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Decline of values

As a former social worker, teacher and political aide, I think many of our problems can be traced to a decline of values since the mid-60s. Before then people were quiet in theaters and libraries; they didn’t disturb others as much with loud radios. There wasn’t as much public profanity; movies didn’t have to be rated, nor Halloween candy checked. Graffiti wasn’t exhibited as art; and drunks, runaways, and bums were dealt with firmly. There wasn’t neighborhood watch. There weren’t live-in guards nor metal detectors at schools, nor as much gam­bling, pornography, and drugs.

There weren’t as many rock concerts getting out of hand, nor young kids involved with drugs, alcohol, and weapons. College kids didn’t pull off girls bathing suits during Easter break. College professors didn’t date nor sleep with their students, nor did cops with civilians. The suicide rate for those under l5 was a third less, as was the number of girls under l5 who had sex.

The number of kids in single-parent homes was less than half of what it is. People in institutions didn’t have so many rights they abused themsel­ves, fellow patients, and staff. People had more respect for teachers and police who had more authority and less burn out.

People had less, but were happier and more hopeful. They led more wholesome lives like ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ and ‘Happy Days’. Since then there has been a great slide in six areas.

  1. 1 Sex Too much titillation – each year in the media, more bosoms, rears, ‘naughty’ poses, teases, suggestive movements and comments.
  2. 2 Work We are told: menial work is undignified; assembly line work is unforgivable; the laboring man is abused; capitalism exploits people; every wage should support a family; there are no jobs for the poor (yet poor immigrants find them); job security is a right; something is wrong when both parents have to work; and something is terribly wrong if the present generation won’t have more than the past one.
    What’s been the result this type of thinking? Unions for a long time were getting more wages for less work; jobs have gone begging while we deported illegal aliens eager to work; people don’t take the pride in their work they used to; it’s hard to get good help; service has declined; and some people in the ghetto laugh at the idea of regular work.
  3. 3 Crime The rise has to be traceable to less discipline, responsibility, punishment, and respect for authority, property, and people. Many young people haven’t learned these.They’ve been kept out of work by the minimum wage, welfare, unions, and child labor laws. Some in their mid-20s have never held a job.They are spoiled and immature. They’ve been told life owes them thrills. Their crimes are more violent with less remorse; and this is excused by social workers, mouthing psychobabble. Crime is blamed on poverty, but even during the depression we didn’t have this much crime. Criminals have more rights and police have less power. Police even have trouble stopping loud stereos.
  4. 4 Education We have seen the feel-good permissiveness of open classroom, grading fads, snap courses, open enrollment, dumbed down texts, no dress codes, social promotion, and far less discipline. An issue was made of spanking a student with a ping pong paddle. A ‘no pass, no play’ case was taken to the supreme court. Little wonder 4l% of the teachers Los Angeles wouldn’t chose teaching if starting over.Some teachers fear for their safety. Students graduate functional­ly illiterate, and colleges and employers have to make up the difference.
  5. 5 Poverty It persists because many of the poor are paid not to work , the definition of poverty has been expanded , and social ‘scien­tists’ have hundreds of excuses for the poor. Great efforts and sums of money were spent on the War on Poverty in the 60s with few results; yet we are constantly told we didn’t do enough.
  6. 6 Drugs We consume 60% of the world’s drugs. This must have some connection to the decline of: restraint, prudence, foresight, thrift, moderation, deferred gratification, facing reality, resolving one’s problems, and getting pleasure the natural way. It’s fly now, pay later. Take a pill, be young forever, the fast lane, no one’s responsible.

The decline of values is worst for the poor and minorities. They used to get ahead through hard work, family teamwork, and hope. Nowadays they are told the government owes them a living, slums are someone else’s fault, they are victims of class, economi­cs, and race. This relieves them of respon­sibility. Many are of them are fatalistic to begin with; lower values are the last thing they need.

What can we do about the decline?

  1. 1 Sex We could drastically reduce the amount of titillation. Sex education should point out how sex has been cheapened by the media. It should stress restraint, modesty, wholesomeness and responsibility.Penalties for sexual harassment and misconduct should be increased.
  2. 2 Work We should talk less about a day’s pay and more about a day’s work. We should never disparage menial work. It’s the way many people make a living.We should work toward the freest economy as it provides the most jobs and rewards the best workers. This means reducing tariffs, capital gains tax, regulations, licensing, union power, and minimum wage. The latter would create thou­sands of first jobs for teens. This would teach work habits, build respon­sibility, and reduce crime. Young people under l8 should be allowed to work in the trades, and those 14 should be allowed to work part time.
  3. 3 Crime We could start with quiet in libraries and theat­ers, no public profanity, boom boxes, verbal abuse, threats, nor panhan­dling. Runaways, alcoholics, and mental patients could be dealt with firmly. We could put less stock in psychology and hold people accountable for their behavior regardless of their poverty, alcoholism, addiction, etc. Court backlogs could be cut through ‘private justice’.
  4. 4 Education School choice and privatization could bring better and more practical education through dress codes, discipline, parental involvement, tougher grading, career counseling for 1/3rd the cost.
  5. 5 Poverty We could compare our poor to poor immigrants, who, with limited English, have been successful. We could get information from those abused by the poor: landlords, merchants, employers, creditors, etc. We could realize: – the poor are not ‘oppressed’ or ‘trapped’ , – discrimination hasn’t held back blacks from the Caribbean, – poverty doesn’t excuse crime, alcohol, addiction, gambling, promiscuity, illegitimacy, and child and wife abuse, – the poor have been hurt by some social programs (guaranteed income, negative income tax, minimum wage, welfare, graduated income taxes, and ‘spread-the-work’ schemes).We could consider England’s policy in the l9th century of setting of welfare beneath the lowest wage. This would give the poor every reason to look for work. We could avoid job quotas, charity, subsidies, and preferential treatment; and instead promote, self-reliance, work, education, business experience, and saving.
  6. 6 Drugs We could close ‘head shops’ and prohibit portraying drugs in a favorable light. We could promote drug testing, and penalize users.

What can we do in a general sense about these six areas? We can stop apologizing for being adults and for traditional values. We can stop relieving everyone of responsibility. We can stop claiming: problems are ‘diseases’, everyone is a ‘vic­tim’, everything is ‘complex’, and any firmness violates someone’s ‘rights’. We can cut back on self-pity, introspection, and psychology. We can recognize vice as a cancer. We can cut down on cheat­ing, violence, and drugs in sports. We can study why the Japanese have better manners, education, and a far lower crime rate. We can show how success is due to traditional values.

It could be said the decline has been due to liberal leanings toward sociali­sm, psychology, and exaggerated ‘rights’. They ­ played a part, but a lot of the decline has been simply a long, steady, slide of values. We did it to ourselves.

Traditional values

  1. Capitalism.
  2. Less government – more privatizaton.
  3. Responsibility (the most important).
  4. Foresight (thrift, saving, planning).
  5. Self-reliance (rather than a welfare state).
  6. Golden rule (relia­bility, honesty, good faith, fairness, manners, respect for property, authority, elders, and ethnics).

Law and order, authority, punishment, family teamwork, hard work, discipline, diligence, modera­tion, restraint, whole­some­ness, modesty, self-respect, one’s appearance, practical educa­tion, some censorship, some conformity.

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