Societal rot or reckoning?

Hide the women and children!  There are apparently creeps, crooks, perverts, and weirdos everywhere!  Modern society has suddenly noticed pervasive perversion and rampant abuse throughout society as marked by epidemic sexual misconduct from Hollywood to Washington to business to schools to churches.  Oddly, most admit they knew about it, but they are now shocked to see it reported.  Is this an epiphany of morality or just overwhelming overload of immorality?

Panic is spreading across America as endless allegations of sexual misconduct flood the public square.  It seems every male celebrity or politician has groped someone somewhere at some time.  Accusations against politicians are more annoying than surprising because we consider them mostly corrupt anyway, but Hollywood was sacred.  We idolize celebrities for playing heroes while seldom recognizing the actual heroes.  So why now are salacious charges taken seriously?  So why now is the press airing all this licentious laundry?  And do people now care?

Unfortunately, there is no widespread awakening or revival taking root in America.  You don’t even have to lift the shades or pull back the curtains; our deep immoral morass lies naked and unashamed in plain view from almost every part of society.  Many are looking for a culprit, but blame is plentiful all around.  And it didn’t just happen.  The scary societal rot we are just now noticing has been eroding common decency and social mores for decades.

There is no precise moment or specific development, but a sober review would reveal myriad chips in our moral armor.  It’s perhaps poetic that shortly after Hugh Hefner died a torrent of sexual harassment accusations spilled into the media.  Initially controversial, Hefner insisted he was just a guy who appreciated women; he made ogling naked women accepted and normal in society.  This is not some prudish rant or to deny men like seeing undressed women, but before Hefner it was socially unacceptable and something relegated to tawdry taverns in the seedy part of town.  Refined and upscale, Hefner and his nude models moved uptown into the mainstream.

As Playboy readership exploded, the sexual revolution broke out, but it wasn’t just about sex.  The motto of the 1960s was “if it feels good, do it.”  “Drugs, sex, and rock n roll!”  Just about any vice that was taboo maybe wasn’t anymore.  It wasn’t just the young hippies.  Country music glamorized drinking alcohol and cheating.  Music has devolved precipitously since then from love songs and patriotism to booty call ballads and verses of violence against police and women.

There have always been corrupt politicians, but as our values cheapened and faded, the corrupt became bolder.  When caught, they used to resign or retreat; now they spin and repeat.  Adultery was political death; now it’s just a little tougher reelection.  Lying and cheating are just accepted and even expected.  We stopped holding our leaders to account because we don’t want accountability either.  We want personal gratification without consequence or judgement.

In this sordid Machiavellian world we spawned where whatever ends justify any means, we are now appalled by the decadence.  After aborting millions of babies as birth control for free love and decades of bringing one perversion after the other from the shadows of shame into the light of public acceptance, we are astonished by the prevalence of sexual misconduct and the base ugliness of our supposedly enlightened society.  But sadly foreboding, we have not yet reached the depths of human depravity.

The current furor is not because Americans are suddenly returning to morality, but rather because they are overcome and stunned by the growing destructive immorality.  Errant celebrities and politicians should be brought to justice, but until we have our reckoning individually and collectively and again embrace morality, our expedient excuses and vicious vices will continue to rot society with rapacious moral decay.

“When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily.  But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.”  Proverbs 28:2


Pete Riehm2017-12-07 13:45

I certainly agree misconduct of any kind is not restricted by ideology. I think all sides have always condemned it, but to me the question is what changed? Why now are we exposing it? Why are we now holding them to account?

Thomas McKenzie Pauley2017-12-07 13:04

I find it interesting that this kind of misconduct transcends ideology. I am a liberal, but this kind of harassment and abuse is prevalent among what was once proclaimed as the infallible liberal circles that condemned it.