Sunday, October 23, 2011


I wrote last time about those responsible for the moral decay in America.

The fundamental reason for that decay, I believe, is the popular erroneous view of what morality is.  It is commonly thought that morality relates to how you deal with others, how you behave toward others.  That the reason to be honest, for example, is that others are entitled to the truth.  Out of this mistaken perspective, understandable that many will choose to be immoral (dishonest, for example) if they think they can "get away with it".  "If nobody knows," this mindset claims, "what's so wrong with being immoral and reaping some benefits from it?"

But, in fact, a moral life is not lived for the benefit of others, but for the benefit of YOU.  Morality is a code of pro-life conduct...not pro-the other guy's life, not pro-society's life, but pro-YOUR life.  Others may benefit from your morality, but they are not the reason you are moral.

And maybe the best way to see that is to imagine being the only one on a desert island.  Choose to sit on your butt and not make the effort to go out and find food, and you are doomed.  (Which is why Productivity is a moral virtue.)   Lie to yourself that the wild beast snarling in front of you is nothing but a chicken, and you are doomed.  (Which is why Honesty is a moral virtue.)  Make your actions for survival  based on the toss of a coin rather than by thinking, and you are doomed.  (Which is why Reason is a moral virtue.)  Etc.

Can you get "get away with it" if nobody is around, if nobody knows?  Of course not.  YOU are around, YOU know...and YOU will pay the price...from a loss of confidence and self-esteem, to anxiety and depression, to a thousand other prices, including the loss of your life.

If you think "everybody else is doing it, why shouldn't I?" is a good rationale for immorality, think does not for a moment postpone payment by you of all the prices mentioned above.  (Which is why Independent Thinking is a moral virtue.)

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