Stuff Black People Don’t Like notes that as part of the budget problems, many, many programs intended to occupy the time of urban minorities are being cut-
I tried to comment over there, but the cursed Blogger ate it. But it’s worth a post in and of itself.
One of the obsessions of the system, especially since the 60’s, is providing various kinds of educational and recreational programs for “urban” or “at-risk” “youth” (unfortunately almost any phrase or term of the system requires quotes to note its abuse of the language.) This peculiarity shows its roots in Protestant Christianity, particularly of the missionary, low church kind.
I was raised as a Catholic, and the nature of the Protestant churches some of my childhood acquaintances was a bit puzzling to me. They seemed to be very light on theology and very heavy on socializing and education or socialization of an odd sort. Once one of my friends said to his mother “[the minister] thinks I need to learn to make decisions.” This threw me for a loop. Father Mulcahy wasn’t the least bit interested in whether I could make decisions, or even in me as an individual. He only encountered as an individual at confession, where I was of course anonymous. It occurred to me recently that a low church Protestant service is mostly teaching and worship, while a Catholic mass is essentially the performance of a ritual, with the other aspects pretty minor.
When Dietrich Bonhoeffer- Lutheran theologian and pacifist assassin- came to the US in the late 20’s, he was shocked at the extent to which Protestant churches were oriented around social activities. Being a gutless pussy liberal of course he prefered the black churches, which were and are heavy on ecstatic worship. (Hey Dietrich, did it every occur to you to kill Hitler in, oh, 1930, when it might have done some actual good? No? Oh I guess you were probably gassing about how important it is to never kill people because Jesus said never kill people and how horrible you were if you ever killed anybody, or advocated killing anybody, or thought it might be necessary, under some circumstances, to kill people. Then after a whole bunch of people got killed a little tiny fucking dim light went on in your head that maybe if somebody is killing a bunch of people, and you kill him, then he won’t kill a bunch more people, and not so many people will be dead, except the guy who was killing all the people will be, but then maybe he was an asshole who had it coming! OK some people are slow learners but you have totally abused the privilege. And you were a self-righteous dick about it. Loser.)
What he didn’t understand, from his lack of familiarity with Anglo-Saxon culture, was that this a long-standing tradition of molding people. One example is the Chautauqua Institution, an educational program not thought of as being religious but that was started by a Methodist minister. To this day Protestant churches offer many programs combining socializing and education to their members.
I keep combining “education” and “socializing” together, because these types of things generally combine these things to one degree or another for a unique form of socialization. An educational program will include some socializing, and a social program will include some education.
These programs serve a few purposes. One, church members spend their time with other church members away from the corrupting influences of the greater society. Two, they can be watched by church leaders and monitored for deviant attitudes and behavior. Three, and most importantly, they can be molded- I’m sorry but I can’t think of a better word- into a good person more effectively than just by reading from the Bible and teaching biblical concepts.
The very term “Methodist” comes from the idea that while Christian theology prohibits a believer from thinking he can become perfect in the eyes of God, believers can achieve a high degree of it by adhering to certain methods. The idea of social reform through education and activism is an old historical part of this kind of belief. Abolition of slavery is always used as an example of its virtue. Usually ignored is the temperance movement, which culminated in the US with Prohibition. The temperance movement included various kinds of women’s issues as well- the belief in the moral superiority of women is a part of this belief system as well.
So we have a tradition- old and well-established, supported by activist middle-class people- that uses education and other activities as a form of social control and indoctrination. There’s nothing remotely socialist about any of this, it’s not foreign, and it’s certainly not Jewish. A secular version of this emerged in the 50’s, with the idea to use education to improve the condition of blacks. It was funded as part of the Great Society, and administered by government agencies or NGOs. Liberals regard these as very important for the well-being of client populations.
I think the problem is they are all carrot and no stick. A church can use social pressure on its members to help get the desired behavior. Nice white liberals use this on other white people- quite harshly- but never on black or brown people.
Education of a quasi-religious nature, not really for the purpose of imparting knowledge but for indoctrinating, socializing and controlling people, is an old Anglo-Saxon tradition, and a key part of the system.