Civilization and barbarism

Here is a marvelous film on civilization and barbarism with which I may start the culture course in the spring, even though it does not involve Spain. Meanwhile, in news of current barbarism, consider:

The contrast here is not only between the civility of the children and the cruelty of the shooter, but between what was asked of them at this moment and how little the public and elected officials ask of themselves when it comes to doing something about gun violence.

But these kids are just collateral damage in our mega-quest for freedom and self-protection. Politicians have constituencies and preserving the ability to kill someone is more important than preventing murder. It is far more profitable to allow or even promote murder, since this sells guns, and to follow on with incarceration, since that is also highly profitable to the same arms companies — to whom our overseas adventures are highly profitable as well.

All the discussion of male psychology, poor mothering, whiteness, and so on is interesting but is a distraction from this. Perhaps we could, eventually, evolve into a society that does not produce so many school shooters, but no amount of bemoaning our “glorification of violence” amounts even to taking a step against the effects of the same, so I am tired of hearing intonations about how gun control would not be enough.

Fairly recently I visited that country of duck breast, andouillette grillée and poire belle Helène otherwise known as France for the first time in over twenty years. I expected everyone to be smoking as usual, but they were not. I had always thought those Gitanes were a foundational component of modern French national identity, so I asked what had happened. There had been “a great campaign,” I was told.

We would have to have a great campaign here if we wished to actually end not only school massacres but the other allegedly accidental or possibly preventable gun deaths that take place this year. It would be very difficult but it would be easier and more globally effective than it would be merely to find a way to make sure no white mothers raise psychotic sons. Here is one of the comments on Historiann that I like, and another, and another.


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