Taking the temperature!
1. Is there a general decline of morality on every level, i.e. elected public officials, celebrities, and “Joe-the-plumber,” or is it centered in a particular group or stratus?
2. Is there morality without religion? If yes, please give examples. If non, why not?
3. What is the current “morality” of the United States? Why?
4. Is there any excuse for bad behavior (whatever that may be)?
The 10 Commandments ~ Outdated?
MY OBSERVATION is that our American culture has been sliding downhill since the 60’s, and unlike some, I do not necessarily blame it on the removal of prayer from schools. I look at the disintegration of the American family as the microcosm of the step by step elimination of morality in America. In my mind, a number of things factor into what I see as an obvious decline in general morality.
A general mental numbness among most family oriented people coming out of the 50’s into the early 60’s. Americans knew what was expected of them: they went to work, they went to school, they did their thing, but they did it according to the established mores, based on the Christian foundations of our nation. They went to church, synagogue, or used that time as “family time” to have a picnic, or go to dinner, This had nothing really to do with a church or religion as much as it did basic fundamental morality .i.e the 10 Commandments. TO my knowledge, there is nothing contained in the 10 Commandments that contradicts the basic tenets of any other major religion. And whenever those failed, we could always fall back on the Golden Rule. I’d wager the majority of our young people today – those under 25, have no idea what the Golden Rule is or its meaning.
Korea and View Nam. These conflicts/wars were undefined and increasingly unpopular. In addition, and more importantly, it was the first time the media was permitted on the front lines, and they quickly learned sensational sells! They didn’t show us the victories, the heroic acts of our troops, or the desire of the South Vietnamese for our support. Instead, they showed us the frustration, the ugliness, the tragedy of war. Then these brave service men and women had to come back to ridicule and harassment from every angle on top of their own personal war baggage, PTSD, etc. These vets didn’t receive the help they needed to re-enter society, but were faced with the “horrors” everyday life in the USA in a different “morality.”
"Father Knows Best" - One of many families that flooded TV
“If it feels good, do it!” Free love and the tearing down of authority marked the decade of the 60’s and continued through the 70’s. Many things once held “sacred” were mocked or devalued. Responsible leadership was despised. No one over 30 was trustworthy. Rules were seen only as things to question and eventually destroy. Rebellion was glamorous and desirable. If the government could break the “rules” and fight in Viet Nam, then we could break the rules, too. “Free love” was the cry of a group of “hippies” from Haight-Ashbury, CA. The stereotype included psychedelic drugs (LSD, mescaline, and opium mixtures of various and sundry sorts) and “head” music with raging guitars and pounding percussion mixed with lyrics that questioned gov’t, questioned our involvement in Viet Nam, and social conventions. Hippies wore Wild, colorful clothing and headbands, tie dye and every other person played guitar. All sexual boundaries were removed, and those who bought their lifestyle and attempted to mimic it. Living together became much more common and openly done.
Disenfranchised soldiers rejected and mocked.
The ME generation was born! Instead of weighing every action, thought and word by society’s standards, it suddenly became the norm to think only of self. Couples no longer needed to “commit” to one another, they stayed as long as they wanted then moved on. Same sex relationships started to become more open. The only consideration young people, in particular, had was their own needs, desires, and understanding. The concepts of “community” and even “family” greatly diminished.
"Woodstock" - an outdoor music festival in NY attended by 500,000 youths in 1969
Less about the whole and more about ME!
Right and Wrong - who decides?
These are at least 4 of the major reasons for what looks like the serious social malaise in which we find ourselves today. Kids killing kids, kids making babies, the “family” structure has disintegrated, generations of government dependents, an outrageous number of homeless. The majority of Americans have reverted to an isolationist attitude with personal privacy (the ultimate self-preservation) being held as the optimum social goal. True at least until an emergency, then slowly but surely neighbors remember neighbors and communities reach out to help other communities.
My question is … why can’t we LIVE there … eager to help one another, eager to talk to one another. Why can’t we live as caring neighbors everyday? THAT is morality!