Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Have you ever watched a person’s thought processes change over time? I have. A former friend of mine cascaded down a path to moral relativism. It was an interesting slide. I watched him go from making minor ethical compromises to a point of legitimizing adultery among many other things. “Whatever makes you happy,” actually became a phrase he used.
As we insult our own sense of conscience that conscience, or, sense of right and wrong becomes blunted. Greater and greater transgressions become acceptable to us as we slide down the slope of moral relativism. We end up in a point where our thinking about what is right and what is wrong becomes almost inverted.
What does all this have to do with Bernie Madoff, and Bunny Rabbits you ask? Well there are quite a few American’s who have slipped down the slope. We see it all around us, and for many of us, this slide is very concerning. Where their individual slides impact our country as a whole is also very concerning.
June 29th, 2009 Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years for “making off” with rich people’s money. Every major news source in America ran the story. I do not have a problem with the sentencing of Mr. Madoff. Most people do not either. In fact the tenor of most blog sites was that he should have gotten far worse. We want our judicial system to protect us from people like Madoff. But, lets look at something that occurred just prior to Mr. Madoff’s sentencing.
June 16th, 2009 David Earls, is sentenced to one year for raping a four year old girl. Not a single article is found searching either the Washington Post or the New York Times. The rapist got a single year. The thief got essentially a life sentence. The rapist brutally molested a four-year-old girl and her five-year-old brother over a period of months. The DA prosecuting the case dropped the charges on the five-year-old boy, and asked for only a one-year sentence for raping the little girl. Hardly any of the mainstream media commented.
In America we have groups of people who support late term abortions, yet become violent at the thought of testing shampoo on the fur of bunny rabbits. It just makes me wonder where we are in our moral sense of what is right. The fact that Madoff got so much press and Earls got so little reflects our sense of moral priorities. Or I should say at least reflects the media’s sense of it. While the system seems to work for those of us wealthy enough to have been taken to the cleaners by Bernie Madoff, little four-year-old girls have very few people willing to stand up for them. The “injustice” of this doesn’t even make the news.
The gulf between some Americans views on what is just is really quiet concerning. Justice flows from our concept of what is right and what is wrong. We punish wrong acts based on the depth of their, well, wrongness. A speeding ticket gets you a small fine while murder typically gets someone a far greater punishment. We see murder as more wrong. We see protecting the innocent as a societal responsibility. Or do we? Some even ask, is there a universal right and wrong? Can we judge the human rights abuses in North Korea if there is no universal right and wrong?
To me, there is a moral right and wrong. I am not talking about religion. There is in every human heart a sense of what is right. If we blunt it by violating it, it becomes easier and easier to do so. The little voice gets more distant and less discernable. It ends in a person with little regard for the life of a child and complete concern for their own wealth. It ends in multiple news articles about a thief, and none about a devastated little girl.
We need some change in this country, I agree with President Obama on that note. It all needs to begin with deep introspection on who we are as people, and who we are as a nation. We need to make this happen, soon. If we continue to slide as individuals, the nation will follow, and our ability as a peoples to impact the world will be lost.