Wrong direction

Too many Americans are losing -- or never finding -- their moral compass

An Augusta teacher taking a 4-year-old along on an official Richmond County student field trip to Athens may not have needed a map. But she sure needed a compass.


Authorities allege that not only did she shoplift on the trip, but that she also left her 4-year-old granddaughter in a motel room alone during the adventure.

She’s been criminally charged on both counts, as she should be. And if guilty, she should never step foot in a classroom again.

In another local case, an Augusta woman was arrested recently after her 1-year-old was found alone in wet diapers in an apartment with little food but easy access to dangerous cleaning materials.

Such alleged outrageous behavior, while a bit shocking, shouldn’t be all that surprising. They just don’t make moral compasses anymore. At least not like they used to. Like much of America’s manufacturing base, the moral compass industry has largely disappeared.

The anything-goes lifestyle is apparently here to stay. And we’re seeing its fruits every day – in cases such as the above, and in many more.

The media teach us that children in the womb are expendable if they’re inconvenient or put a crimp in your lifestyle. If children can be eliminated before birth, what boundaries are there after? Throw them in a room alone. Keep them in a hot car. Expose them to whomever you met last night at the club.

With breakdowns in both the extended and nuclear family; a waning of religion’s influence; unprecedented mobility to and from communities and cultures; and a media that celebrates freedom but ignores and even scowls at responsibility, who’s making the moral compass anymore?

Philosopher and psychiatrist Dr. Viktor Frankl identified what he called an increasing “existential vacuum” in modern man’s life, as “the traditions which buttressed his behavior are now rapidly diminishing. No instinct tells him what he has to do, and no tradition tells him what he ought to do ...”

Another problem in contemporary America is that we don’t seem willing or capable of even having this discussion. If you question the wisdom of certain behaviors, you’re overbearing, old-fashioned, fascist – you name it. Morality, perfectly chilled.

Liberals used to joke that if men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament. Well, guess what: That’s pretty much what liberals have made it. And they’re so paranoid about the government prohibiting it, or of any societal institution foisting morality on them, that the discussion – and probably the thought process – doesn’t go any further.

In short, there is a such a
backlash in today’s society toward any talk of morality that any talk of morality is pretty much gone. What a terrible shame.

And it’s eating away at the fabric of society. While tolerating and even touting destructive behaviors – drugs, promiscuity, self-indulgence, self-centeredness, sloth and more – the media spurn or ridicule almost any mention of the consequences of such behavior. Poverty. Fatherless children. Stunted growth. Crime. Disease. Government dependency. Illiteracy. And so on.

There are innumerable repercussions for destructive behaviors, but perhaps the saddest is the ruination of a person’s potential. That ruination is at epidemic levels today.

Where is the guidance? Where is the straight talk? Where is the compass?

And where is the talk of responsibility – the fact that you, and not the taxpayer down the block, are responsible for the consequences of your actions? Instead of that kind of frank talk, you know what we get? We get the pablum from Democrats that society must provide the promiscuous with free birth control, or else there’s a “war on women.”

This is what passes for public dialogue today. So why should anyone be surprised at the aimless lives and the thoughtless actions?

Maybe it’s time for upright people to tout their values unashamedly again. And perhaps we should refocus on handing them down.



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