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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 August 11, 2010/ 1 Elul, 5770

A Far Better ‘National Discussion’

By Arnold Ahlert




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's hard to take a "war"--as in culture war--and reduce it to a single battle. But the symbolism provided by two particular people is highly indicative of where we are today. In 2008, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was forced to resign in disgrace due to the fact that he had spent thousands of dollars on prostitutes. The particular prostitute most closely associated with Spitzer was one Ashley Dupre. Forgetting the law for a moment--including Spitzer's money transfers to a corporate front operated by the prostitution ring, for which he was never prosecuted--one might think that two such people would find life substantially more difficult going forward. One would be completely wrong: Eliot Spitzer has a TV show on CNN, and Ashley Dupre writes a regular column for the Sunday NY Post.

This, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with America today. Bad behavior--or far more accurately, illegal and prosecutable behavior by both parties--is not merely ignored, but rewarded. Even worse, it's completely beyond doubt that, somewhere in America, some schlub and the skank he paid for sex are cooling their heels in jail cells.

In other words, some johns and some hookers are "more equal than others."

Sometimes I wonder about the unspoken or unseen ramifications of such an outcome. For example, what's an aspiring and hard-working student aiming for a career in television supposed to think when he or she knows that the hacks at CNN hired Spitzer precisely because of his outrageous behavior? What are aspiring columnists supposed to think when there's one less writing job available because those "clever" folks at the NY Post think turning a hooker into a sex advice columnist is a great idea?

Americans have long been ambivalent about the difference between fame and infamy. Some of the most despicable people on earth have utterly fascinated us for decades. Bonnie and Clyde were treated like stars by the media at the time, despite the reality that they were bank robbers--and cop-killers. And as recently as two weeks ago, director Oliver Stone, prior to apologizing for it, insisted that Americans need to put the duo of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin "in context." According to Stone, two of the top three mass murderers in the history of the world can't be judged as "only bad or good."

Perhaps Mr. Stone might care to explain what factors "mitigate" the extermination of thirty-five million people.

No doubt Ollie would give it his best effort--and no doubt a number of Americans would agree with him. We are up to our societal necks in the kind of moral relativism that allows for such profoundly misguided thinking. There are substantial numbers of Americans who truly believe right and wrong are completely contextual, or can be "adjusted" as they go along. And the only restraining mechanism on them can be reduced to three words:

Don't get caught.

There is no doubt in my mind that Eliot and Ashley would be up to their old tricks as it were if their behavior had remained undetected. In today's America, there literally millions of ways to rationalize almost anything. Legions of guys just like Spitzer tell themselves they are "above" such mundane restraints as monogamy, even as legions of young girls tell themselves married women "get men to spend money on them, and I'm just skipping the marriage part."

Although he was referring to a different subject, the late Patrick Moynihan's words ring truer than ever: America is in a constant process of "defining deviancy down." That which used to shock no longer does. In fact, "shocking," "outrageous," and "disgusting" might be the quickest route to fame and fortune these days.

Far more importantly however, is the effect defining deviancy down has on government: it is my contention that the expansion of the state at every level is directly attributable to our moral meltdown. For example, there is no longer any real stigma attached to having a child--or several children by several different men--out of wedlock, and paying for their upkeep with a welfare check. People are no longer ashamed of taking a government handout even if they are perfectly capable of working. People who paid for more house than they could afford, expect a bailout. Nearly half the country is content to pay no income taxes to underwrite the greatest nation on earth.

In fact, government today spends billions upon billions of dollars subsidizing what used to be considered rotten behavior. And it does so in ways that actually encourage more rotten behavior--as the phrase "too big to fail" so aptly illustrates.

Regular readers of my columns know I spend a lot of time talking about morality. The reason for this is simple: no society, even one with a document as brilliantly written as the Constitution, can withstand large-scale confusion regarding right and wrong. If one takes the Constitution for what it really is--a contract between the people and the government--that which is written down only has meaning if both parties maintain "good faith."

Nothing destroys good faith quicker than moral ambiguity. Think about how many Supreme Court decisions have been 5-4 votes with the exact same members ending up on the exact same side, even on issues which should have been slam dunks. Think about the fact that, for the first time in five thousand years, the definition of the word "marriage" is up for grabs. Think about the fact that many Americans consider overt law-breaking OK because they refuse to make the distinction between "legal" and "illegal" alien--or that perjury and obstruction of justice is excusable when it's "only about sex."

What happened? Secular Humanism happened. Those who rejoiced when it was declared that "G0d is dead" thought they were ushering in an age of enlightened thinking. What we got instead was a societal free-for-all--millions of Americans "doing their own thing" completely freed from the burden of taking responsibility for the consequences. Completely unencumbered by former brake pedals of society known as guilt and shame.

Much like government debt, such a societal ethos is also unsustainable. A society which makes little distinction between right and wrong, good and evil--or needy and lazy--is headed for the ash heap of history.

People like Eliot Spitzer and Ashley Dupre, along with countless others, are the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. That they are where they are today--along with the enablers who put them there--is an indication that "playing it straight" is rapidly becoming a sucker's bet. Why bother to learn writing or the skills necessary to perform on TV if something as easy as a well-publicized roll in the sack will take you to the same place? Why bother being good when bad works just as well--if not better?

Countless times I've heard we need a "national discussion" regarding race. I think a national discussion about morality is far more important. I trust the American public can spot the difference between those who are sincere--and those who are demagoguing phonies hiding behind ideological bromides.

Maybe we can't stuff the proverbial genie back in the bottle. But if we don't make the effort, I suspect future generations will marvel about a society that seemingly had everything--and tossed it all away for little more than an instant gratification that became far more fashionable than hard work and moral restraint.

Are Americans ready for this kind of conversation?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many 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 Arnold Ahlert's column, by clicking here.



Previously:


08/09/10:
It's ‘Only’ One Dead Nun
08/06/10: Incremental Tyranny
08/04/10: Ground Zero Mosque: Context Counts
08/02/10: The Arizona Ruling: a Gift for November
07/29/10: The United Cities of America
07/26/10: JournoList: ‘Coordinated’ Ideological Bankruptcy
07/20/10: Go For Broke Or Get Out of the Way
07/14/10: You're a Liberal/Progressive if You Believe…
07/12/10: $33-an-hour--For Sleeping On the Job
07/08/10: Extortionist Government
07/06/10: ‘Commerce Clause’ Totalitarians
07/01/10: Another Public School Travesty in MA
06/30/10: Calling YOUR Bluff, Mr. President
06/28/10: A Trifecta of Progressive Corruption
06/23/10: Plug the Darn Hole --- In Our Border
06/21/10: Our Empty-Suit-in-Chief
06/16/10: Betraying Our Children
06/14/10: Who Gets the Benefit of the Doubt?
06/07/10: Politically Correct Warfare
06/01/10: Bill Maher's ‘Black’ President
05/25/10: A Mosque At Ground Zero
05/23/10: Libs Stand Tall --- For Mexico
05/19/10: The 'Unintended Consequences' of Liberalism
05/17/10: 'Los' Suns: Stuck on Stupido
05/12/10: Union Audacity: Yes We Will!
05/10/10: Greeks, Leaks and and Double-Speak
05/05/10: Twelve Million Illegals --- or Thirty?
05/02/10: Republicans: Playing Not to Lose Doesn't Cut It
04/28/10: Arizona: Progressivism's Waterloo?
04/26/10: Son of Amnesty
04/22/10: Mortgages and Moral Meltdowns
04/20/10: Bashing Christians — Or Gays?
04/15/10: Personal Integri-‘tea’
04/12/10: Fools, Tools and Ghouls
04/08/10: (Tea) Party On
04/05/10: The Triumph of Mediocrity
04/02/10: Two For the Road
03/29/10: The Innate Immorality of Liberalism
03/24/10: The Art of War
03/22/10: I Want My Country Back
03/18/10: A Perpetual Process
03/17/10: American Exhibitionists
03/15/10: A Light Bulb Moment of Clarity
03/10/10: Little Things Mean A Lot
02/03/10: Budgetary Fork in the Road
02/01/10: Liberal Economic Illiteracy
01/27/10: ‘Roe-ing and Wade-ing’ Back to Reason
01/25/10: Arrogance When Up, Denial When Down
01/20/10: Connecting the Educational Dots
01/19/10: The Next Tea Party?
01/15/10: The Myth That Keeps on Giving
01/13/10: Airport Security Begins Away From the Airport
01/11/10: Secrets and Lies
01/08/10: Embracing Bigotry — or Rejecting Bullying?
01/06/10: Hanging by an Ideological Thread
01/04/10: Our ‘Wonderama’ Bureaucracy
12/30/09: A Day Off
12/28/09: Dangerous Myths
12/25/09: I, Me, Mine
12/23/09: A Very Harry Christmas
12/21/09: My Opinon
12/18/09: The Party of Repeal
12/15/09: Privileged Exemption
11/30/09: ‘Settled’ Science and Unsettled Children
11/30/09: American Sharia Law
11/23/09:The Trial (Travesty) of the Century
11/04/09: American Vampires and Their Political Enablers
11/01/09: ‘Opting Out’ of Insanity?
10/28/09: Cell Phones Cause Brain Cancer. Brain Required
10/26/09: Communism: Nazism With Better PR
10/21/09: Just Asking
10/16/09: Cost Projections vs. Actual Costs, or Hope and Change vs. Reality
10/14/09: News you can use …
10/07/09: Incremental Insidiousness
10/05/09: MIA: Common Sense and Common Decency
09/30/09: Iran: Bad Options and Unpreparedness
09/21/09: Crying Racism: the Last Refuge of Scoundrels
09/11/09: 9/11 Cannot Be Sanitized
09/08/09: ‘Truthers’ and Consequences
09/01/09: A ‘Paper Trail’ Challenge for the Mainstream Media
08/31/09: Drowning in Amorality
08/26/09: The Republican Recovery Program

© 2010, Arnold Ahlert

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