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Conscience, Not Guns
We no longer teach right and wrong.


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Dennis Prager

We are led to believe after almost every massacre that the murderer “snapped” or had mental problems. Why? Because it implies that the murderer was not morally responsible for what he did. We are told, for example, that Adam Lanza — who by all accounts was a brilliant student — suffered from a form of autism. Even if true, why is that important? Statistically, I would bet that those with autism commit far fewer violent crimes than the rest of population. Autistic people, like everyone else, can be taught the difference between right and wrong. My stepson is autistic, and is not capable of attending regular school (much less honors classes) or driving a car, things that Adam Lanza did fully normally. But my stepson is keenly aware of right and wrong, and believes that God punishes people who commit evil.

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On some rare occasions mental illness may be the only possible explanation for evil. But when American schools emphasized character development, and when nearly all Americans believed that there is a God who forbids and punishes murder, such massacres rarely took place. When people “snapped” during the Great Depression some of them did kill . . . themselves. Surely some European Jews who survived the Holocaust “snapped” after seeing their families murdered. Yet I know of no survivor of the Holocaust who massacred innocent Germans or Poles or Hungarians, or Frenchmen — let alone Americans. Why not?

Because until the contemporary period, religion and/or conscience development were ubiquitous.

Instead of teaching young Americans self-control, thanks to leftist influence, we now teach them self-esteem — which has been worse than morally useless. It has been morally destructive. According to professor of psychology Roy Baumeister, one of the leading criminologists in America, few Americans have the high self-esteem that violent criminals have.

Want to know a major cause of criminal violence in America? Try leftism’s denial of the importance of moral values among nations and individuals; its systematic destruction of character education; and its elimination of God as the source of moral law.

Not guns.

— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His most recent book is Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. He is the founder of PragerUniversity and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.



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