Skip to comments.Why Young Americans Can’t Think Morally (Moral standards have been replaced by feelings)
Posted on 09/21/2011 9:20:34 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Last week, David Brooks of the New York Times wrote a column on an academic study concerning the nearly complete lack of a moral vocabulary among most American young people. Here are excerpts from Brookss summary of the study of Americans aged 18 to 23. It was led by the eminent Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith:
● Smith and company asked about the young peoples moral lives, and the results are depressing.
● When asked to describe a moral dilemma they had faced, two-thirds of the young people either couldnt answer the question or described problems that are not moral at all.
● Moral thinking didnt enter the picture, even when considering things like drunken driving, cheating in school or cheating on a partner.
● The default position, which most of them came back to again and again, is that moral choices are just a matter of individual taste.
● As one put it, I mean, I guess what makes something right is how I feel about it. But different people feel different ways, so I couldnt speak on behalf of anyone else as to whats right and wrong.
● Morality was once revealed, inherited and shared, but now its thought of as something that emerges in the privacy of your own heart. (Emphases mine.)
Ever since I attended college I have been convinced that studies either confirm what common sense suggests or they are mistaken. I realized this when I was presented study after study showing that boys and girls were not inherently different from one another, and they acted differently only because of sexist upbringings.
This latest study cited by David Brooks confirms what conservatives have known for a generation: Moral standards have been replaced by feelings. Of course, those on the left only believe this when an eminent sociologist is cited by a writer at a major liberal newspaper.
What is disconcerting about Brookss piece is that nowhere in what is an important column does he mention the reason for this disturbing trend: namely, secularism.
The intellectual class and the Left still believe that secularism is an unalloyed blessing. They are wrong. Secularism is good for government. But it is terrible for society (though still preferable to bad religion) and for the individual.
One key reason is what secularism does to moral standards. If moral standards are not rooted in God, they do not objectively exist. Good and evil are no more real than yummy and yucky. They are simply a matter of personal preference. One of the foremost liberal philosophers, Richard Rorty, an atheist, acknowledged that for the secular liberal, There is no answer to the question, Why not be cruel?
With the death of Judeo-Christian God-based standards, people have simply substituted feelings for those standards. Millions of American young people have been raised by parents and schools with How do you feel about it? as the only guide to what they ought to do. The heart has replaced God and the Bible as a moral guide. And now, as Brooks points out, we see the results. A vast number of American young people do not even ask whether an action is right or wrong. The question would strike them as foreign. Why? Because the question suggests that there is a right and wrong outside of themselves. And just as there is no God higher than them, there is no morality higher than them, either.
Forty years ago, I began writing and lecturing about this problem. It was then that I began asking students if they would save their dog or a stranger first if both were drowning. The majority always voted against the stranger because, they explained, they loved their dog and they didnt love the stranger.
They followed their feelings.
Without God and Judeo-Christian religions, what else is there?
Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist.
“The default position, which most of them came back to again and again, is that moral choices are just a matter of individual taste.
The truth is your moral choices have eternal consequences.
Really? Prager expects the guy who is turned on by the crease in Obummers pants and works at the bastion of secular thinking to name secularism as the cause of societal decay? Good luck with that.
BTW. Did Brooks ever write an "important" column in his life? I rather doubt it.
Spot on article.
But.... It is a mistake to think that morality is not being taught to our children in our public schools.
And it is a mistake to think that Government should refrain from passing laws based on morality.
Folks, please understand that morality matters. The immorality that is being shoved down our throats in our schools and in our legislatures is destroying us. Our kids are being taught moral values. But whose??? And what are those values?
That it’s OK for Heather to have two mommies?
“You can’t define Morals on an individual basis.” - Undeniable Truth #1
When those who say such things said “God is dead,” they replaced Him with themselves. Since they are obviously demented, the only way to make any judgments is whether what they are doing feels good. Read any psych/philosophy history book and it comes down to feelings.
That is why they are now pushing to feminize the males. They usually use their brains and logic, but that is where their strength is, so get them to use their feelings and weaken them.
Also why there is a push to use soy products which mimics the female hormones.
You are right!!
I believe the parents have to teach morals to their kids, so many don’t understand that kids learn best by watching the actions of their parents.
My son asked me why I stopped completely at every stop sign at midnight when it was obvious that no car was coming...I answered because stop is not a suggestion..but the law.
Crazy but he never forgot that.
Like Alfred E Newman, though, why worry? The people who espouse and preach the doctrine of the correctness of individual interpretation have won and have the society that grows out of that doctrine. So, they got what they wanted and all's well that ends well. Right?
I won’t deny that kids lack a moral compass and it’s probably worse than the preceding generations, but only because we’ve had about 3 generations now, starting with the Boomers, that have reached adulthood with a general lack of moral compass.
That said, most of these kids won’t tell you what they really think because they worry about retaliation. Especially now in a social media world. It was the same in my day and my dad’s day at least where I lived and grew up. People who expressed their morals were targeted and mocked by the skanky minority who wanted to live like trash and expected you to put up with it.
I see lots of good kids and quite a few vocal ones about what’s right and wrong here in the Midwest. This study might be true in areas but I’m willing to bet you’ll find a fairly wide distribution around the average.
“Did David Brooks ever write an important column in his life?”
Yes. But it has been a long time. Probably before he got sucked in by the siren song of the New York slimes.
**people have simply substituted feelings for those standards. ***
On display at DU 24/7.
When the bulk of society will save their dog over a human strangers life, there is no ability to mount a combined effort to repeal an invading force. That society is doomed to be chewed up and spit out by someone more evil than their empty hearts.
I fear for my Nation, and hope that it can learn its lesson before it is fatal.
When nothing is wrong, nothing is right, etiher.
Not only does this lead to terrible choices, but it also leads to a life of complete emptiness. How can anything have any true or lasting significance to an individual if a choice or a decision has no inherent moral element, but is just a amtter of one’s transient emotions?
Hence, the end of DADT. I may have to retire before 30...
Believe it or not, it’s a pretty good tune in the original Spanish (”Dime” - not a tenth of a dollar, but “tell me” in Spn).
This is the result of secular humanism world view which rejects moral absolutes and objective moral values. That leaves subjectivism, emotionalism, and relativism.
It is the logical conclusion of 500 years of Protestant self interpretation and "Sola Mio" called Modernism. Many Protestants believe that they alone are fit to interpret Scripture and establish doctrine so naturally, what ever they think and feel becomes doctrine.
Pope Pius X dubbed Modernism "the synthesis of all heresies. Modernism is not a dogmatic difference with the Church, rather it is a belief that doctrine and dogma are somehow of secondary importance to its fundamental moral teachings, more precisely, how one feels about those moral teaching.
Every hard decision we are faced with has an easier answer if we succumb to Modernism. We can absolve or diminish every grave and minor sin if we can fabricate a moral construct in which the sinner can remain a good person As a consequence we live in a country in which millions of unborn are killed every year, the institution of the family is being destroyed, violence and property crime are rampant, proceeds from confiscatory taxes are declared rights, and our children are faced with a future a standard of living less than ours.