Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 11, 2007 / 25 Sivan, 5767

We've loosened up plenty

By Tom Purcell


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I don't see what everybody is so worried about. We should have loosened up our social mores years ago.

Ah, yes, you speak of Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey. It found that Americans are worried about the state of morality. Nearly 50 percent think our moral values are poor. Eight out of 10 think our morality is getting worse.

It's the older, church-going conservatives who feel this way.

The poll did break down along some interesting fault lines. People who attend church are much more likely to think morality is in bad shape than those who do not.

I figured.

Whereas 45 percent of Republicans believe moral conditions are poor, only 38 percent of Democrats feel so. The gap widens along ideological lines: 49 percent of conservatives think moral conditions are poor versus 32 percent of liberals.

Liberals like loose morals — gives us more to do on the weekend!

The widest gap is between young and old. Only 31 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 think moral conditions are poor versus 51 percent of those over 65.

Older generations always think younger generations are less moral.

Your point is well taken, but perhaps things really are getting worse. In the 1950s, for instance, older generations said Elvis was vulgar and immoral — that his music was sexually suggestive and corrupting the young.

My point exactly. Elvis was the greatest!

But compare his lyrics to many of today's hit songs and it is clear things have gotten worse. Many of today's lyrics are not about romance but the biological act of sex or cheating or jealousy. They're often misogynistic and demeaning to women. Elvis celebrated love and romance. Too many of today's songs celebrate human nature at its most base.

You're entitled to your opinion.

You raise an interesting point. Is morality just a matter of opinion? That's what a lot of people believe these days. That if it feels good, go for it. That in a world of moral relativism, there are no objective moral standards — only personal choices.

That's right. It's a free world.

Yes, and in such a world, people have lost their ability to discern. They're unable to say one thing is bad and another thing is good. They cannot say that some of Elvis' music was great and that some of today's rap music is horrible. But the truth is some things are better than other things. Some things are morally better.

You're treading on dangerous ground, buddy.

Perhaps we should define morality. The American Heritage Dictionary says that morality is the quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct. It is a system of ideas of right and wrong conduct — VIRTUOUS conduct.

Yeah, what of it?

Greek philosophers had names for virtuous conduct. They believed prudence, temperance, courage and justice were virtues all people should strive to master. By mastering virtue, we become MORAL.

Sounds like a lot of work to me.

On the flip side, we should avoid immorality. We should fend off excessive pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. These are known as the seven deadly sins.

They're also the activities that make up most of my social life.

It's not complicated, but we've complicated it. There is good in this world and there is evil. There has always been an objective morality. We ignore it at our own peril — and our culture has been ignoring it for a while now.

Says you.

No, says a lot of people. That is why more than one-third of American births are to unwed mothers — double what they were in 1980. It's why popular culture has gotten excessively vulgar and cynical. It's why many experience a breakdown in civility and good manners every day.

You need to loosen up.

We've loosened up plenty. That's why so many worry that basic morality is in swift decline in America.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR Contributor Tom Purcell's column, by clicking here. To visit his web site, click here.


ARCHIVES

© 2007, Tom Purcell

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles