I'm sure every generation feels that as they get older some values are lost. When I was younger I remember thinking how some of my parents values and concepts were out dated. My father holds some viewpoints that based on today's societal views appear antiquated and out of step. At least at 87 he has the chance to say what he really thinks with little or no repercussion (a big plus for when you get really old - don't be near me when I'm 90).
As I have gotten older I have started to feel that at times my morals and values have become out of step with today's viewpoints.
I'm sure some of it is just me, but all of it is not just me. As a group we seemed obsessed with destroying our own society and its values.
From an article (http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=022107C) "A ban was initiated at the Hilltop Children's Center in Seattle. According to an article in the winter 2006-07 issue of "Rethinking Schools" magazine, the teachers at the private school wanted their students to learn that private property ownership is evil." That just blows my mind. This is just railing against a basic tenet of what the American dream is all about.
We are also moving towards a society that broadens the definition of marriage to allow gay marriages. From there it is a short step to allowing polygamy and perhaps we can go further and allow people to marry their pets. Now I'm not for or against gay marriages, but I'm wondering that if we think marriage is a social norm that we want for our society, then if we widen its definition to include every type of relationship have we essentially destroyed marriage? Is marriage a dead institution and no longer to be desired? My thought is that a marriage needs to be re-evaluated as a whole, but the impact of what we are slowly doing to marriage will eventually destroy the institution of marriage. A marriage has been a way to have a union between a man and a woman in which to start a family. I still believe in marriage and feel more comfortable in that type of relationship and I'm very happy with my second wife.
Responsibility seems to be lacking. I blame our leadership for this. Politicians, corporate leaders and "celebrities" like to do nothing better then to avoid the truth and blame something else. People are caught in blatant lies and just go to rehab, apologize and then move on. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have been two of the most immoral Presidential figures we have had in my memory. This guys have probably committed more felonies that Nixon ever thought of, and yet both seemed destined to serve eight year terms. With irresponsible leaders like this at the top of our food chain how can children respect being responsible.
Lack of respect for the law. This has always been a bad one for me also, because if a law is illogical and wrong I see no reason to obey it. Now with stuff like seat belt laws and such I will obey it to avoid spending money fighting the system, but I believe the disrespect for the law runs even deeper in this country today. Of course when you have what is rapidly becoming a police state, the only proper response is to disrespect the law. We have FBI, Secret Service, Marine Police, CIA, State Police, Transit Police, Housing Police, County and City Police, Sheriff departments and more and more and more people to enforce more and more laws. We have over 2 million people in prison and many for crimes that are questionable if jail will really help them (I'm talking about possession of illegal drugs). Our legal system has become a quagmire that serves to only feed itself by becoming larger and larger and serves to enrich those who navigate the labyrinth.
Still from my vantage point I have seen that this lack of faith in our institutions has caused a general malaise in our populace. I no longer see as many people working for a future when the future can be gutted and re-arranged daily. My owned failed marriage may have caused a distaste in my children for marriage itself. My multiple careers may cause my children to have a lack of faith that they can work towards a future that is stable. If you see an unstable future and you start to wonder where am I going, then you lose the drive to get ahead.
I do understand that I have gone from lost values to just people being lost, but I feel they are connected. Our leaders in both politics and in corporations have shown themselves to be corrupt and immoral. Blow jobs in the White House and cooking the books at Enron are just two examples of many. This teaches people that the morals and values that we preach are shams, so those values become displaced. Nothing has replaced them and we have a society without a compass. That leads to decay and I believe our society is in a decaying state.
Maybe tomorrow is better. We are richer then any other country, live longer then ever before and have access to more information then ever. My hope is we are not in decay we are just in a period of change and hopefully we will be a butterfly when we come out the other end and not a moth.