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End to Terror

Some children are “holy terrors.” They gleefully flout rules, destroy property and trample over the rights and feelings of others. This common condition has a medical term attached to it: “conduct disorder.” Perhaps in the past, this condition was treated with a firm hand applied to the seat of the pants. Today, however, it is widely believed that physical discipline is inappropriate and models bad behavior for our children.

Instead there is now much research underway to study this condition and treat children with an integrated approach that includes medication, therapy and behavior modification. The hope is to mainstream the most difficult and disruptive children in the regular educational framework, to keep them out of the criminal justice system, and to help them grow into normal, productive and sociable adults.

The medical term may be new, but the phenomenon is quite an ancient one. From where does the criminal class arise? Why are most people decent and law abiding, while a few flout society's rules at every turn and will do anything to gain an advantage for themselves/ What do we do with children who don't fit into the normal educational framework, who are disruptive and resist all our efforts to teach them?

Throughout history, there have been psychopaths who rose to power and left rivers of blood and tears in their wake. They cared for nothing but maximizing their own control, with complete callousness towards the innocent victims of their conquest. Today, we have teams of educators and therapists to work with children who exhibit the risk of developing psycho-pathology. Perhaps, if we work with them early enough, we can prevent their descent into crime and brutality.

On a global scale as well, we see that in recent years the world's tyrants and despots -- Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Muammar Khadaffi -- may their names be obliterated, have fallen from power and been destroyed. The process is far from complete, but democracy is gradually replacing totalitarianism for a growing proportion of the world's citizens. Wars are fought only to control terrorism and remove despots from power, after which control is handed over to the people. Resources previously devoted to warfare are now being diverted to peaceful means -- education, agriculture, medicine.

A fundamental change in society is underway, in keeping with the prophecy that at the end of exile, even Esau, Jacob's brother and mortal enemy, will be ready for Redemption. We will soon merit the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy: "They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks... Nation shall not lift a sword against nation, and they shall no longer study war."
 

 


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