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.
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.
Some teachers fear for their safety. Students graduate functionally illiterate, and colleges and employers have to make up the difference.
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?
Penalties for sexual harassment and misconduct should be increased.
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.
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.
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.
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.