Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lost Values

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 ( "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.


  1. Yippee! A wonderful return to form. I was worried that you might have lost the "touch" with Tuesday's depressionfest... "Oh boo hoo. I can't complain about the government"

    Thank goodness, Sissy Jim is gone and ManlyMan Jim is back!

  2. On a real note... Don't define todays constant change as a lack of direction. I think that change occurs so much faster these days that it is hard to get a true gage of society.

    Every generation thinks that the ones after it are corrupt and going to cause the downfall of society. Just because the values are different doesn't mean they are bad.

    I do believe that there is so much negativity constantly broadcast via news, and other media that it is sometimes hard to see the good that is occuring.

  3. Sometimes, Lee, different is bad. For instance, I believe that the healthiest family unit children can grow up in is having a father and a mother. Broadening the definition of marriage and encouraging such drastically different family units is going to be unhealthy for the children raised in such units.

    As for the idiots that claim private property ownership is evil - bloody communist shit, that's what that is. Claiming that everyone should have an equal share in everything destroys one of the biggest reasons for someone to work hard. After all, why bother busting your butt at work if you don't get anything more for it than what the lazy slackers down the street get?

  4. Lee - Change is accelerated, no doubt, but that does not always equal better. Worse is still worse. When I was a kid my parents could let us run around in the neighborhood and cut through our neighbors back yard, is it better today when no one does that in the same neighborhoods anymore? We never locked our door growing up - in Baltimore City. That does not happen anymore.

    All things have plus and minues and we are in the midst of changing from an industrial society to an information based society. The transition is not always going to be on the plus side.

    Airelle - Thanks. I agree with your points and I think the ultimate outcome will not be an improvement as they change what marriage is in western civilization.

  5. Ok. First, where'd hopeful Jim come from? Where's dark, doom for the future Jim?

    Anyway, a good, more or less balanced piece today. I would point out that the children running through the neighborhood and the unlocked doors are not altogether lost. It happens in my neighborhood and at my house. Not in the city, I'll grant you.

    It's interesting to me that the lack of that and the media negativity seem to be tied together to some degree. There's less threat to home and hearth than is perceived because the perception is so skewed by the constant negative hype, particularly of the local media. But, negative gets more eyeballs than positive. And eyeballs equal dollars.

    As to our two most recent POTUS, can you cite any felonies? I mean, Shrub is inept as all hell and has lied to the public about the rationale for the Iraq War, but did he commit any actual felonies? Clinton's even harder to pin to any felonies. I think lying during a deposition is a misdemeanor. And really, if you think about it, where's the difference between what Bush has done and the constant covert activities of the Eisenhower years, the Vietnam fiasco that enveloped Johnson and Nixon or the Iran-Contra mess of Reagan? Were these POTUS more or less moral than Clinton or Bush? Hell, our most morally upstanding president of the last half of the 20th Century was Carter. He sucked eggs as a POTUS, though.

    As to gay marriage, I'll admit to having a bias in favor of it, as my brother is gay. I'd like to see him have the same right to marry someone he loves and acquire the same legal benefits I got when I got married. And that's really the key. No one is arguing that any religious institution has to recognize a gay marriage. But if being gay is inherently biological, as I am certain that it is, why should those people be forbidden from the same rights of property ownership (tenants by the entirety), estate passage, or medical and family decision making that I have? To me it's akin to saying only white people can get married (heterosexually speaking). And if you're going to deny it on the basis that a family of one man and one woman raising kids is what marriage is for, then any marriage can't end in divorce if there are kids, regardless of how bad that marriage is for the kids. Furthermore, are we going to have the government requiring every couple that wants to get married promise to have or raise kids in order to get a marriage license? What happens if they don't follow through? How long do they have?

    I find it quite ironic that the forces opposed to gay marriage are often those who claim to be in support of less government. However, that appears to only apply to things they want to do and not to things other people might want to do. I think a simple rule of thumb ought to be that any activity that two or more consenting adults want to enter in to, that does not cause direct harm to others not participating, ought to be left alone. For example, drug use would be ok, but drug use followed by driving would be banned. Marriage between any two or more adults would be ok. Marriage to a minor or non-human would be verboten. Hell, my rule is actually more restrictive than current law in many states, as minors can get married in most of the US.

    Finally, don't let the isolated loons lull you into thinking there's a trend. One private school teaching the evils of private property is a small deviation. And really, how about the irony in that? A private school, the pinnacle of monied exclusivity, teaching that private property is evil? How the hell do they stay afloat?

  6. Thomm - We could still be a moth.

    I can't give any specific felonies, but I'm sure Bush has committed some as his blantant disregard for the constitution is self-evident. Also it maybe that many of the ills of the current presidents just see more of the light of day then the former POTUS(s). Still I believe my point is valid.

    Gay marriage is one for me that is easy to solve - Civil Unions - just not marriage. Why not.

    As for education, they are a known source of lunatic thinking, and the one article could be the tip of the iceberg. All of my family who got into education loss some of thier common sense.

  7. Our society is surely in decline. In fact, I think we are on the verge of disaster as hedonism is taking place of responsibility and common sense. The Baby Boomers have ruined this country. Their parents were the greatest generation. Their children are the worst generation. I'm constantly amazed at what human garbage the Baby Boomers have wrought. Inconsiderate, self-centered, immoral and spoiled. These kids complained that the tests were too hard so the parents complained til the standards were lowered. Now we've got a generation of dullards coming of age. The teens and twenty-somethings disgust me. Completely unreliable and irresponsible. Lazy and slack-jawed. Their parents are worse. Obsessed with looking young and feeling hip. Spending thousands on plastic sugeries and wanting to wear the same clothes their teenagers do. 50 is the new 30? What bullshit!

    On top of all this, our governments are vastly corrupt. From the local level to the feds, we are being abused and overtaxed. What freedoms do we really have? Don't even have private ownership of land in this country anymore. This is not the America I knew growing up back in the 70's and 80's. How did we go so wrong? Frelling Baby Boomers and their new age parenting!!!

  8. Actually Daddy, what I feel about marriage has little to do with your marriage to Mommy. I get my opinion on marriage from Uncle Jim - when I was a kid I asked him why he never got married. He told me it was because he believed in marriage. That's why I've told André I won't even consider marrying him until we're both out of undergrad - because to me marriage is something that should be taken seriously. The vows you make are promises that should NOT be broken. I understand divorce... their are certaintly valid reasons for it... but for me personally? I really don't believe in it. So if I'm going to ever got married (as opposed to André and i living in sin for the rest of our lives ;)) I feel as if I need to be in a place where I can make such a commitment. Too many people get married impulsively and that just doens't work as well in today's society - we live much longer lives now.

    As for your jobs... well all that's shown me is that there's no reason to settle, and that even if you're older you can still try new things.

    I can't speak for Jamie of course... :)

  9. Ok. Jeff wins the battle for most cynical. At least for the moment.

    When people go off on the Boomers, as I am want to do myself on occasion, I stop and wonder where I fit in to that equation. I mean, I'm neither Boomer nor a child of a Boomer. My parents were born during WWII. I was born in the late '60s. As much time is spent obsessing on the Boomers and their kids, and the Greatest Generation to a lesser extent, it's like my generations don't even exist.

    Anyway, I'd temper the generalizations. Not all Boomers and their kids are as described. Too many are, though. Fortunately for me, I don't think that's a sign of the end of civilization. We've had similar blips before. Just consider the generation that came of age in the '20s, the so-called Lost Generation.

    So, what can't you do with your land? The most common restriction for land use now is the home owners association, which isn't a government entity. Fortunately for me, I don't live in a community with a home owners association. As to government restrictions, they're almost entirely directed at preventing people from using their land in such a way that it causes harm to others. Can't say as I object to that.

  10. Jim, I almost forgot. I'm fine with civil unions, too. I don't really care what it's called, as long as it has the same legal rights as marriage.