Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bringing morality to rioters

Katherine Kersten, in her Star Tribune column, on August 28, 2011, lamented that something is very wrong in the West and in England in particular. She and her sources blame the outburst by riotous looters as emblematic of 50 years of moral abandonment of the Western tradition of self-restraint. I agree.

Traditional Judeo-Christian morality has been supplanted by materialism (I agree) and radical individualism (I disagree strongly here. The superficial individualism exhibited by an assembled mob of lawless youths arises rather from their sacrifice of the self to collective thuggery.)

We cannot solely return to our classical moral and religious heritage. Of course, all children must be raised by a mom and a dad, with a conscience instilled, within the value system of self-development accompanied by ethical self-restraint.

Morality springs from faith, be it Christian or non-Christian. The internal desires and passions that drive each youth must be controlled by that well-brought youth, as she never allows her peers to direct her choices or behavior.

Morality and religion are largely discernible even if not objectively knowable. Their probable certainty is certain enough and universal enough to apply to all members of society without bias or unfairness.

Kersten insists that to remoralize society and re-religionize society are the ways to avoid the ethics of lawless, subjective hedonsim. She calls it right: Out of faith grows morality. Out of morality grows the virtuous citizen that makes democratic system possible, while maintaining civil order.

Like I believe, I think she believes in original sin. Unlike I believe, she is a conservative altruist, whereas I am a conservative egoist.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rioting In England

It is shocking and depressing to spectate while law and order disintegrated the last few days in several major cities in England. Rioters and looters rampaged, attacked, stole and destroyed private property. How did this happen in one of the most civilized countries on earth?

My first response is that it can happen anywhere for the veneer of civilized behavior restraining the masses can be shedded quickly and easily when mob fever is rampant and coursing through the veins of assembled young people, angry, unemployed, without focus or self-censoring.

My second response is that each moral agent is half-demon and half-angel. Where utter unity and self-effacement are demanded and complied with, the gathered young people can do anything to anyone. Anything goes. Our demonic side as ascendant.

Bad news can be transformed into good news were parents of such young people wise and in control of their youngsters. There would have been no thousands of young people to  get together and tear down society. Where youngsters are supervised, taught to work and dream, and be working hard towards their personal dream in line with their modern version of their vision quest (already undertaken, pondered upon with meaning assigned and a course of action for the future laid out), rioting does not occur.

Were these youngsters trained to develop as Mavericks pursuing their enlightened, self-actualizing self-interest, they would have neither the time, opportunity or inclination to run in packs, preying upon society and neighbors.

With about 95% probability, the angelic sides of children's natures can be nurtured and accentuated to the degree and point that it becomes natural to live an angelic adult life. Where parents begin to so raise their children, spontaneous rioting will become a rare occasion indeed.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Regretting so much when it is too late

It is easier to get into trouble than to dig one's way out of it once one realizes that one has made the wrong choice.

For example, we often will drink way too much, becoming very drunk. Once we get sick, cannot drive a car and will miss work the next day, then we admit we should not have screwed up again.

What is that perverse streak in human nature that makes us misbehave? There may be many motives, including our being wired to do the wrong thing: this original sin is our rebellious streak against obeying God's natural law that makes us flout it. Another motive is that the pressure for leading the "perfect life" is more than we can bear, so sinning relieves the pressure for awhile.

For many misbehaving and sinning are simply fun. Other fill their life with cheap drama: They sin during the week so they can confess, repent and atone on the weekend, perhaps even announcing it in front of the congregation on Sunday morning. Returning to the saintly path is much more a poignant,  sweet victory after a binge of real sinning. The prodigal daughter returns to the fold.

God wants us to sin a little and to hate a little, but mostly love and be virtuous. We cannot ever be perfect angels anyway. Less drama and more consistent performance is order. God will be more pleased with us as our actions and words become less theatrical and more sincere. We likely will get to heaven sooner. We will also see an increase in our self-esteem.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Job Fulfillment

It used to be in America that the man of the house was the breadwinner, likely to sole earner of a paycheck. His identity, his sense of self-worth and his sense of purpose were all wrapped up in the job he had.

Of course this has all changed and that is acceptable, even desirable. Here is my question:

What elements derived from the  patriarchal model of wage-earning are admirable, and, once extricated from their source, would serve as exemplary characteristics for any self-realizer to model?

First, God put us here to work and develop our God-given talents to the nth degree. Our identity should be inseparable from the work we do and the way that we go about it.

Second, leading a busy work life should be highlighted as the most purposeful life imaginable.

Third, doing something worthwhile and creating or bringing into existence something of worth corresponds to and should correspond to the type and caliber of activity proving the doer's worth. His sense of worth is not just how he feels about himself, but it is also a matter confirmed in action by his substantive output.

To be is to do, and impressive doing renders the doer worthy of accolades, respect and praise.