Thursday, June 18, 2009

Traditional vs. Modern Morality

Oz Conservative has an interesting discussion going on, about traditional vs. modern morality and ethics, and how they affect society.

It's often said, "it's my decision how I run my life, everyone else should mind their own business". However, we don't live on islands; our behavior naturally affects others in the near vicinity (and, sometimes, beyond). So, society has some reason to meddle in private affairs, when they come to their attention.

And, it's generally only when they become public that society has any reason to step in.

Drink/drug yourself into insensibility? Your concern. It only crosses the line into a public matter when you make your behavior impossible to ignore - such as a public arrest for drunkeness, drug sales that affect the neighborhood, drunken driving, etc.

Sexual libertine? Who cares? Unless you expose minor children to your follies, carry on with wild parties that spill over into neighbor's yards, or have children that you expect your neighbors to pay for.

So it goes for many moral "sins". Americans are remarkably tolerant of others' transgressions. We have no native Taliban.

Where we have fallen down lately is protection of minor children. Too many kids are exposed to the seamier sides of life in their own home. Child welfare services, in an effort to be "non-judgemental", often fail to remove children in danger. Every year, I see the fallout - kids who reek of pot (from the high levels of smoking by PARENTS and other adults around them), children who have empty pantries (not from society's lack of effort to get them fed, but from parents who are more concerned about themselves), children who are exposed to real danger from felonious/predatory strangers (because you just CAN'T ask mumsy/daddums to restrict their sex lives in any way).

Kids are generally conservative. They want discipline, parental restriction of impulse, and a calm, secure home life.

As a political conservative, I generally want to get government out of my life. I'd rather live and let live; only the extreme circumstance of endangering children brings me to act in restrictive ways. If the culture would work to keep access out of kids' hands, I'd have no problem with legalization of marijuana. If people want to smoke their brains out, who cares?

But, if they are chuckleheaded enough to allow their use to affect their kids (and other people's), I'd have to step in. And, unfortunately, our culture is filled with pseudo-adults who show no evidence that they are mature enough to keep their drug use away from the kids.


Eternity Road also has a discussion relating to this topic.
If you don't read Francis' blog, you're missing a treat.

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