Star Parker
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Cultural differences do appear to come into play in the manner in which destructive emotions and hopelessness are given vent.

In the Arab world, it appears that hopelessness translates into giving death a positive value. Hence, we see young children seduced into blowing themselves up.

In our free Western culture, hopelessness translates into nihilistic behavior that leads to the same kind of self-destruction.

In one minute, an Arab child detonates a bomb and blows himself up. He's encouraged by distorted leaders, offering up politics dressed up as religion.

Nihilism is slower. Michael Jackson, in full view of the American public, has been destroying himself for years. This destruction is the product of a general sense of pointlessness and meaninglessness. Rather than being nurtured by political leaders, it is fed by a gross materialism that transmits to a child that it doesn't matter what he does or how he lives. If you have talent, adoring fans, also driven by the same emptiness, will provide further encouragement.

When the house is burning, the first job is to put out the fire. Then you can take time to try to understand how it got started.

As destructive attitudes and emotions transcend culture, the principles that light the path out of frustration and emptiness also apply universally.

Regardless of circumstances, regardless of culture, eyes need to be refocused inward rather than outward, values and personal responsibility need to define the day, and the hard work needs to start. There is simply no alternative.

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Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.