more days of war and a couple hundred thousand lost. So, would taking out Kim or Hugo Chavez or the Ayatollahs in Iran be prudent or rash?

Here's my point: Everyone who has been raised in a culture in which people ostensibly care about others is easy prey for the immature strategy of liberalism, and why liberalism is a manifestly invalid political philosophy. While many of us know it is simply the method being employed by international socialists to transform America, as a mechanism it promotes and reinforces immature thinking. "Send them some food. Send them some money. Not enough? Raise taxes." Consequently, liberals - by design - think everything ought to be the way they think it ought to be - just because.

On the other hand, while neutralizing Kim or Chavez or nuking Teheran might be a good idea in the long run, these haven't (yet) been widely proposed by prominent conservatives for two reasons: 1) Such utterances are politically risky, and 2) conservatism is based on thought rather than irrational, immature emotion.

"So why don't we go in and kill leaders who oppress their people?" My son asks.

"Ohhh, we couldn't do that," I drone, my voice laced with sarcasm. "That would be interventionist. See - some Americans and the international community believe we don't have the right to just go in and replace a government even though we have the means to do it and sort of feel it's our moral obligation - like we did in Iraq."

"Even though they starve and kill their own people?"

"That's right," I tell him.

"That's stupid," he snaps.

"You may be right," I smile. "You may indeed…" ESR

Erik Rush is a New York-born Black columnist and author who writes a weekly column of political fare. He is also Associate Editor and Publisher for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. An archive containing links to his writing is at http://www.erikrush.com.. His new book, "It's the Devil, Stupid!" is available through most major outlets.


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