There was a time in all our lives when the question was easily answered. Perhaps you like I sat on Santa's lap and heard him ask "have you been good this year? It really a seemed pretty simple question then didn't it? I mean you had to think a bit, but only about the answer, not about the question. "Good" didn't need any explaining, it was something your gut sort of forced into your mind. At times you probably didn't know how you knew or why you knew, but you knew. And the fact is its still probably the same for you today if you think about it. Times have changed, customs have changed, styles have changed, but right is still pretty much right and wrong is still a "bad" thing to do. We're not talking legalism here, those things are subject to the same social "drift" that accompanies all of man's history. What I mean are the things of the heart, the still small voice, that little moral compass that always seems to point the way even when the reasonings of your mind fail to do so. It seems to me looking at the course of our history, no overstatement to judge that the fate of entire civilizations may have turned on ever so simple a premise as this, that without a moral code, there is no true law and failing that, no social structure.
In America, regardless of what some social revisionists may have told you, we built a nation based on a code of morality not on the reasonings of men tat one particular point in time. Justice, equality, freedom, the founding fathers were well aware that apart from some moral grounding in the populace, these tenants were little more than words on a page. The gloried past that we celebrate in this United States is a testimony to the keeping of that moral trust to a very large degree, I believe and so it is that I find myself fearing for our future when I see some of the affronts to this heritage that are taking place today. There are many problems in America these days, there are rapes and murders and people abusing drugs, but, I believe that most of them, at least in their magnitude, stem from one common source: we have stopped listening to the moral voice and we have started rationalizing our behavior. Senator Daniel Moynihan called it "defining deviancy down." What it is is a failure to see that right and wrong are not something we left on Santa's lap along with our childhood, rather they are the true essence of who we really are, both as a people and as a nation.
Without the guidance right and wrong give us, there is no way to teach social behavior, no way to direct the public welfare, and certainly no way to keep the peace. Take a look around. It should scare you to see the behavior that is deemed acceptable today. In the schools, on the street, on TV; it's more than just changing times, it's a discarding of decency and a flaunting of virtue and it cuts to the very heart of this nations soul. It bothers me as I'm sure it does all "good" people, shich I happen to believe is still most of us. But it's time for the good people to take a stand, a stand for the good, and the decent. A stand for right and wrong, because freedom is not based on the right to do as we please, but rather the privilege to do as we ought.
Alan J. Corbett is an average working-class citizen who has stopped to take a long, hard look at how American culture has evolved. It has evoked a concern that he voices on his blog: YOU CAN TAKE A STAND. He welcomes you to visit, read and leave your comments. It can be found at: http://youcantakeastand.com