I read the May 3 column by David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times, titled “Ingrained cultural shortcomings perpetuate poverty.”
Mr. Brooks states that the problem in Baltimore is not lack of attention and not lack of money. He gives numerous examples of this. The problem, as he sees it, is that in the poor neighborhoods, the schools, families, neighbors, and individuals don’t have the “norms” that middle-class people have and take for granted.
He says that “informal guardrails of life” are gone — even informal rules of ethical behavior. In such circumstances, it is difficult for young people to get wise guidance or to guide and motivate themselves. His conclusion is, “The world is waiting for a thinker who can describe poverty through the lens of social psychology.”
Surely, Mr. Brooks is aware of the one influence that would have the most positive effect on the people of Baltimore (young and old), but he can’t bring himself to say it.
He has done a good job in defining one part of the problem, and in showing that the values needed to cure the problem cannot come from government programs and cannot come from ever-increasing expenditures of money, but he stops short of saying that what they really need are some old-fashioned Christian family values. They need God in their lives. They need a revival. Stranger things have happened in other places, and could happen in Baltimore.
Nowadays, many people are tolerant of all things (except for Christianity and Judaism). They need to rethink their logic and take a good look at the results of not having some kind of spiritual guidance and hope. Especially the hope.
The Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes don’t have to be dumped on them all at once, but a slight change in thinking can start a change in behavior. This would be an improvement over Mr. Brooks’ conclusion that, “The world is waiting for a thinker who can describe poverty through the lens of social psychology.”
William Morrison Sr.
Fifth Fairway Drive