Although he is accurate in noting that America is indeed a “society in decline” in terms of morals, the idea that full blame is to be placed on a lack of spiritual beliefs is deficient. A major cause of this societal decline is that there has been a failure to enforce disciplinary measures. Children who are disciplined grow up with a better sense of what is right and wrong, and eventually they will grow up to respect authority and rules. However, children who are not disciplined will grow up with no real respect for authority or what is right and wrong.
Following rules is important at school and kids who have received discipline at home as toddlers are willing to follow school rules and understand the repercussions if they don’t. Bennett notes that back in 1940, a teacher’s biggest problem with students would have been something as minor and insignificant as “talking out of turn” or chewing gum in class. In today’s society, there are much bigger issues at hand in America’s school systems: teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, rape, and assault. Why is it that children see these things as permissible behavior?
It is because those individuals who have no respect for authority frequently break the rules. They are accustomed to causing trouble and end up with all kinds of problems as a result. This could be problems with the police, problems maintaining employment, and more. Many children who do not receive discipline as a child grow up with little if any respect for authority. This results in the child having problems for the rest of his/her life, unless he/she learns on his/her own to discipline themself and respect authority and laws.
The lack of guidance and discipline with regard to morals and ethics has sent the American society into a downward spiral. Another flaw in Bennett’s argument is that he assumes religion is required to be ethical. He strongly believes that this change was brought about due to the aversion of spirituality and religion in today’s society. The idea is that religion and/or spirituality hold people to certain moral standards as well as making it easier to differentiate between right and wrong. Bennett claims that “religion provides us with moral bearings,” however religion is not required to be ethical.
Moral sense is not a belief about right and wrong. It is the natural capacity to develop such beliefs as well as the emotions that go with them. One might argue that culture gives a society a sense of moral direction. Since cultures vary from place to place, so do morals. Christians believe that God was a moral being, and as creator, the same morals reside within humans. If that is the case, then humans would possess a sense of right and wrong before they are even born. However, humans also have free will; therefore they are capable of developing their own moral guidelines based on religion, culture, or any other contributing factors.
Bennett’s claim that “only when we turn to the right things – enduring, noble, spiritual things – will life get better” will never happen because everyone perceives that statement in their own unique, individual way. Finally, society is seeing a terrible decline in value. Commitment to marriage and family, the sanctity of human life, integrity, and honesty, have all been compromised and devalued in today’s society. There used to be a time when the majority of people would have had nothing to do with things such as abortion and gay marriage.
However, these are issues that are even less important in the grand scheme of things and less fundamental than a basic value such as honesty. So many young people in high school and college are dishonest in their schooling. This affects all of society because they gain degrees and then jobs based on a falsified education. Not only is this a matter of dishonesty, but a matter of pride. Children no longer want to put in the hard work and effort required to achieve excellence. There is a growing sense of entitlement in this day and age.
They learn their values from reality television and role models who have absolutely zero class and no morals. This becomes a detriment to all of society and shows itself in other declining values. The solution to this societal decline is quite simple as far as Bennett is concerned: “Return religion to its proper place. ” A better solution to this problem may be to implement moral teachings in schools. If the American society truly wants to reverse the effects of this downward spiral, everyone has to make a conscious effort to change their ways.
People need to make better choices, educate the youth of the nation at home and in school about morality, and discipline those who choose wrong over right. Bennett’s concern is that society will say one thing and do another. This is hypocrisy at its finest. The real issue is not that people in America lack morals, but that they don’t teach them. A religious renewal may or may not be the answer. However the American society ought to try something different because it is apparent that what they are doing now is simply not the answer.
Casiopea’s Travel Journal – Ch. 17-22 -3
Casiopea and Hun-Kamé travel via train to El Paso, Texas in order to retrieve a jade necklace from Uay Chivo, an evil sorcerer who can take the form of a goat.
Click on the map below to learn more about the places Casiopea and Hun-Kamé visit on their road trip!
Reading Questions to Consider:Setting: How has the Jazz Age and the Mexican Revolution influenced El Paso?
Goals: How will the world change if Vucub-Kamé achieves his goal?
Patan: What is patan? How does this concept connect to Casiopea’s story?
Dreams: What do Casiopea and Hun-Kamé dream about?
Travel Journal (Due April 17th)Read Chapters 17-22 (62 pages).
Complete Travel Journal Entry (each entry should be at least 250 words)
From Casiopea’s perspective, write a postcard (scroll down to download postcards) from El Paso to Casiopea’s mother by answering the following questions:
Who did Casiopea meet? (characters)
What did she see? (setting)
What did she do? (plot)
***As you read, also make a list of themes that interest you. This will help prepare you to write the Unit 3 essay.
Casiopea’s Travel Journal – Postcards (Microsoft Word Document) Download Casiopea’s Travel Journal – Postcards (Microsoft Word Document)
IF THE PDF BELOW DOES NOT WORK FOR YOU, USE THE LINK ABOVE TO THE MICROSOFT WORD DOCUMENT. If neither link works, feel welcome to write your travel journal postcards in a Word or Google doc.
Casiopea’s Travel Journal – Postcards (PDF)
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