Some Behaviors You Simply Don’t Act Upon


I was raised at a time when having a thought did not mean that you were forced to put in into action.  I grew up thinking that quite simply there are behaviors that you may think, but that you just never act upon.  It’s called restraint.  It’s called morality.  And today, it seems as if it’s no longer in favor.  And I guess that’s what bothers me most about what’s been going on in the country for the last while…

Anyone who has been following along with my blog knows that for the last yaer I’ve had a hard time staying out of the political arena.  The primary reason has centered more on my amazement that so much of America has normalized the behavior we see in Washington that I feel compelled to be one of those who does not remain silent in the face of egregious behavior, constant lying, and the tearing down of standards and protections that literally generations of americans have worked hard to put in place.

But it’s more than that. Right now the U.S. is in a period of time where it is celebrating all that is bad about human nature.  When we look at business we see greed and avarice.  The biggest companies in the country are have been and continue to be exposed as being without ethics in their pursuit of profit.  Leaders in business, in government, in religion, in education are all being caught and exposed for their selfishness, their greed, their lack of morals, their willingness to use and abuse others.  It’s getting to the point that it’s hard to find people who are who they say they are without pretence and sham.  No matter how a person feels about people like Jimmy Carter with whom many Americans may have their differences of opinion, but he has shown himself to be a man of honor and grace, a man who is who he says he is, and who does what he teaches others.  There aren’t many public figures about whom that can be said; not in politics, not in religion, not in personal relations.

Hypocrisy is bad enough — that people pretend to be one person, but then act in a different — even opposite manner — when no one sees.  But of even more concern are those individuals who know no boundaries;  those who see lying as virtuous as telling the truth; those who see harming others for the sake of their own profit to be laudable; those who disregard the impact of their business on the earth’s ability to sustain life in favor of their own aggrandizement.

It used to be that there were impulses that one would never give vent to.  In the name of humanity, or morals, or religion, or … something… people would limit their behavior and stifle the most abominable.

For all the noble thoughts to be found in the libraries of earth, right now, on this planet, we aren’t seeing many of them being lived out in everyday life.

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4 thoughts on “Some Behaviors You Simply Don’t Act Upon

  1. The fall of Rome comes to mind these days! Are we heading down the same path? I agree with you about Jimmy Carter. Fortunate to have heard him speak at our college town several decades ago, and even then, I came away thinking “why aren’t our politicians and business people more like he was?”.

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    1. Liz, funny that this posted on the day dRump ordered an attack on Syria. sigh.

      Old men sure love sending young men into battle. But then I suspect he’d do just about anything right now to deflect attention from his other problems. I’d like to think that the reasoning for the attacks were well thought out and reasoned. Given the people in power I’m not sure I can feel confident that they were … or that they will have the desired effect — we have been notoriously wrong about our policies in the Middle East and we have forever hardened Middle Eastern attitudes toward the West as a result.

      I keep thinking about that wonderful statement from Abraham Lincoln that a house divided against itself cannot stand. This country has been divided — seriously divided for the better part of 2 decades — with congress fighting amongst itself and getting little governing done. This past election has only highlighted just how divided we are.

      No nation has risen to power without subsequently falling from power and I don’t think there is any question that we are on the downward slope … to be replaced on the world scene by whom? I have no idea. (Well I have ideas but I’m not a prophet)

      The thing is you can’t have unanimity without some ideals everyone wants to buy into and right now we are woefully short of ideals. When the U.S. morphed into a post-Christian society it lost the biggest unifying factor that we had prior. Now no other “idea” or “ideal” has really replaced it. We have no moral compass, we have no ethical compass, we say we are standing up for human rights but our own record on human rights (vis a vis incarceration) is woeful and we are so divided that we can’t even collect honest to goodness stats on infant mortality — which is the reason the U.S. has not published infant mortality statistics since 2007 — and why our numbers are going UP while most all of the rest of the world has seen reductions in infant mortality.

      >

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  2. Your post begs the question, why? Why has society chosen to dismiss common decency? Why is hypocrisy acceptable along partisan lines, and why are citizens afraid to stand up and scream ENOUGH. Sigh.

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    1. It’s a good question my friend. Some citizens are NOT afraid to stand up. As a matter of fact I read just this morning about an gay rights lawyer who set himself on fire in protest against ecological destruction — so clearly some people are willing to take drastic measures. That activism is not more widespread is, of couse, a real problem. In the US it was a Republican congress that took action against a Republican President (Nixon) — so we have seen it’s possible for people to ignore their partisan policies and stand up for what’s right. But, times have changed, have they not. Since Citizens United allowed corporate money to pollute the election cycle the voice of the average (poor-by-comparison-to-corporations) voter has little voice. Sure, people have mobilized in a variety of group actions but they have not yet been large enough, or sustained enough to bring about change.

      Will they ultimately bring about change short of total revolution? And will the populace become so enraged that they will support revolution? — Your guess is as good as mine.

      But the bigger issue in my mind is that humankind is a flawed and imperfect species that is incapable of doing good on a sustained level. We have fought each other for ascendancy for millennia. We have, and continue to lie, cheat, and steal for self-aggrandizement and profit. We openly disobey laws we disagree with ( speed limits, tax laws, you name it). What is there in human behavior that makes anyone suppose that — AS A SPECIES — humans will ever do the “RIGHT” thing. After all, “right” and “wrong” aren’t legal terms — those are legal and illegal. Right and Wrong are ethical/religious terms and only achieve meaning in that context — but this world has put aside absolute values — “right” or “wrong” because people want to do what they want to do without being judged.

      I find it ridiculous that people blame God for evil in this world. I know there are other religious views out there but there is at least one view that says man was created perfect and chose to sin against God. The Bible has promises about a Kingdom of God but they are universally “not of this world,” and so believers live in a world of sin and death in anticipation of THAT kingdom, not this — living as examples insofar as they can of their Savior. To many, that’s pie in the sky nonsense — but anyone who expects man to perfect himself holds just as pie in the sky views as these so I’ll stick with mine. At least I see a light at the end of a very long tunnel. 🙂

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