Monday, August 22, 2016

Imagine a world

It's a surprise to realize there's little difference between a self-centered bully and a killer. The only thing that keeps a bully from killing every time they're inconvenienced or annoyed is that it would get them in trouble.  They'll do what they can get away with.

In the decision to do harm to another, the only constraints are morals and penalties.  As the moral element has already been weakened in the bully's mind, the remaining constraints are legal and cultural penalties.

Imagine a world with no rules.  From an early age, our children would tend to violence.  Absent some extraordinary moral stance, each would find occasion for doing deliberate harm to another.  Parents would find themselves struggling to raise good-hearted kids in a violent world, a world where the cultural barriers to destructive behavior are missing.

... a world where the barriers to destructive behavior are missing?

Actually, we're all familiar with that problem and the moral changes that follow.  We've been watching it happen for decades.

Insulating young children from destructive
influences is becoming progressively
less possible.
For instance ... 
Broad sexualization, particularly at earlier developmental stages 
Now common among preteens along with the commensurate disease and relational problems, our abandoning of sexual boundaries has blossomed into a multi-billion dollar porn industry, human trafficking and child exploitation, national redefinition of marriage and family, the broken relational context between parents and children, and the erosion of commitment between partners.

Vaccination for STDs now considered normal
and necessary for all children.
Before the 70's, the general stance of abstinence until marriage, etc., had been the understood standard of right-thinking, but much had changed following the war years.

Today, the process of sexualization unavoidably burdens our pre-teens and tweens.  Should an 8 year old get a body-waxing to remove visible hair on her legs?  Should a 12 year old need to worry about a bikini wax?

It's troubling enough to see young folks overplaying the sexual attraction card.  It's oddly bizarre to see preteens, with parental support, involved in the same game before they even know what it means.  Such activities are brain and life shapers.

Have you noticed that kids don't stand by the street waiting for the school bus without parental supervision?  Just fifty years ago, children and dogs ran free.

Western culture has morphed on many issues; change came slowly, it progressed inexorably.  Is our current cultural position on sexuality and behavior a good one?  Is it smarter or more beneficial than the one from which we've evolved?  There are some troublesome issues ...

Out-of-wedlock birth rates have soared. From around 4% in the 60's, it is now more than 40%.  Every year about one million more children are born into fatherless families.  Each is more likely to be trapped in poverty, more likely to suffer a variety of impediments to life.

The Father Factor
  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US DoH/Census); 5 times the average
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes; 32 times the average
  • 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes; 20 times the average. (CDC) 
  • 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes; 14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26) 
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes; 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report) 
  • 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes; 10 times the average
  • Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school. 
  • Children with fathers who are involved in their lives are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school. They are 70% less likely to drop out of school. They are more likely to get A’s in school. They are more likely to enjoy school and engage in extracurricular activities.

This is just one of many change categories.  Most areas of life are changing, and some are troubling ...
Note that discussion on the subject today will include the observation that there's always been such change.  True, yet when seen in the larger context of civilizations in turmoil, such change is significant.

So as we observe what we've done, it's clear that just making rules is no solution.  We've made rules and managed to apply them and to justify doing so despite the destructive outcomes.  So how might we, as a culture and as a nation, be changed for the better?  What would it take?
Now, imagine a world where we've agreed to value character more than bling, caring more than having, and serving others more than winning.  What would it be like to live in a world without Kardashians in the limelight?