Moral Education for the New Order

The Rasmussen folks last week revealed a poll wherein American young people are just about evenly divided on whether they prefer capitalism to socialism.  Among our under-30 crowd, 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. 

Sucking at the teat of the state has never looked so good, apparently.

Well, this certainly helps explain Obamamania.

Tie this purely disgusting finding to last year's Josephson Institute Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, which determined levels of lying, cheating and stealing among high school students, and you'll see a very disturbing pattern of moral erosion.

  • 30% stole from a store in the past year; 23% stole from a parent or other relative; 20% stole something from a friend.
  • 42% lie regularly to save money; 83% lied to a parent about something significant.
  • 64% cheated on a test in the last year; 38% cheated 2 or more times; 36% used the internet to plagiarize an assignment.

I'm not sure whether to look for a paddle or throw up my hands and guzzle some Pepto Bismol.

You may be thinking it could be worse.  And as it turns out, you would be correct.  It actually is worse.  By students' own admission, 26% confessed they lied on at least one or two questions on the survey. Experts agree that dishonesty on surveys usually is an attempt to conceal misconduct, i.e., to make oneself appear better than he actually is.

But it gets even worse.

High school students admit to vast amounts of lying, cheating and stealing, but lo and behold, their confessions make nary a dent in their ethical self-esteem.  A staggering 93 percent said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character and 77 percent said that when it comes to doing what is right, "I am better than most people I know."

When everything is relative and God is assumed to be on vacation, the descent to hell becomes a very wide, very short path.

And though I am loath to admit it, these paragons of low virtue that our schools are turning out will make the perfect little socialists that a third of them apparently now dream of becoming.  They'll do as little as possible to get by and won't even flinch before taking all they can from the inevitable scarcity of goods produced by state-tyrannized enterprise.

Those who lie now to parents and school authorities will certainly lie to get employment and then lie to stay employed.  Those who cheat now on tests will later cheat the system for as much personal gain as they possibly can.  Those who steal from stores and friends now will certainly steal even more from a public trough where they never come face to face with the real people from whom they are stealing.

And which citizens among us are the most prone to lying, cheating, stealing, selfishness, and money-grubbing?  Why, liberals of course.

Author, Peter Schweizer, did a detailed study of the differences between liberals and conservatives, much of which came from the highly respected National Cultural Values Survey.  In his myth-busting book, Makers and Takers, Schweizer presents conclusive evidence that liberals are vastly different from conservatives, especially in morals and ethics.

Take, for instance, the following examples from Makers and Takers:

  • Would you claim government benefits you were not entitled to if you could get away with it? Liberals were more than twice as likely as conservatives to say it is okay to get welfare benefits they were not entitled to.
  • You lose your job. Your friend's company is looking for someone to do temporary work. They are willing to pay the person in cash to avoid taxes and allow the person to still collect unemployment. What would you do? Almost half (49 percent) of self-described progressives said they would take the job, cheating on their taxes and lying when collecting government benefits. Only 21% of conservatives said they would go along.
  • One-third of those who called themselves very liberal said it was okay to buy goods they knew were stolen, compared with 17 percent of conservatives.
  • The World Values Survey finds that liberals are more willing to accept bribes than conservatives by a sizable 10 percentage points.
  • When asked by the World Values Survey whether it is okay to avoid paying bus or subway fare, liberals - by a whopping 20 points - said they had no problem with calling fare-jumping an acceptable practice.
  • The World Values Survey found that conservatives are 15 percent more likely to say that you must report damage you've done to a parked car than liberals.

Sadly, these are merely the tip of a huge, societal iceberg of liberal dishonesty and greed.  Yet, like the high school students following their ill-set example, liberals hold themselves in very high ethical esteem.  Liberals tend to think of themselves as not only smarter than conservatives, but also as more honest, more charitable, more loving and more just in their relations with other human beings.  But as Schweizer's extensive research has confirmed, the exact opposite is actually true.

In my humble opinion, as a sage old mom, these are the inevitable downsides to America's stalwart 40-year march into the realm of moral relativism and secularism.  Forming a child's conscience without clear guideposts on the matters of good and evil is inevitably doomed to confusion and failure.  Expecting a child to grow up, undefiled by peer pressure and steadily sticking to the good without knowledge of and reverence for God is like trying to grow a healthy plant without soil or sun.

Even when the rudiments of goodness remain in the Judeo/Christian-formed mindset of secular humanists, once the foundation of real faith is removed, then it takes very little time -- the span of only one generation -- for society to devolve into evil.  Another of Schweizer's findings (from the General Social Survey) found that only 23 percent of those who call themselves "very liberal" say that there are objective guidelines about what is good and evil, compared with 62 percent of conservatives.  This attitude is named "moral relativism" and it has dire consequences for the society which embraces it as an acceptable norm.

Not surprisingly, according to the same survey, only 40 percent of liberals consider God very important in their lives, compared with 70 percent of conservatives.  Society didn't invent the codes upon which our own civil law was founded.  The foundation of American civil law was the Ten Commandments.  However, without the knowledge of and reverence for God, the author, adherence in private and public places shrinks and shrinks and shrinks.

Until it is no more.  And the tyranny of the state comes in to fill the vacuum of individual conscience and virtue.

As Samuel Adams so wisely noted:

A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.  While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader...If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved.  This will be their great security. 

Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  She welcomes your comments at