Modernity & Morality
The Cultural Revolution changed what constitutes the good by suppressing the established social constructs. This breakdown of the natural boundaries of civilized society allowed the implementation of a wholesale redesign of the culture. This new thinking supplanted time-honored behaviors and discarded any moral or spiritual perspective—now thought to be excess baggage. It was time to collapse the walls of propriety and dispense with the rules.
The perpetrators quickly and quietly amassed their powers to effect this change confident in success. They correctly surmised the average individual would not stand up for what is right if it meant being exposed to ridicule or taking direct action. Besides, most were simply convinced it was time to change antiquated mores to free appetites from any attending guilt. However, Fulton Sheen warned, “There has been no single influence which…has done more to lower the moral tone of society than the denial of personal guilt.”
Regrettably, the proliferation of lifestyle experimentation sent a message of a less rigid life and promoted a reason to dismantle traditional attitudes towards work, family, morality and civility. This was done at the cost of subordinating the pursuit of excellence and focusing on mediocrity as a standard sufficient to all tasks. Coupled with lowered standards was the willingness to endorse deviance as an acceptable form of behavior.
Turning hearts and minds away from those ingrained habits of faith, reason and common sense undermined the cohesiveness of societal thought. The major change was the disassembling the sanctity of life and personal responsibility. The moral consensus towards sex, substance abuse, hard work and honesty were consigned to the past altering our view of each other and the world in which we live.
To attract the masses necessary to effect such a change, the gospel of group rights was directed to minorities. The Civil Rights Movement impacted civil society by providing a blueprint for every group with a cause who wanted to impose their agenda or supposed victim hood on the public’s collective conscience.
Emotion, hormones or political agendas do not determine proper behavior. Right reason and common sense promote the common good. This process is indispensable to sustain cultural values and moral ties that bind a nation. Yet the most important determinant of appropriate behavior is the moral courage to accept only rational standards as social norms.
When a culture abandons its duty of transferring its collective wisdom and moral heritage to the next generation it finds itself poised on the brink of decay—a decay created by placing group rights over those of the individual. Anglican convert and priest, Ronald Knox, understood, “Disobedience to conscience on the part of a large multitude is apt to produce an erroneous conscience in society at large.”
Sadly, society by its lack of condemnation provides the balm for those who are fugitives from the demands of conscience. The acceptance of license is fatal to liberty. Deviance for the Hell of it, may indeed, be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
http://www.catholic.org FL, US
Dan Shea - Retired, 661 869-1000
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