Conservative to the Core

The world has changed

By Tom Seymour | Nov 17, 2017

The world was always a dangerous place and remains so. But something new and insidious has inserted itself into society, something so terrible that most of us don’t even want to think about it.

A growing number of individuals have lost any fear of divine retribution and, thus unencumbered by religious beliefs or even basic moral standards, allow their inner demons to manifest themselves. And in too many cases, this evil, this cancer, turns people into mass murderers.

It’s true that our society has become more vulgar. Respect for others has diminished to a point that it’s practically everyone for themselves.

News of tragic events is so commonplace that we are inured to it. What we would have found repulsive 50 years ago now seems mild and passé. We barely react to the most evil, horrendous events possible. Instead, we center on meaningless trivia. That’s because we don’t know how to fight the evil.

Evil loosed

Authoritarian governments have always existed and names such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Guevara and Castro stain the record of human existence.

These are not the norm, however. Most civilized countries are controlled by responsible people, not madmen. America, the freest country on earth, is run by duly elected officials, representatives of the people who elected them.

For most of its existence, America has not had to deal with mass murders, the kind where people take it upon themselves to kill and maim as many people as possible in the shortest time.

So what happened to change all that and is there anything we can do about it?

Let me begin by stating the obvious. An evil has become loosed on our people. This evil preys upon receptive minds. Sure, we can say the murderers are simply crazy. But that’s like saying the sun is responsible for supplying us with warm sunlight. The long and short of it is that anyone who commits murder, and tenfold for mass murder, is crazy. It just goes without saying. Sane people don’t go around killing others.

While murder has existed from the beginning, it most always was for a reason. People kill others for money, retribution and a host of other causes. Knowing this helps detectives solve crimes. They figure out who had a motive and then put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together, letting the evidence lead them in their quest. But murder for the sake of murder is totally incomprehensible.

This current incarnation of evil has turned our civil society into an uncivil society. Add to this, the long-established concept of justice gets knocked down a peg every time a convicted evildoer gets a slap on the wrist for a sentence. This sends a message to other potential wrongdoers that it’s OK to misbehave because there is no real punishment. It seems evident that without religious, legal or moral restraints, some people will fall prey to evil.

Hollywood, too, makes its contribution to the spread of evil. Action movies are nothing new and movies alone don’t appear to be a major player in the downfall of our society. No, it’s the actors and actresses themselves who lead the charge down the long and winding steps to dissipation.

Hollywood stars have followers, lots of followers. And when these stars’ personal lives are exposed as vile, shameful and wicked, their followers feel that it’s OK for them to act in a similar manner.

When our politicians get arrested for corrupt dealings and when movie moguls turn out to be serial rapists, the public becomes disenchanted. So instead of having wholesome images of heroes to emulate, we now have some of the most low-life individuals ever as role models.

Professional athletes, too, aren't exempt from being anti-heros. Consider the number of filthy-rich sports "heros" who commit murder and assault their spouses and girlfriends. This is not to mention those who refuse to stand for the national anthem. With role models such as these, what can we expect from young people who look to these people as role models? It's a tough time to be young, given the loose morals and atrocious conduct of the adults whom youngsters admire.

The future

So until things change on a national level, we shouldn’t expect individuals to suddenly become paragons of virtue. But it’s a goal worth pursuing. And virtuous people are less likely to become killers than those who feel that any methods justify the end result.

Another cause of our moral and social decline is lack of forgiveness. Failure to let go of real or perceived hurts can lead to a lifetime of misery. If we cannot forgive others, it will eat at our souls. It is always better to forgive. The rewards for doing so are inestimable.

Harboring grudges only hurts the one who harbors the grudge. And remember, many of the mass murderers held a grudge against someone or something.

Today in America we find our social fabric disintegrating in a manner similar to ancient Rome. Dissolution stands at the door.

Still, hope remains. There is always hope. We can beat this evil. But to do so will require a near-total makeover of our society. It’s up to us all.

Tom Seymour is a freelance magazine and newspaper writer, book author, naturalist and forager. He lives in Waldo.

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