Skip to comments.Are Modern People Morally Advanced?
Posted on 03/23/2014 8:06:26 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
In regard to widespread disdain for the Middle Ages, C. S. Lewis felt that many modern people suffer from a kind of chronological snobbery and that the modern conception of Progress ... is simply a myth, supported by no evidence whatever. Certainly many minds smugly assume our worlds moral superiority to that of people in the past. That assumption merits some close critical scrutiny.
This claim probably does not rest on an improvement in the numbers of deaths in war and genocide. Many millions died in past atrocities such as the Mongol invasions of Asia and Europe and the Muslim conquests of India; similar shocking numbers fell victim to communism and fascism in the twentieth century. If most modern abortions are equivalent to infanticides and abortion figures are also factored in, Wiker concludes in Moral Darwinism that we have still more massive murder on a scale unheard of.
Probably believers in modern moral superiority base their outlook mainly on the abolition of slavery and overt discrimination against people because of things like race in economically developed societies. This overlooks some important historical facts about these accomplishments: slavery and discrimination have been universal phenomena throughout most of human history. For example, in Japan until the middle of the twentieth century, poor families often sold their own daughters into lifelong prostitution to pay off debts. In many instances such practices have been eliminated largely thanks to the influence of Christianity a legacy of the past. Moreover, slavery continues to thrive in some Muslim states like Sudan to this day.
We can mention other prominent ethical failings of modernity:
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...
Matt. 24 “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Of the generations I have known in my lifetime (speaking about aggregates) the generation who came of age during the first world war and then lived through the grest depression were by far the most moral. Much better than their parents, and a bit better than their kids whofought in the second world war. Those who think the second World War generation wat the apex are merely too young to have known many of the generation before (quite a few of which fought in BOTH World Wars.) The boomers, yet another generation later deserve all the denigration they recieve, yet their children and their children’s children have continued to spiral ever downward.
We live in a world full of drama queens with too much time on our hands.
And that is only due to the passage of time. Today's aeronautical engineers are in essence, only building upon that which the Wright brothers, Howard Hughes, Clarence Kelly, etc. did that preceded them. Same with computer science, automotive design, civil engineering, electrical engineering, or any field of endeavor.
We are really no more intelligent than a Newton, a Da Vinci, Alberti, or Copernicus - we merely have a broader base of knowledge and scholarship upon which to draw, and even then, we don't always do so. People confuse this notion with believing we are somehow, "smarter" than those in the past, and it's a very dangerous conclusion.
Evil will be with us until the very end; however, between now and then, there is one thing that eludes a lot of people. While many will state that math and logic are amoral, I would contend that they have a moral basis in as much as they seek the truth about reality. "2+2=4" is an eternal truth. Denying it, or intentionally misleading others to believe that 2+2 equals something other than 4 is to serve the father of lies. Affirming that 2+2=4 is to affirm a truth put in place by the Creator. While math and logic can be perverted to serve an evil agenda (i.e., see Mark Twain, "statistics"), they in and of themselves serve to affirm and describe the natural order. Similarly, when faced with decision making, I think that moral choices are also logical choices. Most frequently they are the harder choices, but ultimately they are those that are logical. I think (hope and pray) that as computers become more analytical, more logical, and able to determine courses of action based on pure logic, without emotional bias, the potential is there for them to ultimately lead people to moral conclusions. That is a long way off.
T. S. Eliot used another term for what may be a companion description worthy of examination here.
Now might be a good time for conservatives to read Dr. Russell Kirk's "The Conservative Mind, which can be read online, by the way. In it, Kirk cites Eliot's description of "a new kind of provincialism." See what you think.
In Kirk's last chapter he reviews the works of poets and writers, quoting lines which now seem to bear a striking resemblance to the players on the stage in American politics today.
For instance, in Robert Frost's "A Case for Jefferson," Frost writes of the character Harrison:
"Harrison loves my country too
But wants it all made over new.
. . . .
He dotes on Saturday pork and beans.
But his mind is hardly out of his teens.
With him the love of country means
Blowing it all to smithereens
And having it made over new."
So-called "progressive" leaders in the Administration, the media, and much of Congress fancy themselves "intellectuals."
By their words and actions, however, they display a provinciality reminiscent of that Dr. Kirk recalls from an essay by T.S. Eliot on Virgil:
"In our time, when men seem more than ever to confuse wisdom with knowledge and knowledge with information and to try to solve the problems of life in terms of engineering, there is coming into existence a new kind of provincialism which perhaps deserves a new name. It is a provincialism not of space but of time--one for which history is merely a chronicle of human devices which have served their turn and have been scrapped, one for which the world is the property solely of the living, a property in which the dead hold no share."(Bold added for emphasis)In today's case, the "provinciality" seems to be limited to the "progressives'" dabbling in and discussing the ideas of Mao, Marx, and other theoreticians and believing they can impose those ideas on a free people.
America's written Constitution deserves protectors whose minds are out of "their teens" in terms of their understanding of civilization's long struggle for liberty.
It certainly deserves protectors who do not consider it a "flawed" document because it does not permit the government it structures to run rough shod over the rights of its "KEEPERS, the People" (Justice Story).
Blasting it "all to smithereens" seems to be the goal of the current Administration and so-called "progressives" who control the Executive and one-half of the Legislative branch of government.
The Founders' Constitution's strict limits on coercive power by elected representatives are being ignored and disavowed; the free enterprise system which allowed individual citizens to achieve and excel in their chosen pursuits is being co-opted by elected and unelected bureaucrats; and the rights of conscience, speech, and religion are being trampled as we post here.
"The People" should be debating great ideas such as how to preserve liberty, or, in economic matters, the wisdom of the great moral philosopher, Adam Smith's "Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations." Instead, they are being hoodwinked by a president who believes they are ignorant or foolish enough to believe that deficit spending, debt, and government control will lead to prosperity.
When, in 1776, our ancestors felt the heavy hand of the British government "taking" their earnings, regulating their lives, interfering with their beliefs, and asserting coercive control over their actions, they did not waste their time on such trivia.
They wrote great treatises such as "Thoughts on Government" and "Common Sense." They educated their young on the merits of liberty, as opposed to slavery to government, and they did the groundwork which allowed for a written Constitution for self-government to be ratified in the states only eleven years later.
America is about to be bankrupt, both financially and philosophically, and those who have benefited from the Founders' ideas, who call themselves "conservators" (conservatives) of those ideas, should come together to place those ideas before millions of young people who must participate in voting in November on whether they desire liberty or slavery. Women, youth, men, so-called "seniors"--all need to have the choice presented clearly that this election pits the ideas of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and America's other Founders against the ideas of Marx, Lenin, and Keynes.
There are always "useful idiots." That's what every oppressive regime has relied upon. A "useful idiot" with a big megaphone is more dangerous to liberty than millions of ordinary ones, because of the ability to lull more people into a sense of complacency.
America, awaken! This decades-long battle for your liberty has been engaged. But, for decades, you have allowed the ideas of your liberty to be censored from your nation's textbooks and public discourse.
Our best weapon is contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution which leaves all the power in "the People's" hands. Read them, amplify upon their principles and ideas by accessing the Founders' writings and speeches.
For a quick review of those principles and the nation's first 50 years under its Constitution, consult John Quincy Adams' "Jubilee" Address here, or a recent reprint of a 1987 Bicentennial collection of the Founders' principles, here.
James Madison stated: "Although all men are born free, slavery has been the general lot of the human race. Ignorantthey have been cheated; asleepthey have been surprised; dividedthe yoke has been forced upon them. But what is the lesson? ... the people ought to be enlightened, to be awakened, to be united, that after establishing a government, they should watch over it ... It is universally admitted that a well-instructed people alone can be permanently free."
Funny you mention that, because I well recall some passing comments from my grandfather that were a little negatively-tinged towards the WW2 (”Greatest Generation”) crowd. It was rather couched criticism, but I remember him complaining a bit about them, that following the war, they were sometimes a bit too entitled, too footloose, when it came to obligations, whether in family or business. It was mild criticism, and it was totally dwarfed by his contempt and revulsion towards the hippie generation.
Still, I found it interesting, the juxtaposition, especially in light of how you rarely if ever hear anything remotely negative towards the WW2-generation in the culture nowadays. Knowing a good number of people who belonged to the earlier, pre-WW2 generation, like my grandparents and their peers, who were full adults in the 1910s/20s/30s I fully agree that they were much more grounded, more moral than any others I ever knew.
More like spoiled nasty brats.
It should be noted that this is exactly what Jefferson believed.
It is, in the words of Sir Winston Churchill: “...But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.”
The 21st century is headed down the road to this new Dark Age and there are too many fools who openly embrace it.
Idiocracy was a documentary, we are regressing, big time.
It’s much more likely that we have fallen because we have used technology to prevent consequences of our actions.
Nope is right...same crap, different generation. But now with the internet and such, morality and immorality, spreads more rapidly.
I love this topic.
Will read at the site later and maybe I can find time to ping, looks good.
That is not a "moral" person. That is an untested person, who is well-fed. There are hungry people who have passed the test.
Having said that, you are correct.
The Neutron bomb was needed when we were going to be fighting the Soviet hordes inside of Western Europe.
NATO was in a terrible position that if invaded, would anything be left intact in Europe, even if they could stop the Soviet Empire’s mass of forces.
And they confuse scientific progress and moral progress.
So very true.
And yet what we call The West somehow rose out of barbarism. There is an external Factor.
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