Monday, June 18, 2018

It Was a Time of Fear

Not long ago I saw a rerun of the movie about Dalton Trumbo.  Trumbo was a famous Hollywood screenwriter who got caught up in the red scare of the 1950’s and was subsequently blacklisted. Despite his talent (he won two Oscars for his work) for a decade he was barred from writing under his own name.
When he was finally rehabilitated, he harkened back to the days when he was persecuted for his political opinions.  In a speech accepting an award for career achievements, he said, “it was a time of fear.”  For him, it certainly was.  He and his colleagues had to scramble for a living against a tide of disapproval.
Contemporary liberals want us to forget that many of those singled out by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) were, in fact, devoted communists.  Thanks to the Venona papers, we have learned that more than a few were actually Soviet spies.
 In other words, the search for traitors following WWII was a witch-hunt in which there were genuine witches.  Rooting these folks out of positions of power and influence was therefore sensible. That those who were caught should be punished, and consequently fearful, was not altogether unwarranted.
Fast forward to today.  We are living through another period of widespread fear.  Nowadays people are also losing their careers and reputations because of their political beliefs.  Many ordinary Americans are justifiably terrified that if they say the wrong thing, they and their families will become pariahs.
Liberals, however, are not worried about the damage currently done to innocents. Although they regularly portray themselves as the blameless victims, they refuse to recognize that they are the instigators of the modern persecutions.
Today it is political correctness that generates innumerable casualties.  A search for racists and sexists is producing the contemporary blacklists.  As a result, those individuals who do not subscribe to the progressive agenda often find themselves in as much jeopardy as their Marxist forebears.
The anxiety these days is palpable.  Nasty jokes about blacks, women, or gays are forbidden.  Merely suggesting that those who belong to protected categories might be less than perfect is greeted with insults and threats. Our politically correct taskmasters believe it is their responsibility to educate—and sanction—anyone who disagrees with them.
The upshot is that many moderates and conservatives keep their mouths shut.  Calls for a national dialogue about race, for instance, regularly degenerate into one-sided lectures.  We recently witnessed this with the lessons imposed on Starbuck’s baristas because of their alleged unconscious racism.
People are naturally apprehensive when they don’t have to exhibit evidence of prejudice or discrimination in order to be targeted.  A white skin, combined with a less than enthusiastic proclamation of liberal orthodoxies, may be enough to destroy one’s reputation.
Even conservative blacks are not exempt.  The slightest suggestion that they might have a positive opinion about Donald Trump puts a bull’s eye on their backs.  Now, if they are in the entertainment industry, they must fret about whether they will be employed.  What is this, if not a blacklist?
The same exclusiveness goes for our universities and news purveyors. Indeed, a reflexive animus toward conservative sentiments is so pervasive within these precincts that it affects liberals too.  Progressives never even contemplate the validity of outlawed ideas lest they be accused of apostasy.
Reproaching blacks (women or gays) for being in the wrong is strenuously ruled out of bounds.  According to leftists, condemning athletes who take the knee for the national anthem is racist.  So is reproving the Black Lives Matter movement. Criticisms of this sort ostensibly demonstrate insensitivity.
The politically correct abuse has gotten so ruinous that people are afraid to assert that alllives matters.  Likewise, to so much as suggest that blacks might be racist is grounds for excommunication. Just ask Kanye West what it is like to advocate that African-Americans modify their outlooks and become more independent.
Given the heated state of the culture wars, social intimidation is rampant.  Old verities about honesty, personal responsibility, and fairness go undefended lest this elicit vengeance.  Accordingly it is judged better to say nothing than something one might regret.
Nonetheless, Edmund Burke was right.  We must have the courage to overcome our fears.  Trumbo stood up against the blacklist although he was guilty of subverting our liberties; should we do less when we are innocent?
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Kennesaw State University

Lessons from the Ronald Reagan Era

Talleyrand, when commenting upon the failures of the kings who precipitated the French Revolution, declared that the Bourbons “had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.”  Despite their many mistakes, when restored to power they continued on the same unfortunate trajectory.
This observation has been compared with Einstein’s assertion is that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  Nowadays, these admonitions apply to liberals.  They also keep repeating failed policies in the expectation that they will work.
We have thus witnessed their inability to learn with respect to tax strategies.  Leftists doggedly refuse to admit that lowering taxes spurs economic activity. We have similarly seen it with respect to health care.  They loudly insist on a greater role for the government despite the disappointments of ObamaCare.
But it is in the area of foreign policy that we observe the most intransigence.  On a nearly daily basis, Donald Trump is pilloried for his alleged incompetence in handling international relations.  He is, by all accounts, a bully who is alienating our friends and placating our enemies.
This is absurd.  It is doubly absurd in the light of Ronald Reagan’s triumphs.  Reagan, as few would today deny, helped end the Cold War. Nonetheless, that was almost forty years ago.  How could liberals be expected to remember something from that far in the past? 
As it happens, Reagan was also ridiculed for his purported ineptitude. Everyone knew—certainly every liberal knew—that calling the Soviet Union an evil empire was insane.  Baiting the Russian bear was a sure way to ignite a hot war.  Insulting the communists would unquestionably provoke thin-skinned Bolsheviks into attacking us.
D├ętente—that’s what made sense.  Be accommodating.  Don’t demand that Gorbachev tear down the Berlin Wall.  He isn’t going to do any such thing and therefore it is foolish to ask. Yet when he did offer concessions in Iceland, these could not be turned down.  They were the best we could get.
Now here is Trump following in Reagan’s footsteps.  He too is accused of being an inept amateur.  Whenever he sounds belligerent, he is told to settle down and follow the advise of State Department professionals.  They know that we must make nice with the Iranians and the North Koreans.  Anything less could spark World War III.
But then Trump goes off the reservation and derides Kim Jong Un as “little rocket man.”  Next he thumbs his nose as the Iranian mullahs.  He tells them he will not honor Obama’s agreement and they had better be prepared to make a better deal.
Whoa!   Wait up say the commentators in the media. Mr. Trump, you are temping the fates. Your victims will get upset. Rather than come to the negotiating table, they will be obdurate.  This is not how diplomacy works.
Whoa, add the congressional Democrats.  Obama’s policies ought not be undone.  He did the best that anyone could and therefore we should accept that Iran and North Korea will soon be nuclear powers.  Trying to stop them is plainly more dangerous than appeasing them.
Furthermore, it is dicey to demand that our trading partners alter their tariff policies.  Although they have more barriers to American goods entering their countries than we do to theirs, insisting on redress might provoke a trade war.  This would obviously be worse than acquiescing in the current unfairness.
In fact, what we are witnessing is arrant cowardice.  Liberals say that we must be nice to everyone so that we do not arouse their indignation.  Their conventional wisdom has it that niceness always begets niceness, even though history demonstrates no such connection.
Reagan won because he was tough.  He stuck to his principles even though he could not be sure of the outcome. Trump may also win because he is tough. He too is unafraid of arousing the ire of potential adversaries.  Of course, they will not like what he demands.  They will almost surely resist.  But that is in the nature of negotiations.
Standing up for one’s own interests is frequently a gamble.  It does not always pay off.  Then again, capitulating at the slightest hint of opposition guarantees failure.  But liberals don’t understand that.  They don’t remember the past, therefore they don’t learn from it.  At the very least, they refuse to learn from Republican successes.
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Kennesaw State University

Monday, June 11, 2018

Moral Paralysis/Moral Reform

Not long ago, while I was in Europe, another American, one who assumed I was liberal, approached me.  He hoped I would commiserate with him about what a jerk Donald Trump is.  When I failed to respond as expected, he turned tail without allowing me to explain.
Nowadays this is a common phenomenon.  As a nation, we are at a moral impasse.  Both liberals and conservatives believe they have the moral high ground and hence will concede nothing to the other side.  Indeed, they often fail to listen to one another.
This moral paralysis has poisoned the atmosphere.  It has left a bitter taste in our collective mouths, with millions of us wondering if there is a way to resolve the standoff.
When I was very young, I confronted a similar dilemma.  My mother generally sought to control me by moral means. I was routinely made to feel guilty if I did not capitulate to her demands.  Some one, I was told, had to be the good one by giving in—and this was my responsibility.
The problem with this approach, however, was that it regularly left me on the losing end.  As a consequence, when I entered college I studied philosophy so that I could understand what was truly ethical.  Unfortunately, this did not work.  The standard theories were themselves stalemated.
Later on, when I became a sociologist, I sought to understand the nature of morality.  Since judgments of right and wrong were social, they might presumably be studied empirically. In fact, they could.  As a result, I made enormous progress in developing a “tripartite” theory of morality.
In works such as Hardball without an Umpire,I explained how informal moral rules are negotiated and enforced.  Nonetheless, this put me no closer to identifying the specifics of proper conduct.  In order to achieve this, I needed a better grasp of the challenges we, as a society, confront.
These came into sharper focus once I realized that we were in the midst of a Middle Class Revolution.  Having created a mass techno-commercial society, it could not be sustained unless more of us became professionalized. We needed to be self-directed specialists who could independently make valid decisions.
But this required a dependable moral compass.  Unless we were principled realists, we would not make appropriate choices.  This, regrettably, would be to the detriment of the millions of strangers who depended upon us.  The ensuing lack of trust could prove fatal to our shared welfare.
And so I searched for principles suitable for our current condition; principles that commanded the allegiance of liberals andconservatives.  These had to bridge the gap between the social justice of the left and the traditional values of the right.
In the end, I settled on honestypersonal responsibilityfairness(defined as the same rules for all), liberty,and family stability.  Readers of my columns will be familiar with this quintet of values.  Here the difficulty, however, is that they are not easy to explain within the confines of short essays.
This prompted me to write a book—my eighteenth.  It is entitled A Principled Society: Cultivating Trust in a World of Strangers, which is now available on Amazon as an inexpensive paperback. 
Our world has changed.  The moral answers that served our ancestors no longer meet our requirements.  We are thus in desperate need of reform.  We require standards—widely respected standards—that provide genuine justice, as opposed to ideological twaddle.
Trying to resolve unprecedented obstacles with outdated tools has set us at each other’s throats.  This was not because either side of the moral divide is uniquely evil. Rather, it is because few of us have recognized the nature of the impediments we face or accepted that refurbished paradigms are necessary.
Too often our moral conduct is reflexive.  We respond in ways we were taught instead of ways that match our immediate circumstances.  If we are to restructure what we do, we must therefore stand back and look at the larger picture. What tenets, we must ask, apply to our present situation?
After a lifetime of attempting to come to grips with personal quandaries, I hope I have identified answers that are also valid on a larger sphere. This, of course, will be for others to judge.
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Kennesaw State University

A Moral Panic

In 1939, Henry Fonda played the title role in Young Mr. Lincoln.  One crucial scene depicted him as saving a man unjustly accused of murder.  Were it not for our hero, a frenzied crowd would have lynched the victim on the spot.
This was a classic illustration of a moral panic.  In these cases, throngs of people go off half-cocked on the assumption that they are defending morality.  Because of an underlying insecurity, they crave an immediate resolution of a discomfiting challenge.
Sadly, we are in the midst of a series of such moral panics.  Most of these concern race or sex, but they have been triggered by an underlying ideological crisis.  Because liberalism failed, religious fervor stalled, and the free market demonstrated serious limitations, millions of Americans are unsure about the future.
As a consequence, the news cycle is punctuated by temporary upheavals.  Each of these seems to portend disaster, but our reaction to them is usually more perilous. Because we panic, we compound the impact of whatever seemed threatening.
The latest of these commotions concerns Roseanne Barr.  The comedienne tweeted out a bad joke regarding Valerie Jarrett.  This was deemed the height of racism.  ABC, in response, canceled her television show—and did so within three hours.
Political correctness was clearly in operation, but race has become such a sensitive subject that conservatives piled on.  They too were appalled that Planet of the Apesand an African-American woman could be mentioned in the same breath.  This was an egregious offence.
Not only was the condemnation reflexive, so was the demand for equal justice. Simultaneous with the sacking, caterwauling about the horrors of double standards arose.  Thus, how could Samantha Bee get away with using the C word against Ivanka Trump?  Didn’t this too cry out for dismissal?
Now think about it.  What Roseanne tweeted was coarse.  It was insensitive and borderline vicious.  But so was what Bee said.  Tactlessness, however, is par for the course for comedians.  They often go too far in an effort to shock us with incongruity.
So common is this phenomenon that in the wake of the Roseanne fiasco dozens of examples of excess were cited.  Does this mean that we must now ban all offensive humor?  Lenny Bruce must be rolling over in his grave. (Wait, wasn’t he a liberal?)
Worse than the brutal condemnation of Roseanne was the remedy.  She was instantly fired.  Really? Should every occurrence of bad taste elicit this response?  If so, we will soon be reduced to silence.  People will become so afraid of going too far that they will cease being candid about controversial subjects.
This has already happened with regard to race and sex.  Do you remember how Mark Fuhrman was pilloried as being crueler than Hitler for using the N-word?  Who now would consider tempting fate by following in his footsteps?
This, you may say, is a good thing.  But it has a price.  Over-the-top penalties meted out consequent to moral panics shut down free speech. People become so careful about their words that they retreat into separate fortresses.  Instead of honestly communicating, they glare distrustfully at strangers.
A little less sensitivity might therefore be in order.  Yes, we can get angry about insults.  Yes we can instruct one another about the propriety of jokes.  But do we need the equivalent of the death sentence for every violation?  Must we lynch someone whenever we suspect racism?
I have never liked Roseanne’s comedy.  But then neither have I enjoyed Bill Maher’ wit.  Shouldn’t we allow people their own brand of humor? Can’t we permit them to vote with their feet about whom to patronize.  Must we resort to social hatchet men to make these decisions?
Morality is crucial.  No society can exist without it.  But when it tips over into panic, it flirts with immorality.  You might thus want to check out my new paperback on Amazon. It’s called A Principled Society: Cultivating Trust in a World of Strangers.
The message is that our altered social circumstances require a revision of core moral standards.  If we, as a society, are to hold together without panicking every time we are offended, we need to be dedicated to common standards.  These, not emotional squalls, ought to guide our conduct.
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Kennesaw State University

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Perversion of American Values

A couple of weeks ago I argued that the Obama presidency was a failure. On both the domestic and foreign fronts, it did not live up to expectations.  Even so, millions of Americans continue to defend this flawed record.  They actually credit it with moving us forward.
Last week I continued by stressing the current threats to interpersonal trust.  I explained that no large nation can maintain its integrity when strangers are routinely suspicious of one another.  As long as people habitually question the moral reliability of unknown others, they have difficulty collaborating on joint efforts.
Today I wish to emphasize how destructive the perversion of American values has become.  When our shared moral commitments are in danger of collapsing, so is our ability to unite.  And make no mistake—thanks to liberalism, this collapse is well advanced.
Once capitalism was considered morally superior to socialism. But no more.  Once freedom was held in higher regard than complete equality. Yet this too has changed.  Religion was likewise once honored, but has recently fallen into disrepute.  None of this is good.
On the other hand, men were previously deemed superior to women, whites superior to blacks and straights superior to gays.  This was unfair and called out for reform.  Nevertheless turning moral ranking on its head created a travesty.  It arbitrarily reversed the partiality.  As my mother used to say: two wrongs do not make a right.
Utterly perverse, however, has been regarding criminals as superior to the police, illegal immigrants as better than American citizens, unwed parents as morally advanced, and Palestinian rioters as fairer than Israelis.  These caricatures recklessly identified pseudo-victims as moral arbiters.
Liberalism, in an effort to protect the oppressed, misguidedly converted them into the moral oppressors.  It thereby endorsed the retaliation of historical sufferers against their once-upon-a-time persecutors.  Paradoxically, instead of reversing previous injustices, this introduced new ones.
Sadly, the transformation of morality into an Alice through the Looking Glassfarce undermined our most crucial principles.  Honesty, personal responsibility, fairness, liberty, and family values were all placed in jeopardy by scurrilous efforts to undo past wrongs.
Consider honesty.  The media have gone to great lengths to deny irrefutable facts.  In the process, they became cover-up artists extraordinare.  To illustrate, lately they accused president Trump of calling all immigrants “animals,” when he was plainly referring to MS-13 thugs.  Then they refused to retract this slur.
As for personal responsibility, liberals want this transferred in toto to the federal government.  They thus lobby for unelected bureaucrats to oversee individual incomes, gender roles, and medical care.  If nearly everyone were on welfare, food stamps, or social security, the leftists would jump for joy.
Meanwhile, these progressives redefined fairness to imply that favored constituencies deserve special rules.  Double standards have become the norm.  One only has to observe the contrasting manner in which the FBI handled the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump matters.
Each of these moral transgressions was facilitated by an assault on our liberties. Every time we turn around, liberals champion rules to subvert our ability to make free choices. Truth-telling about race and gender, personal responsibility regarding health issues, and even-handed legal administration have all been compromised by politically correct attacks on free speech.
Finally, family values have been thoroughly trashed.  Liberals did not invent the decline in marital standards. This can be laid at the feet of modernity.  But they did little to reverse the trend.  Indeed, by celebrating what they depicted as diversity, they threw the welfare of our children into the gutter.
This is nothing less than a tragedy.  What is more, it is a tragedy that has been compounded by the disinclination of a moral majority to fight back.  Capitalism is not morally inferior to socialism.  Nor ought old-fashioned American virtues be subordinated to non-judgmental claptrap.
Once Richard Nixon appealed to a silent majority to defend our traditions. The Tea Party similarly mobilized voters to support fiscal responsibility.  Where have these impulses gone?  Where are the strident voices crying out for a return to moral good sense?
If ordinary Americans do not rise to the defense of our moral heritage, our nation is doomed.  Morality that is not lived is morality that dies.  Virtue when disrespected is virtue no more.
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Kennesaw State University

Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Tale of Two Tates

Long ago, before the earth cooled—well actually in 1963— I, as a college student, took a summer long vacation in Europe.  It began in London as a bicycling tour.  For reasons I don’t remember, this included a side trip to the Tate museum.
In any event, I was blown away.  Prior to this, I had never heard of J.M.W. Turner.  Yet there he was in all of his glory.  His seascapes were magnificent.  They struck me as an incandescent version of what would later become French impressionism.
This summer, when my wife and I travelled to England, I was determined to recapture the delight of that encounter.  Yet before we could do so, we were touted on the splendor of the new Tate.  Dubbed the Tate Modern, it had become the cynosure of sophisticated eyes.
And so Linda and I joined the crowds.  This, I am sure, will be to her eternal dismay.  For I was not a happy camper—and my incessant grumbling let her know it.  What I observed was appalling.  The days when I enjoyed a honeymoon with modern art may be in the distant past, but, in this case, I loathedwhat I witnessed.
My disenchantment began when we entered a room dedicated to the grandeur of a urinal.  I am not exaggerating.  There, in the center of the room, in a glass case, sat a urinal that had been acclaimed cutting edge art a century ago.  To me, this was merely a grubby toilet fixture.
The next space was entirely dedicated to automobile bumpers from which untidy wool seemed to be hanging.  The accompanying description, however, told me that this was human hair. To my eye, it was as if a slovenly toddler had failed to pick up after herself subsequent to destroying her mother’s knitting.
After this came a room in which a television camera was focused on an egg.  The image was simultaneously captured on an adjacent TV set.  That’s it.  This too was portrayed as fine art.  Meanwhile across the way stood another television screen displaying a distorted version of Richard Nixon delivering a speech.
By now I was beside myself.  Where was the skill in any of this?  Where was the beauty, the design, the composition?  How was this an aesthetic experience?  Obviously the traditional elements were totally absent.  A single high “concept” evidently replaced them.
And what was this concept?  It is that ordinary people—especially the middle classes—are beyond contempt.  They are patently crass, insensitive, and unworthy of higher pursuits.  Nonetheless, here they were trooping by to be insulted—and thereby exalted.
The artists, on the other hand, demonstrated their moral superiority. They doubtless exhibited unrivaled insights into the human condition.  In their arrogant liberalism, they held up a mirror to underscore the crudeness of anyone who did not share their sensibilities.
In fact, this was pretentious nonsense.  It exemplified ignorant and untalented frauds pretending to be nobler than the ordinary ruck of humankind.  Sadly, this also unmasked contemporary progressivism in it rawest form.  All egotism, with little genuine discernment, it sneered at anyone who disagreed.
And yet the public was eating it up.  How was this possible?  How could so many people be fooled into believing this pastiche of insolent drivel was avant garde?  How could they assume that a compendium of condescension held the key to a brighter future?
It is not as if the old Tate had disappeared.  It is still there.  Now rechristened the Tate Britain, the Turner’s that were its former glory remain its current glory.  The John Singer Sargent’s, Anthony van Dyke’s and John Constable’s are not bad either. Old verities do not vanish when they are shouldered aside by vulgar novelties.  They persist as a foundation upon which we could build—were this our desire.
The world does not stand still.  There are always new discoveries to make.  There are always fresh challenges to overcome.  But this does not confer legitimacy upon imposters to who boast of knowledge they do not possess.  Their conceit is no substitute for authentic understanding.
Liberalism is not only wrong; it is disastrously wrong.  It is insufferably obtuse and inherently mean spirited.  It does not love ordinary people; it hates them.  It does not bring people together; it tears them apart.  So I say: Yeah, Tate Britain; Yeah, J.M.W. Turner.  Let’s not disparage their validity.
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Kennesaw State University

A Crisis in Trust

No large society can survive without widespread trust.  In a nation, such as ours, where most people are strangers to one another, individuals must have a modicum of confidence in folks they have never met.  If not, mutual suspicions will prevent them from collaborating on joint projects.
This is true of all mass techno-commercial societies.  When millions of people depend on one another for the food on their tables, the clothes on their backs and the roofs over their heads, they need to be sure these will be supplied in good faith.
As crucially, they must not fear for their personal security in everyday transactions.  It is one thing to worry about gang violence on some inner city streets; it is quite another to dread a physical assault every time one enters a supermarket. Were the latter the case, it would make no sense to leave one’s home.
But how can we be certain about the intentions of strangers?  We do not know them?  They might conceal a secret animus toward our persons.  What if they are like those militants who shoot random police officers?  What if they harbor a hatred of the social category to which we belong; perhaps our race, religion, or gender?
With identity politics rampant and radical partisanship at a fevered pitch, this is not an idle question.  Nowadays people with different political loyalties often refuse to talk to one another.  Nowadays tortured hypocrisy issuing from the lips of public officials has become commonplace.
Once we believed what we heard from the media.  Today we have learned that many journalists are at pains to promote hidden agendas.  Once we assumed that schools taught objective facts.  Today we realize that countless pedagogues disseminate biased opinions.  
When over ninety percent of news coverage of a hated president is negative, we can be certain that it is slanted.  When millions of Americans demand the impeachment of a chief executive before he is inaugurated, they cannot be judging his actions.  When senators refuse to confirm cabinet officers irrespective of their qualifications, we know that truth and justice count for naught.
Paradoxically, we have also witnessed an upsurge in moral posturing.  People violating principles they once held sacred now do so in the name of higher standards.  Ordinary folks passionately trashing ideological enemies likewise claim to be defending hallowed traditions.   In these cases, their words say one thing, but their conduct screams the opposite.
How can it be that people, who once marched in favor of free speech, currently shout down the speech of folks with whom they disagree?  How can government officials, who previously prosecuted perjury, turn around and excuse their own perjury?
Does personal integrity no longer matter?  Has the quest for political power become so inordinate that no potentially winning tactic is exempt from consideration?  If so, it will not be long before the long knives are out not just metaphorically, but actually.
Today students paint school murals that skewer the head of a sitting president.  Does this portend a day when assassination is the preferred mode of political dialogue? Today activists proudly encourage immigrants to flout U.S. law.  Does this forecast a time when few laws are respected?
Trust is a fragile thing?  It takes years, and frequently centuries, to consolidate.  To throw it away for the expediency of the moment is insane.  To sacrifice it for a short term victory is long-term madness.  Widespread distrust can only end in a society of apprehensive hermits who never venture out of their bomb shelters.
Morality is not dead; it cannot be dead.  To convert it into a malleable tool of transitory convenience is to lay the groundwork for utter destruction.  When, through our actions, we teach our children that everyone lies and cheats, soon everyone will lie and cheat.
Most Americans are tired of our poisonous political atmosphere. Nonetheless, fat too many participate in spreading the toxins.  They may demand that others behave honorably, but are blind to their own indiscretions. On the assumption that they are intrinsically trustworthy, they dismiss their lies as virtuous.
So I say, let’s defend morality.  Let us genuinely stand up for principles such as honesty, personal responsibility, and fairness.  Let us teach them; let us fight for them; let us condemn their absence.  The alternative is a cynical slide into anarchy.
Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Kennesaw State University