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A Post-Moral Society?

April 3, 2015

                                                              Published on TheHill.com

 

That’s right—PMS. Recent news items, coupled with our everyday life experiences, should make us wonder just how far along the continuum of “What difference does it make, anyway?” we have traveled while accountability and personal responsibility have, apparently, become passé.  

            Like icebergs cracking, melting, and sliding into the sea, doomed to the vagaries of climate cycles, the Judeo-Christian moral standards that have arched our attempts at civilization for over three millennia as embodied by and devolved from the tablets of Moses—the Ten Commandments—are likewise being eroded by a non-judgmental, anything goes mentality that shows no sign of braking. Several topline examples underscore the point:

1.     The IRS scandal that cannot find justice for a rogue agency that decided to target individuals and groups exercising their constitutionally protected guarantee to free speech. Managers and agency heads have thus far escaped even a mild, official reprimand for misleading, deceiving, and perhaps, lying under oath before Congress.

2.     Similarly, those with key pieces of information about the 9/11/12 attack on Benghazi which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya, had been secreted, along with vital records, and we may never have the real answers.

3.     Our Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton, conveniently decided, against all rules and policies, to use private email accounts for official business—which presumably, involved highly sensitive, if not classified information. Allegedly, after being notified on October 28, 2014, to turn over her email stash to Congress, she erased all but the few she surrendered, granting herself a number of unusual liberties in the process.

4.     Most recently, the New York Times has opined that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, under charges for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, should go unpunished, despite the perilous example that might set for our armed forces at large, not to mention that noble Americans died attempting to retrieve him from enemy hands.

            Thus far, every one of the individuals involved in these highly public scandals has never had a day of accounting. Like Teflon, nothing has stuck to any of them and their strategy seems to be to simply not respond in any meaningful way. Kept up long enough, the miscreants and their attorneys believe, public air will eventually deflate each issue.

            It’s no wonder then, that according to a recent PRRI survey reported in The Washington Post (March 27), one out of three millennials no longer identifies with organized religion—and its commandments?—over half say that having an abortion may be the best decision, depending upon one’s personal circumstances. Thus, a majority opposes the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby stance because access to contraception is seen as essential to a woman’s financial security. Many millennials evidently prefer to have this priority subsidized by everyone else.

            These findings are buttressed by a 2013 Pew Research Center study in which (in the U.S.) 40% of those surveyed, 18 and older, say that abortion is either acceptable (17%) or not a moral issue (23%). Interestingly, while nearly a quarter of millennials in the PRRI survey believe marriage is outdated, 17% of the Pew sample believe that extramarital affairs are acceptable (7%) or not a moral issue (10%). Freedom—and morality—are indeed, situational. As for financial security, the quarter who think marriage is outdated in the PRRI poll have apparently not absorbed the findings of The Cato Institute: for a woman with one or more children, keys to keeping her out of poverty are education, a job, and a committed mate.

            This is the tip of that iceberg. Generations past may have fretted about morality’s slide to oblivion, but those were times when accountability and personal responsibility were not just words. They were real. They were minimum expectations for all of us. Perhaps, no more.

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