Thursday, October 15, 2009

Zero tolerance

Several times a year the media reports on the ludicrous application of a zero tolerance policy. A student with asthma is suspended for bringing his inhaler to school. That sort of thing.

Zero tolerance is one of those wonderful ideas that only a liberal could devise.

It’s usually applied to guns and drugs on campus. But there are several obvious problems with a zero tolerance policy:

1.Since the policy is, by definition, inflexible, it inevitably results in some idiotic application or miscarriage of justice. The policy has no room for obvious exceptions or mitigating circumstances. To a zero tolerance policy, a toy gun is no different from a real gun–even though one is dangerous, and the other is not. (And, of course, to disarm the populace can also be dangerous.)

2.Ironically, zero tolerance policies undermine authority. If teachers and administrators are incapable of exercising rudimentary moral and rational discrimination, then the message that sends to young folks is that adults are stupid. It breeds contempt for authority when authority-figures are that mindlessly foolish.

If we want our young people to respect authority, then authorities need to be intellectually respectable.

3.Zero-tolerance policies on firearms are many layers deep:

i) Liberals think that guns cause violence. And the best place to start is with school, when people are young, impressionable, and powerless. Indoctrinate the young on the unmitigated evils of firearms. Convert them to your cause during their formative years.

ii) It also reflects a hatred of masculinity. Guns are too macho for limp-wristed liberals. That’s why school administrators even crack down on harmless contact sports like ball tag. Anything “violent” is evil. Male aggression must be suppressed.

Of course, that’s counterproductive. It just spills over into street gangs.

iii) In addition, liberals firmly believe in social control. They think an upper echelon of official grown-ups should exercise adult supervision over the masses. Liberals want to regulate every aspect of public and private life. Food police. Speech police. Permission to remodel your house or remove a tree from your own backyard.

They want a world with security cameras on every block. A police state. Round the clock surveillance to keep the restive masses in check.

iv) It turns teachers into snitches. And it’s striking how many teachers revel in the chance to rat out a student for some utterly meaningless infraction.

v) There are people who take comfort in rules. And any rules will do. The rules make all their decisions for them. They don’t have to think for themselves. It gives them a sense of security to do what they’re told. They simply memorize the rulebook, and do everything by the book–like wind-up toy soldiers who march in place. And this despite the fact that their precious rulebook is a just a set of man-made rules.

4.I’m struck by how passive parents are in the face of this totalitarian encroachment. Zero tolerance policies can be repealed. And, indeed, there’s a glacial backslash underway. But why does it take so long?

We’ve seen this all before. We’ve seen this under Communism. But why do so many members of a democratic republic volunteer to be handcuffed and assigned to a chain-gang?

5.It’s a standing irony that the education establishment is a magnet for some of the world’s dumbest men and women. Why do we have dumb people teaching the next generation? Shouldn’t teachers be models of wisdom rather than stupidity? That’s certainly the Scriptural model. The wise teach the young.

1 comment:

  1. "Shouldn’t teachers be models of wisdom rather than stupidity? That’s certainly the Scriptural model. The wise teach the young."

    Yes, and this is attributable to the reality that the majority in the culture have given up on being even nominally Christian.

    Francis Schaeffer presciently predicted much of this in "How Should We Then Live?"