COMMENTARY BY CHARLES SULKA
[Martin Van Creveld’s observations on America’s ‘maladjusted children syndrome’ point to poor parenting and misallocation of social resources as the underlying cause of violent behavior in school-age children. While these are no doubt contributory factors — poor parenting in particular — Van Creveld overlooks more significant factors: television, video games, and rap music, all of which saturate the child’s brain with violent, anti-social, misogynist themes. Television and video games turn childrens’ minds to mush … and rap ‘music’ (sic) is truly the work of the devil. Yet parents have no qualms about subjecting their children to these mind-destroying influences.
[American high school graduates typically have logged 14,000 hours in the classroom and 15,000 hours watching television; they will have witnessed (on the TV screen if not in real life) 23,000 rapes, murders, and other violent crimes, none of which are ‘real’ to them.]
Parents do incredible harm to their children when they park them in front of the television set. Perhaps the most unthinkingly harmful act parents can commit against their children is to allow them to play video games. The child’s mind, body, and soul need to grow, to *develop*, in a healthy environment. Childrens’ brains are like sponges, absorbing everything they come in contact with. The maxim ‘garbage in, garbage out’ is especially true with regard to developing children.
Van Creveld refers obliquely to another major cause of childhood maladjustment — drugs. Studies show that an overwhelming proportion of students who exhibit destructive behavior or violent anti-social outbursts are taking or have taken powerful mind-altering prescription drugs such as Ritalin. The use of powerful psychiatric drugs on the nation’s children is central to a crusade by child psychologists to promote psychiatric drugs as treatment for the condition of childhood restlessness and inattentiveness (‘ADHD’) a condition which, if it exists at all, must have a cause. One probable cause is ‘food poisoning’ — chemical additives in processed foods. If not the primary cause, chemical adulterants in foods is certainly a contributing factor in a whole range of serious health problems, with the harm to developing children being most regrettable (and avoidable.) Chemical-laden processed food is about all children are given to eat in America, where both husband and wife work full-time jobs (if they can find them), and meals come out of a package or from a fast-food drive-by. ADHD didn’t even exist until the women’s movement and economic pressures resulted in women abandoning their traditional role as primary care giver and home-maker to seek employment outside of the home. A healthy lifestyle and natural diet free of processed foods would reduce childhood obesity, improve childrens’ overall health, improve their academic performance, and improve the mental state, and, importantly, the mental ability of the nation’s children. Concerns about children’s mental state should not be addressed by the widespread use of powerful psychiatric drugs. In truth, we can expect more young people to be victims of psychotic episodes and mental and moral problems brought on by all of the factors cited above.
Mental health practitioners will resist and oppose solutions (such as healthy lifestyles, parental guidance, and solid religious teaching) which are not based primarily on drug-centered psychiatric treatment. Actually solving the problem would deprive the mental health practitioners (and their allies in the pharmaceutical industry) of vast revenues and a never-ending supply of new patients. It is a tortuous process to link social ills with lifestyle choices, and solid evidence — overwhelming, undisputable evidence — is a prerequisite for government involvement. Even with proof of the harm done by unhealthy lifestyles (i.e. tobacco use and the use of dangerous drugs), government intervention is often ineffective.
There is little doubt that children watch too much television and fritter away their precious time playing mindless video games, and ‘texting’ with other little urchlings. They are literally burning up their developing synapses, polluting their minds with unsound concepts and unsavory themes, frequently quite violent. Instead of watching TV they should be reading the classics … except they have never learned to read (or use correct grammar, or think logically, or count change, or balance their checkbooks.) There is no simple solution; what is required is strict parenting and sound guidance … but in modern day America this level of parental involvement in children’s lives is sadly lacking. Incredibly, parents see themselves as being kind to their children when they give them violent video games (which are, in a very real sense, a form of electronic baby-sitting.) What parents are actually doing when they give their children video games is destroying their childrens’ brains and stunting their social, mental and emotional development (!)
Another important factor is children’s ready access to guns in America. When tormented youngsters commit mass murder, they are using the same type of guns that they have used to kill countless ‘enemies’ when playing video games. Playing video games literally brainwashes children, programming them to believe that violence is an acceptable way to deal with those who cause them pain and suffering. For adolescents, in particular, this can be any number of people — in some cases, literally everyone — and the pain and suffering can be real or imagined, as anyone who has survived puberty can attest.
But it gets worse.
Some speculate that there might be a truly sinister explanation for the ‘dumbing down’ of America and the relentless assault on families, and children in particular. The recent spate of alien visitations and dramatic rise in the occult and spiritism has been attributed by some to be part of a well-orchestrated plan by agents of alien invaders who have targeted earth for subjugation. In this scenario, planet earth is to become a client state under alien control. The economic power and military might of America is being used to promote the aliens’ agenda in what is quite literally spiritual warfare. Thus world domination is the true objective of the neocons’ New World Order — fascist corporate governance by non-elected bureaucrats unwittingly serving the interests of earth’s alien overlords. It appears that the subversion of national governments and subjugation of the human race is proceeding apace, with America being duped into playing the central role. It is standard procedure in ‘regime change’ and ‘military interventions’ to undermine the target population’s government (through corrupting influence), neutralize the security forces (through infiltration) and destroy the target’s will to resist (through psychological assault — PSYOPS). Rap music, video games, television, and mind-altering drugs (Ritalin for children, Ecstasy for teen-agers, and Prozac for adults), debilitating chemicals in processed food, and targeting the population with a mind-numbing ‘stupidity beam’ to destroy the mind’s cognitive reasoning could all be part of the preliminary stage of an alien invasion. In military jargon, this preliminary process is referred to as ‘softening up the target.’ In this case, the target is us.]
Killer kids: Why American Kids Kill
By Martin van Creveld
From his website, 2 July 2014
Posted here (the FABIUS MAXIMUS website) with his generous permission.
Summary: Today Martin van Creveld looks at an aspect of America that amazes foreigners — not just our stratospheric murder rate, but the incredible rate of murders by children. We feel righteous superiority about Arabs sending their children as suicide bombers, but prefer not to think about the greater number of American children killing on their own initiative. We are exceptional.
American kids keep killing each other, their teachers, and any other adults who happen to be present when they go berserk. Since December 2012 alone there have been some 74 school shootings, more than two a month on the average. Each time something of the kind happens the media go even more berserk than the children themselves. So far neither metal detectors at the gates nor armed guards in the corridors seem to have made much of a difference. Proposals for dealing with the problem have ranged from providing teachers with handguns to covering students with bullet-proof blankets.
As a foreigner who has spent some years in the U.S while his children went to school there, and who has written a book (in Russian) about the U.S, I may be in a better position than many others to shed some light on this question. Here, then, are my observations.
Healthcare for children
Owing to the way the healthcare system is constructed, American infants are more likely than some others to die during their early months or years. For many years now, even the States that do best in this respect tend to lag behind many other developed countries, including some that are much poorer. Though America’s fertility rate may be the highest among developed countries, its kids are skimped on before they are born as well as immediately after birth. Arguably the fact that the problem affects lower-class socio-economic families much more than it does those above them only makes things worse.
Child care spending
Compared to many other developed countries, America spends relatively little of its public wealth on raising its children. Family payments, measured in absolute numbers, are lower than in Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the U.K. They are also much lower than the OECD average. Relative to the earned incomes of employed single mothers, the overall value of cash transfers per family is low and declining. As a result, the percentage of children who live in poverty is higher than in most other developed countries.
Parental tyranny: Over-parenting
As if to make up for these shortcomings, American parents, and society in general, are extremely demanding on their children. At school they are supposed to get straight A’s. At home they are supposed to perform “chores,” meaning unpleasant tasks adults do not want to do. In addition they have to excel at sports — the reason being that, doing so, they may be able to get through college with the aid of scholarships and thus save their parents tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. I personally knew some perfectly nice middle-class parents who more or less compelled their teenage daughter have an operation on her knees, which were hurting, so she could to go on playing basketball. If all this were not enough, during their vacations they are expected to hold a job — the kind of job, needless to say, that pays so little that nobody else would want it — so as to cover at least part of their expenses.
The outcome is that many teenagers are busier, and enjoy less leisure, than in any of the many other countries I have visited or in which I have lived. Talking to some of them, I never understood how they managed it. Inevitably, some fail to do so. All this is done in the name of teaching children how to cope with “life”—yet judging by the results, it is often counter-productive.
TIME on over-parenting, 30 November 2009
“The Growing Backlash Against Over-parenting” by Nancy Gibbs, 30 November 2009.
Parental tyranny: the burden of rules
Even as they encourage their children to grow up in a competitive world, American parents and society in general put them under any number of restrictions. If American adults are greedy for an endless supply of high-quality goods and services, then the American Psychological Association will commission a study on the effect of advertising on children with the goal of making them less so. If many Americans swear, then an American seven year old will be punished by his school principal for telling a classmate that his mother was gay, as indeed she was.
If Americans supposedly smoke too much, then American youths up to age 21 are forbidden to smoke and may, indeed, be sent to jail for buying a pack of cigarettes. If not enough Americans join the Armed Forces so they can be sent to get killed in useless wars on the other side of the world, then any school that receives federal money must admit Pentagon recruiters and must provide those recruiters with students’ contact addresses even without their knowledge, or that of their parents. Ironically this requirement, which was enacted in 2001, was part of a law known as “no child left behind”.
If American adults like to drink while riding in stretch limousines, then out of fear that kids may do the same they are prohibited from using those limousines for their coming-out parties and must content themselves by being bused instead. If over sixty percent of American adults are overweight, then one can be certain that their children, far fewer of whom are, will be made to pay the price by having sweets, snacks, candy and various soft drinks banned from their schools’ vending machines. The list is endless.
Thus children are caught in a vise. From the moment of birth on, they are taught they must grow up so as to make their way in society. But that very society also puts them under endless prohibitions and, claiming that they “cannot handle it” (whatever “it” may be) infantilizes them. As one American told me, that explains why American children are so keen on sport. It is the only adult activity on which they are allowed to engage.
Parental tyranny: the burden of punishments
Finally, American parents, and society in general, have never learnt how to spare the rod. I well remember how, on first visiting the home of a prominent and extremely well educated lawyer, I was told that his two sons had been “grounded” for quarrelling and would not be allowed to leave their room for a couple of days. I well remember how my son, then thirteen years old and following his first day at an American school, came home with a fifty-page booklet listing all the things he was prohibited from doing and the punishments attached to each; and yet, as he said between tears, he had done nothing wrong yet! Worse still, with computers around no offense committed by a child, however trivial, is ever left unregistered or forgotten. It is as if the term “forgiveness” did not exist.
Some parents go so far as to send their rebellions children to a kind of bootcamp where they are supposed to learn what is what. Others even allow those children to be kidnapped by personnel who work for the firms that operate the camps and take them there by force. Others still consult doctors who then prescribe Prozac, Ritalin and other chemical compounds to keep the children quiet. Wherever one goes one hears the advice, “talk to your children.” But how can American parents, especially busy career mothers who often work as hard as fathers and are always desperately trying to juggle career and housework, ever find the time and energy to do so the way it should be done? Instead, all they seem to do is nag their offspring about homework.
As the Roman philosopher Seneca used to say, repeated punishment crushes the spirit of some of those subject to it. At the same time it stirs up hatred among all the rest. Is it any wonder that some children, caught in an impossible world, take up a gun and kill everybody they meet?
Martin van Creveld
About the Author
Martin van Creveld is Professor Emeritus of History at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and one of the world’s most renowned experts on military history and strategy.
The central role of Professor van Creveld in the development of 4GW theory (aka non-trinitarian warfare) is difficult to exaggerate. He has provided both the broad historical context — looking both forward and back in time — much of the analytical work, and a large share of the real work in publishing both academic and general interest books. He does not use the term 4GW, preferring to speak of “non-trinitarian” warfare — but his work is foundational for 4GW just the same.
Professor van Creveld has written 20 books, about almost every significant aspect of war — technology, logistics, air power and maneuver warfare, the training of officers, the role of women in combat, military history (several books), nuclear proliferation, and strategy (several books). He has written about the future of war – The Transformation of War (which I consider the best work to date about modern war) and The Changing Face of War. And his magnum opus: The Rise and Decline of the State – the ur-text describing the political order of the 21st century.
For links to his articles see The Essential 4GW reading list: Martin van Creveld.
For More Information
See these articles about child killers…
Old but still useful: “Personality profiles identified of children who kill“, New York Times, 11 October 1983.
“Children Who Kill Are Often Victims Too“, Robert T Muller, Psychology Today, 5 February 2015 — “Instability can be found in all aspects of the lives of children who kill.”
It’s not just an American problem: “China premier orders probe after ‘left behind’ children kill themselves“, Reuters, 12 June 2015.