Wrong direction

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

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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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ymnbde
10016
Points
ymnbde 04/13/14 - 07:45 am
3
1
"the media teach..."

were the most important three words of this editorial
and the media teach that big government is good and republicans are bad
tv is our front porch and movies are our dinner table
Hollywood installs our thought algorhythm when we are first enamored by that "box"
then public education tunes our thought algorithm to accept big government
THREE SCHOOLS IN RICHMOND COUNTY
HAD ZERO STUDENTS PASS THE AP EXAMS LAST YEAR
was no accident
in the year 2014, after we've had so many "plans" to make public education work
the pitiful results have to be part of some more sinister plan
to keep poor kids uneducated
not educating our kids to be able to make their own way in the world
is a modern pestilence
and in this government are the most successful racists in history
school choice is the only solution

ymnbde
10016
Points
ymnbde 04/13/14 - 07:47 am
7
2
and specsta, educate your own self

on where this government's money comes from
and who it comes from
Basic Economics, by Thomas Sowell, would be a great start

carcraft
27005
Points
carcraft 04/13/14 - 07:49 am
7
2
Immorality is passing a law

Immorality is passing a law that will affect every American, cost trillions of dollars and not read or understand the stupid thing. That is IMMORAL AND THE HIGHT OF HUBRIUS!

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 04/13/14 - 07:59 am
7
3
"Fewer and fewer people will
Unpublished

"Fewer and fewer people will want to pay as things are given to others. Society and government become chaotic and disordered. Totalitarian measures result."
Riverman, generation after generation of worthless deadbeats, black and white, is the results. The Great Society, democrats, liberals and black leaders have created this mess. But as LBJ said the Great Society is not about helping the poor it is all about buying votes and with many of the blacks like Obama reparations.

stuaby
4346
Points
stuaby 04/13/14 - 08:10 am
4
3
Specsta, from what I can

Specsta, from what I can gather, anyone who needs food can apply for federal assistance. With the money that they receive in a given month, they can go out and buy enough of the basic staples to last for several months. I know people who receive EBT payments. I know the amounts (in their cases, at least).

They may not be able to get exactly what they want, but they could, if they tried, eat balanced, nutritious meals for a long time.

In one case, person X that I know, didn't need any more food, but needed money and asked me to take him when I needed to shop for grocery for myself and let him get the food and give him the monetary equivalent. This happened 4 to 5 times before he got a job somewhere.

This "hungry kid" thing is questionable. I would suspect, that 9 times out of 10, the adults responsible for them aren't doing what they need to do to handle the situation. The assistance is there.

This is unrelated to the amount of money spent on defense weaponry.

carcraft
27005
Points
carcraft 04/13/14 - 08:13 am
4
3
Of course there is little

Of course there is little outcry about the $ billion wasted on a cruddy web site that still isn't fully functional!

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 04/13/14 - 08:14 am
5
3
(specsta) "You want to talk

(specsta) "You want to talk about values and morals? The most immoral thing that a nation can do is to condemn the ones who need help "

specsta, there is no condemnation for those who are in need, but with anything there requires boundaries to maintain control. I do not know where you reside but go to goldenharvest.org and research their annual report. Take a look at the number of elderly, the number of meals provided to school children, the number they serve through the backpack program, the manna program, the senior food box program in the Georgia and South Carolina area. This is just two states and I'm sure there are other programs like it thoughtout the US. The numbers posted are for 2012 and I'm sure they have increased for 2013 and will increase more in 2014. There are at least 19 Food Pantries in the Augusta area. So you want to laminate about not helping the poor and needy......take your blinders off.

stuaby
4346
Points
stuaby 04/13/14 - 08:29 am
4
3
Specsta @11:04

Specsta, no one is suggesting that programs for the poor be eliminated.

The implication, in many of your posts, that riles (me anyway) is the notion that very little or "not enough" is being done to help anybody. You can't (well, I guess one can actually) just look around and see that people are struggling and conclude that "We're not doing enough to help anybody!"

Scenario: Person A is struggling, person B gives person A $150 to help out. Person C gives her some nearly new clothing that she (persC) can't fit into anymore. Person D gives them a ride to the social security to apply for benefits. I come along and kick in $200 every once in a while. The government kicks in free housing + EBT + WIC + EITC + free health insurance + free health care + free bus rides + free phone/minutes + subsidized child care + (Etc.).

Now, you come along, at some point, and see the youngest of person A's 5 children naked and in the street hungry. (At which point you turn and complain that the country is just immoral.) Which is the bigger problem here: Society (the rich) not doing enough? Or person A's not doing enough?

stuaby
4346
Points
stuaby 04/13/14 - 08:39 am
2
2
"The richest nation has a

"The richest nation has a justice system that condemns non-violent offenders, even children, to life sentences thanks to mandatory-minimums. That's immoral."

Well, Specsta, if anything like this is going on, it would be immoral. I am unaware of any reports of this. I have to give you the benefit of the doubt here. Provide case information concerning where and how this is going on.

historylover
11083
Points
historylover 04/13/14 - 08:53 am
3
2
Wide Net

This particular editorial certainly cast a wide net. When you start reading you think that the subject matter is the inexcusable behavior of the teacher and her actions in Athens. Then all of a sudden the subject jumps to abortion. I do not see any relevancy in the way these two subjects were connected.

@dichotomy "Please locate some for me....I want to watch. If those people are not getting help then we've sure been paying those hospitals downtown a helluva bill for indigent care for nothing."

Check out last weeks 60 minutes. The show was all about poor people in Kentucky who cannot pay for their meds, do not receive any medical care and who have indeed DIED because of the lack of help from the government.

So yes, it is out there. When you have the time, why don't you actually spend some time on the Medicaid website for Georgia and just see how destitute you have to be to receive help. As for food stamps - a young lady I was talking to the other day - a member of the working poor with 2 children - was denied food stamps because she makes $400 a month! Are you kidding me???

Opinions are all great but the facts never change. I think more commentators on here would be well served by seeking out knowledge on the subjects they ramble on and on about.

GnipGnop
12454
Points
GnipGnop 04/13/14 - 09:21 am
5
3
Irony....

Today's Lesson on Irony

These three statements tell you a lot about our government and our culture:

1. We are advised to NOT judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few
lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a
few lunatics. Funny how that works.

And another statement for consideration--

2. We constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of
money. How come we never hear about welfare running out of money? What's
interesting is the first group "worked for" their money, but the second
didn't.

Finally ..

3. The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, is proud to be distributing this year the greatest amount of
free Meals and Food Stamps ever --- to 47 million people, as of the most
recent figures available in 2013.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of
the Interior, asks us "Please Do Not Feed the Animals." The stated reason
for this policy is because "The animals will grow dependent on handouts and
will not learn to take care of themselves."

Thus Ends Today's Lesson On Irony

itsanotherday1
45338
Points
itsanotherday1 04/13/14 - 10:21 am
4
2
History Lover

Your friend lied to you. The cutoff for assistance for a family of 3 is $2100/ month.

See for yourself: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/income-rules-income-limits

stuaby
4346
Points
stuaby 04/13/14 - 10:31 am
2
3
I've gone into this report

I've gone into this report/testimony that Specsta put up here, presumably in defense of his position.

It's kind of a hot mess. Here's what I get out of it.

Testimony assertion 1: "Safety net programs reduce poverty"

Well, yeah! If one is poor and someone passes by her and slips her $750, her poverty has been reduced. This is basically what this person is saying.

Testimony assertion 2: "Safety net programs do not provide a disincentive to work."

Well, yeah! If one is already disinclined (or just unable to get himself together) to work, then of course safety net payments aren't going to change a thing. Also, if one IS inclined to work, she will probably remain inclined to work, since that's in her DNA. I'll grant you that. However, she might be just a little bit less aggressive in her job search, don't ya think? Especially, if she gets to be good at gaming the system.

The reports behind this testimony were generated by people in academia, which explains a lot about their purpose and nature.

LillyfromtheMills
13901
Points
LillyfromtheMills 04/13/14 - 11:11 am
6
0
I remember being a young wife and mother

In the early 70's - my husband worked and I stayed home with the children. I had to be very resourceful to feed us and pay our bills. I could not/would not ask my parents or government for help - all of my peers were in the same position - was it our DNA or the moral compass our parents provided for us? My bet is the moral compass.

effete elitist liberal
3147
Points
effete elitist liberal 04/13/14 - 11:33 am
4
8
Thank DOG!

Thank DOG for the Augusta Chronicle's editorial writer Mike Ryan, the self-anointed moral conscience of America! MR certainly knows right from wrong, as he reminds his readers regularly, and, he assures us, almost everything wrong is the fault of nasty liberals and "promiscuous" black folks. This piece has MR's fingerprints all over it--the smugness, the condescension, the gross generalizations, the half truths. Why is it that Southern white men are so sure they are the moral masters of the universe?

allhans
24005
Points
allhans 04/13/14 - 11:38 am
2
0
There is need for generosity

There is need for generosity but no need to be foolish.

Jon Lester
2363
Points
Jon Lester 04/13/14 - 11:41 am
4
3
Lying to your readers for political purposes

is not my idea of an upright moral value.

effete elitist liberal
3147
Points
effete elitist liberal 04/13/14 - 11:43 am
2
6
media's liberal bias

If the media has a liberal bias, and over all it does, then that means most media owners and content-shapers are liberal, and they are. Yet conservatives have only themselves to blame. Before 1960, there was no clear political bias in the American media. Then it all changed, and has remained changed to this day. Why the change? Remember the War in Vietnam (perpetuated by Democratic presidents but opposed almost entirely by liberals)? Remember the Civil Rights Movement? The Women's Movement? And later the Gay Rights Movement? Remember Watergate? Those were events in recent American history that inspired two generations of American young men and women to go into journalism, where, they believed, they could make a difference, where they could "speak truth to power." Yes, conservatives, you supported the War in Vietnam, opposed civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, and the impeachment of Richard Nixon. You conservatives are the reason the media is so liberal.

LillyfromtheMills
13901
Points
LillyfromtheMills 04/13/14 - 12:15 pm
4
1
EEL

You have it so wrong. You sound like those Augusta commissioners - black and white - do you not see we love each other and try to take care of each other - look in a grocery store - we are neighbors - we are friends - I see just as many whites on the dole as the blacks - stop being mad at us - we are your friends. The govt is horrible on both sides of the aisle -

effete elitist liberal
3147
Points
effete elitist liberal 04/13/14 - 12:43 pm
2
7
Lilly

Lovely sentiment, I'm sure, but my comment was not intended to apply to you and your family and friends. My comment was intended to apply to MR and the Chronicle's editorial staff. The difference in tone between you and MR is amazingly dramatic, but of course Mike Ryan isn't paid to play nice.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 04/13/14 - 01:34 pm
6
1
(historylover) "...- a member

(historylover) "...- a member of the working poor with 2 children - was denied food stamps because she makes $400 a month!"

It's possible the woman was denied food stamps but not because she makes $400 a month at her job. It's possible she was denied because she has other sources of income that has made her ineligible or it may be she just flat out lied to you.

edcushman
7930
Points
edcushman 04/13/14 - 01:46 pm
3
3
"You have it so
Unpublished

"You have it so wrong."
Lilly, you will never convince some folks. Many black minds have been poisoned against white people just as Obama's mind was when he was a teenager.

KSL
134304
Points
KSL 04/13/14 - 03:28 pm
3
3
If you can't do the time,

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

LillyfromtheMills
13901
Points
LillyfromtheMills 04/13/14 - 04:14 pm
2
1
EEL

This is a very conservative newspaper - you are in a red state and should know how we feel - that you hate us is apparent - but we don't hate you!

stuaby
4346
Points
stuaby 04/13/14 - 05:03 pm
4
1
OK, Specsta, I've reviewed

OK, Specsta, I've reviewed the HuffPo piece. There's something going on with the HuffPo website--must be a virus or something, because my computer slowed WAY down--worse than coming to the AC website--when I went there. This isn't the first time, either, that I've noticed this.

Anyway, yeah, there seems to be some bull zchit going on with some of these cases. Clearly, some of these people have just been processed through the system w/o any decent representation.

I absolutely HATE crack/meth/heroin trafficking. I HATE them with a passion. Peoples lives are being destroyed due to their weakness and vulnerability. So it's hard for me to feel totally sympathetic, though, because I get the sense that these are outliers, and aren't indicative of something rampant.

I would favor anyone who's been picked up for possession "with intent to distribute" to have all their possessions irretrievably seized and be beaten severely, with a minimum of 4 ribs cracked, and released. In general, many dealers are actually talented and have just gotten onto the wrong track. Life sentences (death, really) should be reserved for armed robbery, rape, and murder.

But, nonetheless, 80 percent, at least, of these cases seem to have been very poorly adjudicated, so I'm with you, Specsta, on this one. It's immoral.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 04/13/14 - 05:14 pm
3
1
Non-violent Crimes

Non-violent Crimes Specsta......tell that to the mothers and fathers of the children these drug dealers sold this crap to and got their children hooked on a death sentence. The law may look at drug dealing as a non-violent offense but these people are no better than someone handing a glass of posion to a thirsty man and letting him drink it.

Funny how these adults are so concerned about being in their children's life now.......why didn't they think about the consequences before breaking the law. I will say, life in prison without the possibility of parole seems a little over-the-top but you're alternative of no prosecution at all is just as over-the-top.

carcraft
27005
Points
carcraft 04/13/14 - 05:51 pm
2
1
I had a friend who was a

I had a friend who was a crack addict. When he went on a binge he was a one man crime wave. For ever crime he got caught for he did 10 or so more. People didn't prosecute because they knew the family . His son learned from dad and went to jail. His wife divorced and had a rough time. Sure ,"victimless crime".

carcraft
27005
Points
carcraft 04/13/14 - 05:57 pm
2
1
Oh, my friend died due to Hep

Oh, my friend died due to Hep C he got abusing drugs and the resultant liver . I cannot begin to tell you the hell he put his family through and how he hurt those who loved him!

carcraft
27005
Points
carcraft 04/13/14 - 06:03 pm
2
1
Denied food stamps with a

Denied food stamps with a $400 income ? Well gee that would be regs ENFORCED BY THE GOVERNMENT the font of all that is good right? So let's let the government regulate health care! In the words of our glorious Sebelius "some people live and some people die"!

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