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ARE WE BECOMING MORE TOLERANT, OR LESS?

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 17, 2013

BRYCE ON MORALITY

– Ask yourself the question, who was more tolerant, your parents or yourself?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have been working on a project aimed at teaching morality in a uniform manner. This has caused me to examine the properties of morality and consider the causes for its decline in this country. One key variable is our changing sense of tolerance; what was not considered permissible in one generation, may be considered acceptable in the next. For example, back in the 17th century a fiddle was viewed as “an instrument of the devil” as it led to dancing, which was considered sinful at the time. This is certainly not true anymore, but we now have become more “Politically Correct” (P.C.) in order to not offend a class of people, be it based on race or gender. Frankly, I find most of the P.C. language and customs to be hypocritical, but that is me. Others follow P.C. religiously.

Our sense of right and wrong used to be as sharp as black and white. No longer. Now it appears we have many shades of gray. What was condemned in prior generations is now accepted in today’s world. The idea of accepting such things as legalized marijuana or gay marriage would be beyond the comprehension of “The Greatest Generation,” those who survived the Great Depression and World War II. The Baby Boomers though survived the drug culture and sexual revolution of the 1960’s and, as such, are more tolerant of such concepts. For example, a man living with a woman out of wedlock would be considered disgraceful to “The Greatest Generation.” However, most Baby Boomers today accept it, as do their successors.

I am fortunate to have witnessed five generations in my family. Each had their own unique perspective of morality and sense of tolerance. Some of the differences were subtle, such as drinking, smoking, and language; others were more pronounced, such as their perspectives on citizenship, defense, patriotism, love, assisting others, etc. The impact of economics, and war and peace played a dramatic role on their values, as did their participation in organized religion. I contend each generation becomes more permissive than the last due to changing perceptions of moral values. What is considered acceptable today, may not have been considered so yesterday, or possibly tomorrow.

Consider how we administered corporal punishment in the home. In yesteryear, the father doled out discipline on the children using a leather belt or shaving strap. Mothers used a fly swatter or hickory switch to get their point across. Today, such devices are considered archaic. Instead, we have “time out” or suspend the child’s use of his/her smart phone, computer, or television. Somehow I think the leather belt was more persuasive than “time out” which simply inconvenienced the child.

Each generation tries to make life better for the next. Whereas one generation may have suffered through hardships and lived modestly, a trail is blazed by the elders to simplify the lives of their youth, provide them a better world to live in and encourage them to prosper. Sometimes the sacrifices of the past are appreciated, other times it is taken for granted and forgotten.

Ask yourself the question, who was more tolerant, your parents or yourself? Without a doubt, it is progressively different. My great-grandparents were less permissive than my grandparents, who were less tolerant than my parents, who were less tolerant than my generation. Many years ago, the family suffered through a divorce which was considered damaging to the family’s reputation. Not surprising, there were much fewer divorces back then because of the shame associated with it. Today, there is much more of a laissez faire attitude toward divorce, which is perhaps why it is more commonplace. There is no longer any commitment to make a marriage work. If it doesn’t, a couple can get a divorce and a “do over” in life. So much for personal commitment.

My point is, over time we become more tolerant of violating moral values. The more frequently we turn away from such values, the more our culture changes. Again, ask yourself the question, who was more tolerant, your parents or yourself? Now ask who is more tolerant, you or your offspring? I hope you see where I am going with this.

FOOTNOTE: I am currently working on a training program to teach uniform Morality, suitable for use in companies, schools, and other institutions. If you would like to know more, see my flyer by clicking HERE.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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8 Responses to “ARE WE BECOMING MORE TOLERANT, OR LESS?”

  1. What a complicated subject you chose Tim. I suspect the easy thing to do would be say we are more tolerant and then cut and run.
    The 50’s was the start of the tolerant times for me, when perhaps people saw that black and white together wasn’t a crime. Morality seemed OK as there was still the perpetual reminder of the belt and of hellfire and damnation in church.
    As evolutionism and the big bang theory took hold in the 60’s tolerance increased as Church attendance fell proportionally. Some people tried not chastising their children to let them seek their own boundaries- it didn’t work. More marriages ended in divorce with the young as they didn’t see the need for a big commitment.
    The eighties brought more violence as those young who had no real guidelines got older.Here in Europe capital punishments were abolished as was corporal punishment and parents were told to stop smacking children. Respect fell by the wayside and the young beat and robbed the elderly with impunity. They even knew enough of the law to know they wouldn’t be jailed because of age. Tolerance had started to go a little mad.
    Today there are less people who believe in God and attendance at churches has dropped even more thanks to the attitudes, actions and crimes of those who preach there.Tolerance is starting to revert with people being attacked for being Goths , Emos or other sub groups.
    We need to revert to teaching children about respect in schools, Re-introduce National Service perhaps as a form of teaching discipline and probably re-introduce corporal punishment in schools to teach children there is a reaction to their actions. Tolerance will follow naturally I think. And maybe they will grow up well adjusted adults.

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  2. Tim Bryce said

    An L.M. of Chapel Hill, North Carolina wrote…

    “Have you noticed that the circumstances in which people act have changed over the course of the last 200 years? Does it seem reasonable to you that the norms (morality) might need to change over that same time period? What effects on the family do you think the high rates of internal to the nation migration have had? How important was it to a couple to like each other when there were lots of life long friends around in the village as compared with a couple who have moved to a distant city and the only person around that they know will is their spouse? The requirements for a good life, for an ethical life, for a moral life do change as society changes.”

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    An M.K. of New York wrote…

    “Tim, excellent and timely.

    Anyone who suffers to ponder for the briefest time what Ills this Society has everything to do with Morality, and VALUES. As that which we Value goes, so goes our Culture. As our Culture goes, so goes or perishes a once-Great Nation. The ‘Greatest Generation,’ perhaps in knee-jerk to the horrors that they’d experienced, became softer and far too lenient. They’ve failed their offspring, and their offspring have failed theirs, and theirs, theirs.

    We now have little left to Value…nor do we have a Generation willing to Teach it.”

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  4. Tim Bryce said

    A P.M. of Greenport, New York wrote…

    “My parents taught me well; I am as tolerant as they were.”

    Like

  5. Tim Bryce said

    A J.S. of Skidway Lake, Michigan wrote…

    “No one can argue with the fact that in the 50’s there was far less crime, more responsibility, kindness and trust. Families attended church regularly, kept the commandments and worked hard. People cared for and about one another on a much larger scale than today. Sin has always been around, but it was dealt with severely in the past.

    Most of us who are parents choose to raise our children with some of our parents’ methods and not others. The important thing when trying to give them what we didn’t have is to remember to also give them what we did have; a strong sense of values and morality.”

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  6. Tim Bryce said

    An E.H. of Boston, Massachusetts wrote…

    “I find the polarization conjured up by today’s media to be tedious, irritating, and probably a sham. 40 years ago, I don’t recall the level of hysterical bashing that passes for political discourse today. You have to hope that most folks realize that the “faux outrage” is theater, contrived by pundits and others, who are furthering their own agendas and coincidentally their revenue streams. Unfortunately, as in Entertainment, the more outre and bizarre the performance, the greater the likelihood of breaking through all the media clutter and noise and being heard. Or, if you are a talking head on a TV panel discussion, the more inflammatory you are, the better the chance of drawing traffic and being invited back. In order to get attention, the activist/pundit has to be more outrageous than the last, in a kind of self perpetuating vicious circle.”

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