Share via Email Youngstown, Ohio, was once a thriving steel centre. Now, the industry has all gone and the city is full of abandoned homes and businesses. For almost half a century, the United States had been a relatively egalitarian, secure, middle-class democracy, with structures in place that supported the aspirations of ordinary people. You might call it the period of the Roosevelt Republic.
In a dangerous world and an often unhappy society we need to face reality if we are to do the right thing. His understanding that consumerism is the great enemy of reality in our time is profound, nonideological, and deeply helpful to any readers concerned not only about their country, but about their own lives.
Well, you have to remember that the great philosophers of the modern era meant to define ethical principles not just for this continent and our time but for all times and all places. Such universal principles, however, have got to be thin or false.
An ethics that matters must have a more definite compass. How narrow should it be? Somewhere, presumably, in between the universe and Missoula, Montana.
A nation provides a fair scope for ethics. Of course, the notion of the nation has had a bad press lately. Nations are oppressive to regions and obsolete in a global era, we have been told.
Here, as so often, we tend to be the spoiled beneficiaries of our ancestors. Building this nation took great resourcefulness, a combination of fortitude, ingenuity, and good judgment. It was built, to be sure, on the destruction of Native American culture and the subordination of African Americans and women.
But in the end, it made for the inclusion of all and over the expanse of a continent. The great virtue of a nation is that the people comprising it take responsibility for one another and for what they have in common.
When people in Mississippi made it impossible for African Americans to vote, we did not write it off to the amusing or regrettable customs of Mississippians but rather saw to it that they changed their ways. When Alaskans want to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we do not let them go ahead in their state as they see fit but prevent them from disturbing land that is pristine and belongs to the entire nation.
This is all to the good. But we have to do more.
We have to take our mutual and inclusive responsibility more seriously and understand it more deeply. When a guest of yours begins to take responsibility for the appearance of your home, criticizing the arrangement of your furniture, lecturing you, and moving things around, you will say: But taking responsibility for what we obliviously and perhaps detrimentally do to one another is recognition or realization rather than intrusion.
Is it possible to say something coherent and substantial about the norms and values that people in this country observe or ought to follow? She speaks Chinese; he speaks English. She has four children; he has one child. She honors Confucius; he is Episcopalian. Between these two distant points on the social map, there are many grades of income and prosperity, a diversity of religious beliefs and ethnic origins, countless languages—what do all these people have in common?
The cleaning woman and the Wall Street financier share a vision of the good life. She understands very well what he possesses in fame and fortune, and she is determined to help her children attain it.
He knows how she lives, and he takes satisfaction in knowing he is better off. There is mobility in society, yet not as much as the rich like to claim to give their status the glow of hard-earned merit and less than the lower classes imagine so they can allow hope to prevail over realism.
What social and economic mobility there is, at any rate, builds a highway of common understanding across the thickets of diversity, and hence the janitor could easily do in her leisure what the banker does if only the janitor had his money. She could climb into a private jet as easily as she now climbs onto the bus.
It is no longer the case that to belong to the upper class a young woman has to be able to play the harpsichord, do needlework, and remember the steps and bows of the minuet; nor does a young man have to know how to fence, to ride, and to read Cicero in the original.
Obstacles in the Path of Excellence This country has the right size, and its people share enough of their ways and wants so that we can say something coherent and substantial about their typical conduct and values.
But how are we to judge all this? And more daunting still, who could presume to tell Americans how to change their ways if judging their ethics is possible and the judgment turns out to be damning? No way and no one. The arguments in support of the answer are second nature to us. This consideration is not only a moral principle, it is a pragmatic necessity, so the argument continues.The phrase “The American lives to work, and the Mexican works to live”, illustrates one of the many ways that the work ethic varies between the American worker and the Mexican worker.
In Mexico, for example, leisure is considered essential for a full life.
America, which was founded on a spiritual basis, has been turning its back on the morals that this very nation was established upon. The United States has now become a place in which television, internet, newspapers, and media in general scream moral decline, as well as a place where parental discipline has dwindled away to nearly no form of discipline at all.
No, America is not in a moral decline. It still is the best model we all have to look up to. Behind America’s balancing act, the pioneering French social thinker noted, lay a common set of civic virtues that celebrated not merely hard work but also thrift, integrity, self-reliance, and modesty—virtues that grew out of the pervasiveness of religion, which Tocqueville called “the first of [America’s] political institutions, imparting morality” to American democracy and free markets.
With the stake of the country's future at hand, it is important that these issues are addressed because it is obvious American culture is decling fast in ethics, especially in education, dating, and religion.
The first example deals with the decline in today’s educational system. Declining Ethics in American Culture It is unfortunate to see how ethics in the American culture are constantly declining.
People’s moral values are below normal societal standards, which is why, the older generations are outraged by the way things are now, and become rather upset and feel disturbed towards society.