November 20 was the last time that we addressed this talk by Ron Paul to the US House in February 2000. So let’s continue with the excerpts where we left off. Section 4: Social and Philosophical Changes.
America has not only changed technologically in the past hundred years, but our social attitudes and personal philosophies have changed as well. WE have less respect for life and less love for liberty. We are obsessed with material things, along with rowdy and raucous entertainment. Needs and wants have become rights for both rich and poor. The idea of instant gratification too often guides our actions, and when satisfaction is not forthcoming anger and violence break out. Road rage and airline passenger rage are seen more frequently. Regardless of fault, a bad outcome is almost anything, even if beyond human control will prompt a lawsuit. Too many believe they deserve to win the lottery, and a lawsuit helps the odds. Unfortunately the only winners too often are the lawyers hyping the litigation.
Lying and cheating are now acceptable by the majority. This was not true a hundred years ago when moral standards were higher. The October 1999 issue of US News and World Report reveals that 84% of college students believe cheating is necessary to get ahead in today’s world, and 90% are convinced there’s no price to pay for cheating. Nor surprisingly , 90% of college students believe that politicians often cheat. An equal percentage believe the media cheats as well. There’s no way to know if the problem is this bad in the general population, but these statistics indicate out young people do not trust our politicians or media. Trust has been replaced with a satisfaction in the materialism that a speculative stock market, borrowing money, and a spendthrift government can generate. But what happens to our society if the material abundance, which we enjoy, is ephemeral and human trust is lost?
Social disorder will surely result and there will be a clamor for a more authoritarian government. This scenario may indeed threaten the stability of our social order and significantly undermine all our constitutional protections. But there is no law or ethics committee that will solve this problem of diminishing trust and honesty – that is a problem of the heart, mind, and character to be dealt with by each individual citizen. The importance of the family unit today has been greatly diminished compared to the close of the 19th Century. Now, fewer people get married, more divorces occur, and the number of children born out of wedlock continues to rise. Tax penalties are placed on married couples; illegitimacy and single parenthood are rewarded by government subsidies, and we find many authoritarians arguing that the definition of marriage should change in order to allow non-husband and wife couples to qualify for welfare handouts. The welfare system has mocked the concept of marriage in the name of political correctness, economic egalitarianism, and hetero-phobia.
Freedom of speech is still cherished in America, but the political correctness movement has seriously undermined dissent on our university campuses…. It was commonplace in the Soviet system to incarcerate political dissenters in “mental” institutions. Those who received a Soviet government designation of “socially undesirable elements” were stripped of their rights. Will this be the way we treat political dissent in the future? We hear of people losing their jobs because of “socially undesirable” thoughts or for telling off-color jokes. Today sensitivity courses are routinely required in America to mold social thinking for the simplest of infractions. The thought-police are all around us. It’s a bad sign.
…”Free speech” is permitted in our universities for those who do not threaten the status quo of welfarism, globalism, corporatism, and a financial system that provides great benefits to powerful special interests. If a university professor does not follow the party line, he does not receive tenure.
We find ourselves at the close of this century realizing all our standards have been undermined. A monetary standard for our money is gone; the dollar is whatever the government tells us it is. There is no definition, and no promise to pay anything for the notes issued ad infinitum by the government.
Standards for education are continually lowered, de-emphasizing excellence. Relative ethics are promoted, and moral absolutes are ridiculed. The influence of religion on our standards is frowned upon and replaced by secular humanistic standards.
The work ethic has been replaced by a welfare ethic, based on need not effort. Strict standards required for an elite military force are gone, and our lack of readiness reflects this.
Standards of behavior of our professional athletes seem to reflect the rules followed in the ring by the professional wrestlers where anything goes.
Managed medical care, driven by government decrees, has reduced its quality and virtually ruined the doctor-patient relationship.
Movie and TV standards are so low that our young people’s senses are totally numbed by them
Standards of courtesy on highways, airplanes, and shops are seriously compromised and at time lead to senseless violence.
With the acceptance of abortion, our standards for life have become totally arbitrary as they have become for liberty. Endorsing the arbitrary use of force by our government morally justifies the direct use of force by disgruntled groups not satisfied with the slower government process.
The standards for honesty and truth have certainly deteriorated during the pasat hundred years.
Property ownership has been undermined though environmental regulations and excessive taxation. True ownership of property no longer exists.
There has been a systematic undermining of legal and constitutional principles once respected an followed for the protection of individual liberty.
A society cannot continue in a state of moral anarchy. Moral anarchy will lead to political anarchy. A society without clearly understood standards of conduct cannot remain stable any more than an architect can design and build a sturdy skyscraper with measuring instruments that change in value each day. We recently lost a NASA space probe because someone failed to convert inches to centimeters – a simple but deadly mistake in measuring physical standards. If we as a people debase our moral standards, the American Republic will meet a similar fate.