What Ever Happened to Common Sense, Values, Morals and Integrity?
By Daria M. Brezinski, PhD
For many years, I have researched the History of Education discovering that in the 18th and early 19th centuries, the textbooks predominantly educated school children in morals, values, integrity, loyalty and a host of other virtues or what I call ‘Soft Skills’. Children read about adventures, faced problems and experienced the challenges of life with the knowledge that these tests and challenges built character. Rather than avoiding them, children were taught to take responsibility for their actions, seek the ‘high ground’, value human life, and consider the rights and feelings of others, much like the heroes they read about. But the heroes of our modern era display questionable character flaws which are considered the ‘norm’, subliminally teaching children that this is appropriate and normal behavior. When did accumulating money, prestige and power over others become the formula for a successful society and culture to survive and thrive?
RECENT EXPERIENCES; DECLINE IN MORALS AND VALUES
This article has been formulated by recent and previous experiences both personally and professionally which have prompted me to wonder whether or not society and our culture is on the decline and can ever recover from this downward spiral with loss of values, morals, common sense and integrity.
It appears that the ‘meek’ will not inherit the earth but be buried beneath it. The vulnerable that lack discrimination and discernment skills are prey to vultures looking to make a fast dollar no matter what the cost. The list of recent experiences is vast:
• Business partners who run off with the funds to foreign countries that do not extradite
• While trying to raise money for the benefit of poor women and children, fund raising efforts brought the most unethical antique dealers, auctioneers and business people to the fore that deliberately hide the value of objects for their own personal gain. Really?
• Individuals who combine professions and receive certification in a variety of conflicting occupations then pose as a ‘friend’ to clients- someone who is an insurance agent, financial manager and tax preparer all- in- one who invests client’s money, in the very insurance company he is an agent, reinvesting yearly in short term enterprises to make money for himself while his client naively loses it. Then prepares the client’s taxes to hide unscrupulous dealings.
• People, who in the name of good business, take courses to determine how to recognize the most vulnerable and capitalize on them- the sick, elderly, parents of sick or problem children, the newly divorced or loss of a spouse, single mothers, the list goes on….
• Major Marketing campaigns that target through fear tactics like the prescription drugs industry.
• Caregivers who seek out the elderly and weak that have no families to protect them and steal.
• Medical practitioners, especially those at teaching hospitals, who use their knowledge and expertise to frighten patients into unnecessary tests and procedures for the purposes of giving students ‘experience’ and apprenticeships as well as overcharging for the procedures to replenish coffers.
• The news dominates with clergy and people in authority like educators and those who care for children, who are predators to the vulnerable and weak.
• Husbands who ask their wives to stay home to raise children and halt their career only to turn around and leave them years later for a younger woman, and the wife with no income or assets, propelling the children often into poverty and destitute circumstances.
• Judges, lawyers and mediators who are driven by wealth and power instead of individual welfare and rights.
The list is endless. Discrimination and discernment skills require us in the modern era to have a skewed sense of trust; “trust people to be human” that is, with human frailties and driven by the worst motivations. How sad we are!
The Paradox: What is wrong with us?
• Why is it that we pay millions of dollars to people who pretend to be someone else (actors) yet if one tries to be someone else in daily life, we berate or arrest them as imposters?
• Why is it we pay millions of dollars to people at the top when it is the people at the bottom who do all the grunt work often in squalor or poverty wages?
• Why is it we are willing to pay a golfer for beating up a small ball millions yet we pay preschool teachers minimum wage to mold the minds of our children at the formative years of their lives when molding them really counts?
• Why is it someone will pay thousands of dollars for a baseball card yet not for updating text books in the classroom?
• Why is it we think nothing of paying thousands of dollars for clothing to wear once or even hang in the closet when children among us go without clothing or are hungry?
• Why is it the politicians who are supposed to represent us and consider the public welfare, vote to give themselves raises and get paid by lobbyists but take away money from single mothers and poor children?
• Why is it we think nothing of paying for a $12 ticket to the movie or to eat out yet balk at putting $12 a week in a savings account?
• Why do we value people who bet on our failures (hedge funds) yet expect children to demonstrate perfect behavior (or we drug them into complacency) and do not give them the coping skills to deal with failure?
• We tell children all the time how much we value their having an education yet the subliminal messages sent through the media is that we do not. Where is the section of the newspaper that is dedicated to all of the great things children do in schools or education in general? Where is the TV Channel that promotes the qualities of learning rather than people banging into each other to relieve aggression and call it a ‘game’? And wonder why our children do not value being mathematicians or scientists. The message is that fame and celebrity comes more with stupidity and outlandishness than intelligence.
• We say we believe in god or “In God we Trust” while few participate in religious ceremony but rather worship the god of Capitalism, Fame and Power.
• We encourage our children to become doctors and lawyers yet resent having to pay them when we need their services.
• We know that after thousands of years of breeding the dog from the wolf into 400+ canine varieties, that breeding for specific characteristics often leaves dogs with genetic mutations- bull dogs are prone to growths on the brain and spine, Dalmatians to blindness, etc. Yet, medicine continues to experiment with the designer human- changing DNA in the womb for sexual orientation, health genes, eye color OR implants technology into the body OR prescribes synthetic pharmaceuticals taken generation after generation.
• We KNOW from longitudinal studies from Denmark, Sweden and the US that environmental stressors and starvation alter the genetic code and health of a family from the second and third generation onward (just like the bible says “the sins of the parents go on to the second and third generation). Yet, we do not assure everyone has ‘real food’ to eat especially the poor; we allow for unhealthy aerosols, cleaning products and building products to permeate our structures and lives; allow the water, air and soil to be contaminated AND EXPECT that it does not affect future generations. Really?
Am I the only one who sees the paradoxes and decline of values, morals, integrity and common sense of our society and culture?
What Ever Happened to Common Sense, Values, Morals and Integrity?