Jack Roeser Blog

Thoughts, views, and observations forged during a long, active life, 83 years, by Jack Roeser- inventor, engineer, manufacturer, soldier, racing sailor, pilot, entrepreneur, classical liberal (conservative) activist, father and husband, and proud American.

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Jack Roeser is Chairman and founder of Otto Engineering Inc. a manufacturer of electronic control and communication switches for aerospace, medical and industrial uses. Otto’s success is marked by the high precision and quality of its products. Jack has received over 50 patents in Electrical, Mechanical, Machinery and Marine products. In 1994, he ran for Governor in the Republican primary, receiving 26% of the primary vote. For over 25 years, Jack has been an advocate of education reform through the application of free market principles and of school choice. Jack's sport is sailing; he has won the Chicago - Mackinac race among many others.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Why Do They Do It?

The tragic shooting at NIU last week is the latest in a modern phenomenon of an individual who, for no apparent reason, resorts to mass execution of those around him. In the aftermath, there are many attempts to examine “why.” Theories abound; none convincing. The forces driving a person to commit such destructive acts surely vary.

Perhaps the cause can be found in our modern society’s multiple influences that focus on a person’s rights and liberties yet ignore a person’s social obligations and responsibilities. Applied to a large population, such a one-sided emphasis produces the possibility of resentment in an individual causing built-up frustrations, feelings of victimhood, and rage at a society for perceived injustices.

Consider these viewpoints that have become more common in recent years:

“Don’t be judgmental.” The politically correct view is that to be discriminating regarding the behavior of another is to be “phobic” or somehow threatened by them. One is led to conclude that the deficiency lies in the discerning individual, rather than in the person engaging in destructive or aberrant behavior.

“You can be anything you want to be.” Arising out of the old axiom that “anyone can grow up to be president,” this viewpoint ignores inherent abilities and inabilities, as well as aptitudes, encouraging a person to unrealistic aspirations.

“Don’t let others infringe on your rights.” In recent days, there is a growing list of unrealistic “rights” that kids are led to believe they deserve without working for them. There’s the right to a good public education, the right to affordable health insurance, and the newest one- the right to an abortion! The resulting mentality of entitlement leads the immature to believe that they are being wronged if they don’t get theirs. Fulfillment from earned accomplishments is lost.

“The system isn’t fair.” Blame for failures is shifted away from the individual, who sees himself as a victim of societal prejudices against race or gender, capitalistic domination, “corporate greed,” or a flawed legal system. Lost amid all these excuses is a sense of obligation to exert one’s best efforts toward a goal worth achieving.

Mature individuals commonly survive such impractical distortions as those noted above. But today’s public schools regularly teach such modern social philosophies while failing to teach the necessary basics that would give students the tools to achieve self-fulfillment, thereby lessening their chances of becoming rational contestants in the game of life.

What are the dangers to the young and inexperienced who come to believe these flawed views? How many of them will reach the conclusion that they are a victim? How many will resent that they didn’t achieve the position promised? How many will be consumed with rage against perceived unfairness? And how many will allow their resentment and frustration to explode into violent acts in an attempt to achieve notoriety as martyrs against an unfair system?

Talk of “hope” is the latest trend these days, but is usually short on the time-tested outlooks that keep hope alive. Such talk is worthless without a balanced view regarding a person’s responsibilities and a sense of what each member of a free society owes to his fellow citizen.