Back when I wrote, “It’s most important that all potential victims be as dangerous as they can,” I opened the piece with this quote from a post at Grim’s Hall:
I was reading an article the other day, in the local newspaper, about an elderly Korean gentleman who has moved into town and opened a martial arts studio. He chastened the reporter who had come to interview him not to suggest that the martial arts were ‘all about fighting.’ “No!” he said. “The purpose is social harmony.”
That is exactly right. The secret of social harmony is simple: Old men must be dangerous.
Very nearly all the violence that plagues, rather than protects, society is the work of young males between the ages of fourteen and thirty. A substantial amount of the violence that protects rather than plagues society is performed by other members of the same group. The reasons for this predisposition are generally rooted in biology, which is to say that they are not going anywhere, in spite of the current fashion that suggests doping half the young with Ritalin.
The question is how to move these young men from the first group (violent and predatory) into the second (violent, but protective). This is to ask: what is the difference between a street gang and the Marine Corps, or a thug and a policeman? In every case, we see that the good youths are guided and disciplined by old men. This is half the answer to the problem.
In my essay Culture, I wrote about the problem America has not with violent crime, but inner-city violent crime; about how our crime statistics are skewed by the fact that young, urban black men are so much more violent than any other group, and that this may be because – at least in part – they have so few dangerous old men to guide them from violent-and-predatory to violent-but-protective.