re: Dishonesty Flourishes Because We Enable It
This is not an individual issue. More and more we find people in positions of trust who shamelessly exploit that trust for personal enrichment, who see no problem with selling their access and their trust to the highest bidder for more money, a misplaced sense of entitlement, or a desire for childish revenge. It sounds simplistic to admit it, but we have a crisis of character. We are witnessing the result of two generations of slow degeneration in the sense of what it means to be a moral and upright individual. The entire concept has been relegated to the realm of impossible and impractical idealism, the sort of thing you grow out of as you learn how to screw people, corporations, entire states or the nation.
In the absence of any sense of duty or obligation to the United States, or indeed any organization higher than one's immediate family, people have no reason not to exploit the trust and access to secure information and funds granted them. Morality is something that's preached at them; honesty is being able to make the judge and jury believe you have it; civilization is from Sid Meier. There is no longer a sense that we all have an obligation to ourselves and each other to the truth, or to ideals of freedom, responsibility and the future that form the basis for American civilization. This is going to cost us, because a nation of brigands and pirates is vulnerable to the first enemy with better organization and loyalty. They don't have to be more moral than we are; they just have to have people willing to man the guns despite the danger. They'll easily sink any nation whose people rely exclusively on "I've got mine, every man for himself."
Today the only people preaching 'morality' are goofball Dominionist Christians whose agenda is distinctly anti-American and anti-democratic. We have no religious or social leaders of any stature, and no one is speaking about a need for a higher sense of responsibility to our society and our future -- except charlatans who want you to buy their gold, or their books, or their twelve-DVD lecture series. The entire concept of honesty and self-respect and obligation to our civilization has become a joke, something that isn't real, or has the same bearing on modern life as Spongebob Squarepants or Santa Claus. You cannot believe how corrosive this is to the very idea of America.
There is no road out of Hell. We need as a people to confront the fact that we have no sense of civil obligation any more, no concept of what it means to be honest and upright in all things, no idea what 'integrity' might mean beyond the appearance of being trustworthy. A vile sense that no one stands for anything but their own enrichment, not just in spite of but directly through exploiting other people. A nation so constituted cannot stand. It's going to be one drive-by and home invasion and mortgage fraud after another until the only people left are the ones using weapons to "earn" their living and the defended communities of those who don't want to live by the gun. Sort of like sixth-century Europe without the Catholic Church or present-day Afghanistan and Iraq.
This past week we lost Steven Covey, revered in the business world but a man whose own studies of self-help works of the 20th Century revealed to him that all were invested in getting the individual to improve himself at the expense of everyone else around them. He championed a different idea, one of the individual helping to build a society with higher ideals and stronger principles than self-aggrandizement. We are going to need more of him if we are to stop the rush to barbarism. Because despite our iPhones and Hadoop-powered infrastructure and hybrid electric cars, we are moving into an era where power alone has any currency with people. You are going to be met with force, at the ballot box, at the bank, in the street, and you are going to be facing people who have embraced the gunfighter's code that the only one who wins is the one drawing faster, shooting sooner, and doesn't care if it's your back. That's the way you win. The only way you win. The only way you win. The only way you win.