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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO “RIGHT AND WRONG?”
May 21, 2019
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
Prejudice and racism are base and truly stupid mindsets. No one can be, nor should be blamed for not selecting the “appropriate” parents or the circumstances of his birth. So hating a fellow human for being born different from us is insane. And yet, such beliefs are pervasive. Why?
All babes are born innocent, without blemish. As they gain cognition, they amass a database of inputs from their surroundings and caregivers. That is why parenting is such an important undertaking. To imprint inappropriate thoughts onto the blank slate that is the eager infant is a sin, even if the culprit doesn’t believe in sin. And, while no one can control his or her entry into this world, early on each of us must begin making choices. Those choices become more and more complex with age, and without guiding principles, poor choices made early and those made later can have a great impact on the sort of life we will lead. In a secular society, bereft of a higher sense of purpose, choices often devolve to whatever “feels good” or “feels right” at the moment.
For a preschooler, poor “choices” may not have a lifelong devastating effect, but, unguided, as time goes on, making choices without a standard against which to weigh good and bad and right and wrong, a young person may end up with such a soiled, early record that success in later life – adulthood – may be very difficult to achieve.
Recognizing that some kids don’t have appropriate role models and/or lack the benefits of religious constructs or a supportive home setting, society today often eases the rules that blur right and wrong so as not to attach a record to young miscreants for youthful misdemeanors or even petty crimes. Thus, in D.C. and elsewhere, liberal administrators decided to ignore such things as “turnstile jumping” on the Metro, to the extent that juveniles ride for free and sneer at those who pay their fares. Then, when some of those “freeloaders” become more full of themselves, they sometimes up the ante by threatening paying riders and even stealing their belongings, physically abusing them, or both. The same sort of laxity in identifying and not wishing to correct bad behavior led to the tragic school shootings in Parkland, Florida where an obviously troubled teen was not corrected or treated despite repeated instances of unacceptable behaviors.
We wring our hands and wonder why today school shootings, teen pregnancies, drug abuse, and poor life choices seem to recur more frequently than before, in earlier times. What are the differences between then and now? Here’s a start on that list. Secular authorities who pretended to “know better” than us hoi polloi long ago decided that the Ten Commandments and the Pledge of Allegiance had no place in the schools, or even in the public square in many cases. The “Big Ten” were not “suggestions”; they were commandments, to be ignored at one’s peril, but never mind. On the other hand, what was horrid about ‘Thou shalt not kill” or Thou shalt not steal” or “Honor thy father and mother…”? And those Big Ten were replaced by? By what? Doctor Feelgood? Once again, tossing the Ten Commandments and the Pledge was a “choice.” How was that choice measured? By whom? Why? Children were not to be influenced by venerable standards of right vs. wrong, or by love of country? Who said so? Why? What replaces such symbols?
Choices. We make them individually and collectively as a society, and we start choosing early. But what is our guidance? What is our yardstick? How do the young and impressionable learn right from wrong? Who are their mentors? Where were you and I when those “choices” were being debated? What else is being cooked up out of our sight?