Legends on the rise and fall of great societies permeate history with certain threads, like the demise of the common culture leading the list as one of the prime harbingers of “doom”. Yes, that word “doom” comes to mind quite frequently, presaging our presumed ineluctable fated demise. Warning signs, both large and small, abound, blaring out endless streams of our culture and Judeo-Christian value system in full retreat to the relentless moral relativist message.
Some retreat for public relations reasons, like Wal-mart this past weekend (story here). The EBT system failed last Saturday in 17 states, leading to EBT recipients debit cards showing no limits. News reports indicate that in several states Wal-mart stores were crammed with customers filling slews of shopping carts with groceries and “checking out”, swiping their EBT card, which they knew did not have the funds to cover the amount of groceries “purchased” (stolen). The corollary would be long ago when people used personal checks more often and supposing you wrote a check for your purchases knowing you did not have money to cover the purchase. There’s no difference besides the fact that media handlers will guide Wal-mart and the image of Wal-mart tracking down “poor people” for criminal prosecution over this blatant thievery might look like the giant retailer is picking on the little people. Wal-mart will likely end up eating this loss and due to American social conditioning, way too many people will use moral relativism to guide their moral reasoning in the matter – saying things like “Wal-mart can afford it” or “Wal-mart screws over the little guy all the time so turn around is fair play”. Sure, in this case some Wal-mart management in the affected states made the call to let the sales go through rather than stop the theft and they failed to follow the proper procedure in place to call Xerox when EBT cards aren’t working properly.
In this same above-mentioned scenario the more disturbing behavior is that of the crowds of people who flooded Wal-mart stores to steal food in broad daylight, with no moral hesitation. The problem with government hand-outs is the people start beginning to believe these programs really are “entitlements” and thus they never spend a moment’s notice wondering about taking other people’s money as their own, nor do they worry about stealing food from Wal-mart. Taking stuff that is not yours is stealing, no matter the twisted semantics used to rationalize it. To delve further into this moral relativist hellish enslavement of the mind I urge you to read the article Justin linked in a comment here yesterday, “Contemporary Liberal Doublethink: Welfare = Self-Reliance”. The thieves in this scenario won’t bother to “think or reason” about their thievery, no, these are pack animals – used to being led, with no will to think for themselves nor will they ponder things like civic duty, aspiring to become better human beings or much beyond their instant gratification.
PJ Media offered this truly excellent piece written by a writer who pens under the pseudonym, Bookworm, titled “The Surprising Reason Americans Are Vulnerable to Moral Relativism”, which although lengthy, definitely rates the time. This writer posits that our American embrace of Anne Frank’s idealistic belief: “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”, creates a syllogism as described in this passage:
“Thanks to those words, Americans accept that “people are truly good at heart.” This belief creates a syllogism, one that sees Americans claiming that it must be a lie when someone dares to claim that another group doesn’t meet certain moral absolutes. How can there be moral absolutes when all “people are truly good at heart”?”
The author goes on to explain why Anne Frank’s simple idealistic belief was not only wrong in her own personal life, where she perished in the Holocaust, but it is simply wrong for mankind, in general. People aren’t truly good at heart – that part takes a great deal of civilizing effort, both in the home and in society in general, hence we used to call it “civil society”. Aristotle offered his definition, “a shared set of norms and ethos, in which free citizens on an equal footing lived under the rule of law”, which puts us on firmer footing than most of the opining from American academics in recent decades. We need that shared set of norms and ethos as the glue to hold our splintering, divided country together. Cutting through the leftist doublethink presents a daunting challenge, but unless we commit to “winning the hearts and minds” of Americans on the importance of being “good citizens”, where “rights” rest right next to “civic duty”, we’ll continue to drift, creating an ever-widening no man’s land, rather than to use a military metaphor and which I use as my gravatar, “march under one flag”. We must become a country under one flag again – we must become American citizens first, political partisans second.