ARE WE BECOMING MORE TOLERANT, OR LESS?
~~By Tim Bryce~~~~BRYCE ON MORALITY~~
– Ask yourself the question, who was more tolerant, your parents or yourself?
I have been working on a project aimed at teaching morality in a uniform manner. This has caused me to examine the properties of morality and consider the causes for its decline in this country. One key variable is our changing sense of tolerance; what was not considered permissible in one generation, may be considered acceptable in the next. For example, back in the 17th century a fiddle was viewed as “an instrument of the devil” as it led to dancing, which was considered sinful at the time. This is certainly not true anymore, but we now have become more “Politically Correct” (P.C.) in order to not offend a class of people, be it based on race or gender. Frankly, I find most of the P.C. language and customs to be hypocritical, but that is me. Others follow P.C. religiously.
Our sense of right and wrong used to be as sharp as black and white. No longer. Now it appears we have many shades of gray. What was condemned in prior generations is now accepted in today’s world. The idea of accepting such things as legalized marijuana or gay marriage would be beyond the comprehension of “The Greatest Generation,” those who survived the Great Depression and World War II. The Baby Boomers though survived the drug culture and sexual revolution of the 1960’s and, as such, are more tolerant of such concepts. For example, a man living with a woman out of wedlock would be considered disgraceful to “The Greatest Generation.” However, most Baby Boomers today accept it, as do their successors.
I am fortunate to have witnessed five generations in my family. Each had their own unique perspective of morality and sense of tolerance. Some of the differences were subtle, such as drinking, smoking, and language; others were more pronounced, such as their perspectives on citizenship, defense, patriotism, love, assisting others, etc. The impact of economics, and war and peace played a dramatic role on their values, as did their participation in organized religion. I contend each generation becomes more permissive than the last due to changing perceptions of moral values. What is considered acceptable today, may not have been considered so yesterday, or possibly tomorrow.
Consider how we administered corporal punishment in the home. In yesteryear, the father doled out discipline on the children using a leather belt or shaving strap. Mothers used a fly swatter or hickory switch to get their point across. Today, such devices are considered archaic. Instead, we have “time out” or suspend the child’s use of his/her smart phone, computer, or television. Somehow I think the leather belt was more persuasive than “time out” which simply inconvenienced the child.
Each generation tries to make life better for the next. Whereas one generation may have suffered through hardships and lived modestly, a trail is blazed by the elders to simplify the lives of their youth, provide them a better world to live in and encourage them to prosper. Sometimes the sacrifices of the past are appreciated, other times it is taken for granted and forgotten.
Ask yourself the question, who was more tolerant, your parents or yourself? Without a doubt, it is progressively different. My great-grandparents were less permissive than my grandparents, who were less tolerant than my parents, who were less tolerant than my generation. Many years ago, the family suffered through a divorce which was considered damaging to the family’s reputation. Not surprising, there were much fewer divorces back then because of the shame associated with it. Today, there is much more of a laissez faire attitude toward divorce, which is perhaps why it is more commonplace. There is no longer any commitment to make a marriage work. If it doesn’t, a couple can get a divorce and a “do over” in life. So much for personal commitment.
My point is, over time we become more tolerant of violating moral values. The more frequently we turn away from such values, the more our culture changes. Again, ask yourself the question, who was more tolerant, your parents or yourself? Now ask who is more tolerant, you or your offspring? I hope you see where I am going with this.
FOOTNOTE: I am currently working on a training program to teach uniform Morality, suitable for use in companies, schools, and other institutions. If you would like to know more, see my flyer by clicking HERE.
Keep the Faith!
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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.