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This topic usually comes up around election time and I hear it from friends and acquaintances, who normally see things the way I do,  that they don’t want to discuss or focus on the “social issues”; that the only important topics that need to be discussed during the election process are the economy, health care, and maybe immigration. What they fail to admit is that the term “social issues” is just another name for moral issues.

These issues include but are not limited to: abortion, gay marriage, drug legalization, public school failings and what’s being taught there, pornography and religious freedom.  It isn’t hard for most Americans to see a huge decline in our country, the economy being obvious, but so many don’t want to get to the root issue. It is my opinion that the economy’s slide is a result of the moral decline in our culture. Before I delve into my thinking surrounding that statement, I will look at some recent headlines in order to lay a foundation.

“Mob Attacks put Chicagoans on Alert”– It seems that Chicago has experienced an epidemic of what is referred to as “flash mobs”; large groups of teens who rob, beat and intimidate downtown shoppers. Why? Because they can. Innocent people get hurt because teenagers think it’s “fun” to terrorize and harm shoppers on Michigan Avenue; even attacking people on trains in the downtown area. They aren’t discriminatory in their attacks; anyone is fair game.

“Black Friday violence erupts across country”- Here’s the opening paragraph in the story, “Mayhem erupted at big-box stores across the USA as frenzied shoppers vying for holiday deals turned on each other and resorted to violence to get their goods.” What were these violent acts? Shootings, stabbings, stampedes, melees, pepper sprays, swarms, and even a bomb scare. If it wasn’t so sick I would laugh. And why all the violence? Why to save a few bucks on a flat screen TV of course.

“Elderly woman could be city’s 10th ‘knockout game’ victim”– The article says, “Activists called for an end to the “game,” in which punks try to knock a stranger unconscious with a single punch, and then post video of the attack online”. Ooohh what fun! This particular victim was a 76-year-old woman. Our games consisted of tag, hide and seek, baseball and many others. This isn’t a game. This is thuggery and the “game” has caused deaths in some major cities. In an article on this phenomenon here: (http://tinyurl.com/qe4yz4y) Mark Steyn had this to say, “Restraint is an unfashionable concept these days, but it is the indispensable feature of civilized society. To paraphrase my compatriot George Jonas, punching a spinster’s lights out isn’t wrong because it’s illegal; it’s illegal because it’s wrong. But, in a world without restraints, what’s to stop you?”

We are shocked at these stories and it seems so distant from what most sane people would consider normal, civilized behavior. Why would anyone think that these actions are anything but reprehensible? Well, let me see. Where to start? At its root these are moral outrages. But, who’s morality? It wasn’t that long ago when it was immoral to “shack up” with your girlfriend; but now it’s common to “live together” prior to marriage and have children out-of-wedlock. It wasn’t that long ago when abortion was illegal and morally degrading; it’s now the law of the land and happens in the millions; year after year (a great moneymaker for Planned Parenthood). It used to be that homosexuality was considered an aberration (still less than 2% of the population) and immoral behavior; now homosexual behavior is considered “cool,” the newest fad among teens and marriage is being redefined to accommodate their desires. It used to be wrong to lie; today it is almost a prerequisite for the politician. Who’s to say that the “knockout game” is immoral or wrong if morality itself is up for interpretation and can be redefined on a whim?

I see the woes in our culture today, failing schools, inner city violence, single parent households, pornography and the economy among many, a result of the lack of a moral foundation. Corrupt politicians promising things they can’t deliver: a moral issue. Corrupt businessmen ransacking the company’s finances: a moral issue. People wanting handouts for doing nothing: a moral issue. Corrupt union bosses lying to the rank and file about future pension money: a moral issue. When immoral leaders make decisions designed to enrich themselves with more power and money, then the country and economy suffers. When we elect leaders on the sole criteria of what favors they can do for us, ignoring their honesty and integrity, then we pay the price.

It’s an odd thing how we each pick and choose a different behavior that will lead us to “moral outrage”. Do “flash mob” thuggery, the “knockout game” and Black Friday violence bother you, but not out-of-wedlock pregnancies? Does abortion bother you, but not politicians that habitually lie to get your vote? Do you overlook them all as long as the economy is roaring along? To think that we can invent new morality standards in some areas of the culture and maintain them in others is a foolish endeavor. If anything goes in the sexual arena, then why not in politics, business, and all other corners of the culture?

We lament the fact that businesses open on Thanksgiving and Christmas (those greedy capitalists!), but who is it I see pounding down their doors for the next “one hour special” (those greedy citizens!)? We can’t understand why all the garbage and smut is a normal part of the nightly television landscape, but who is it that’s watching all of this quality programming? And why do we expect our leaders to have higher moral standards than we ourselves do? Without a moral foundation or as Mr. Jonas phrased it, in “a world without restraints,” what’s to stop you indeed?