Stoic, resilient, these are words that have been rightly used to describe the Japanese people in recent days. In the wake of horrific tragedy, there has been one description of our friends in Japan that has left a marked impression on this columnist. That word is discipline. The Japanese people are a people of great discipline.
This column is not intended to debate the minutia of Japanese traditional faith and family, its perceived or real flaws, and or its comparison to the Judeo-Christian value system we, as a nation, once embraced. This columnist simply wants to examine the template of a disciplined society in the face of impending chaos.
It has been reported that, in spite of the massive devastation in the little island country, there has been no looting. Citizens are waiting in lines calmly for hours on end to find needed food, water and fuel. A Japanese gentleman finally reached the store to find only 12 bottles of water on the shelf. Witnesses say he quickly grabbed them for he and his family, then stopped himself, turned back to the shelf and replaced 10 of what he desperately needed in respect for those coming after him. No crime. No anarchy. Perhaps it is time we as Americans take a hard look at our lack of discipline juxtaposed against the amazing discipline of the Japanese and decide what that means for the future of this great Nation.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the “me generation” was spawned. The rigid confines and demands of the family structure and discipline were railed against as an obstruction to free thinkers. The intellectual elite mocked fathers and mothers, who placed strong emphasis on honor, respect and faith in their homes. Opportunistic professors at colleges instructed the children from these homes that rebellion against their parents; authority was the only hope for society. The strict “unbending” rule of parents was now dysfunctional. The age of Dr. Spock was born.
A new, “better” progressive society immerged. They raised their children with a new discipline. Now it was all about respecting themselves, first, before others. Just believe in themselves and all would be alright in the end. No set standards to adhere to. No higher justice to answer to. Just find your own inner peace by expressing yourself in whatever way you saw fit and utopia would be on its way.
Dr. Spock would find the Japanese family hierarchy very dysfunctional. Parents demand (Yes, I said that word…oh dear…) obedience from their children. It is rumored that authorities actually say “no” in Japan. Bringing dishonor to their family, their country and their faith is an unspeakable thought. But now, we see the fruits of their belief system.
The Japanese now face these grim unfolding tragedies with the same stoic, unflinching discipline they have been trained through the generations to portray. It is their honor and they refuse to relinquish it to disaster. In so doing, they have been a calming influence on the world.
Here in the United States, by contrast, we watch as college students, enraged by some perceived affront, jump atop an innocent bystanders car and completely destroy it. We watch union teachers in Wisconsin drag first grade students into the capital rotunda and lead them in anti-government and pro-union chants. Lenin would be so proud. Honor has been replaced with opportunism and relativism. Standards are manipulated to accommodate the situation rather than situations being judged by an unchanging standard. Our society believes itself far too sophisticated to be judged by an overriding moral standard that is a sounding board for good behavior. So our nation’s moral compass continues to vacillate from crisis to crisis.
If we as Americans wish to face uncertain futures with the same strength exemplified by the Japanese, we must reestablish our strong family units. We must do this in the face of the inevitable mockery that will come from the Hollywood, social and media elites. Our strength does not come from government. The strength of a nation will always be God and family.