The Web of Life: Weaving the Values That Sustain Us
a book by Richard Louv
(our site's book review)
As usual, Louv communicates his insightful vision of a community of connectedness. He notes that: “The cultural and political mistake of the ‘70s and ‘80s was the assumption that institutional or personal renewal could be accomplished without connection to community or to the next generation. . . . Across the country you can sense the emergence of the culture of renewal. It may not win, but it’s growing, steady and sure.” He is saying that these naive assumptions suffered from reductionism and lack of holistic insight. Community is the essential context for such institutional or personal renewals and without it the renewals would be hollow. Don Eberly (Building a Community of Citizens: Civil Society in the 21st Century) explains in great detail why such a context is essential. And the Communitarian Network, in The Responsive Communitarian Platform, does the same.
The alternative to using a community of connectedness as the context of social evolution and/or empowering successful social and family life is to try to use the discredited methods of political salvationism and social engineering via experts, agencies, professionals, bureaucracies, and intervention, since "it is obvious that humans are too stupid to create a family life without bureaucratic aid." The 20th century is a bloody testament to why political salvationism and social engineering are exactly the wrong ways to effect social changes for the better, since these things usually do more harm than good.
Let's quit looking to social engineering superheroes and rely on local community efforts
The bureaucrats have been foot-dragging because to admit that we now know what to do is to talk themselves out of a job, so they say we need to 'study' it more (so the 'experts' will stay employed!) The bottom line is that kids are getting a raw deal because the social support networks kids and families need are weak or absent. We get it! They know it and we know it and we DO know what to do about it. Check this website! There is no money for socialistic programs run by Big Government heroes, nor would they work. So the people will have to quit looking for political heroes to save them and START BEING TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN LIVES, CHILDREN, AND FAMILIES. IF THEY DO SO ACCORDING TO THE WISDOM IN OUR NOVEL The Forest Through The Trees, THEY'LL NO LONGER NEED 'EXPERTS' BECAUSE THEY, THEMSELVES, WILL BECOME THEIR OWN EXPERTS!
He believes that neighbors and citizens all need to feel the web of interdependence that will make them take care of one another’s children as these children go about being kids in various places and as they travel from here to there in our towns and cities. It is up to us all to make them safe. He also believes in and gives examples of citizen actions that help turn around neglected inner-city or neighborhood social problems.
Parents often don't even let their kids walk to a friend's house that is a few blocks away—they mistrust the community
The reason parents drive their kids around and often don't even let their kids walk to a friend's house that is a few blocks away is that they do not trust their neighbors or their community. Only a few decades ago parents had some trust in the members of their local community and kids could walk a few blocks to the store or to school, but that has vanished most places. Many older kids are "watched via cell phones" or GPS tools which can be smartphone apps. We concur that we need a web of interdependence that will make community members take care of one another’s children, but since that's the opposite of the way things are, we need MCs, where there's something more than a web of interdependence that will make them take care of one another’s children: People actually DO take care of each other's kids as if they were their own—including childcare. The only social construction that trumps a well-functioning community is a well-functioning microcommunity (MC).