It seems as if a few are getting the message.
Reintroducing norms will require, first, a moral vocabulary. These norms weren’t destroyed because of people with bad values. They were destroyed by a plague of nonjudgmentalism, which refused to assert that one way of behaving was better than another. People got out of the habit of setting standards or understanding how they were set.
Next it will require holding everybody responsible. America is obviously not a country in which the less educated are behaving irresponsibly and the more educated are beacons of virtue. America is a country in which privileged people suffer from their own characteristic forms of self-indulgence: the tendency to self-segregate, the comprehensive failures of leadership in government and industry. Social norms need repair up and down the scale, universally, together and all at once.
People sometimes wonder why I’ve taken this column in a spiritual and moral direction of late. It’s in part because we won’t have social repair unless we are more morally articulate, unless we have clearer definitions of how we should be behaving at all levels.
I’m not entirely certain it has been a plague of nonjudgmentalism as it is hyper-judgmentalism. From the cable news channel caldrons like FOX, CNN, MSNBC, and even the Comedy Channel and MTV, to empty headed shows like The View, there’s enough judgment to keep thoughts bouncing around in skulls like ping pong balls in a table tennis tournament. It’s a biblical case of everyone thinking as is right in their own eyes. It’s not just more judgment we need, but biblically correct judgment. Everyone has their own standard. When people surrender their standard and adopt the biblical one will be the time social repair will begin to happen.
The lawlessness that is America will begin to turn when each individual will hold themselves responsible instead of holding each other. That will require people to be more than morally articulate. It requires people to be morally accountable.
Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue. – Patrick Henry