Remember when you were a child and were always asking your parents for things? Your mom and dad wanted to make you happy, but they understood the danger of taking satisfaction to the extreme. In addition, they understood the need to teach you the merits of self-sacrifice. They realized that you would grow up and be released into a world in which discipline was a key factor in your maturity. When they said no to your requests, even to your demands, it was because they were keeping you from believing that you could have anything you want if you simply held your breath and stomped your feet in defiance of their judgment. If you had permissive parents, they probably gave in every time you pouted, screamed, or engaged in other childish tantrums. But, if you were real lucky, you had parents who taught you that you can’t always have your own way, and that nobody owes you a living; they were preparing you for adulthood.
It seems that this analogy exists in the government today. Liberal orthodoxy appears to suggest that you should have everything you want, that freedom is unlimited, and every grievance should be soothed by the curative balm of government largesse. Conversely, conservative philosophy advances the notion that you must take responsibility for your own future and not use the blame game as a crutch. When you take advantage of a legal product like cigarettes, despite warnings of its ill effects, you should not expect a multi-million dollar “reward” for your own lack of discipline when you get sick. Blowing up like a tick on fast food burgers, fries, and shakes doesn’t mean you have the right to get rich as part of a class action lawsuit brought by an army of obese opportunists. And, getting pregnant because you didn’t behave responsibly by taking precautions, shouldn’t give you a license to kill the child growing inside. Behavior must have consequences; otherwise, we’ll be ruled by animal instincts. Freedom must have limitations, otherwise we’ll have chaos. Civilization is a social contract in which the participants must agree on the terms of an orderly existence. Those terms involve moral obligations that are consistent with the dominant culture.
History teaches us that great civilizations are conquered from within, perhaps because, in their striving for greatness, they abandoned the principles that built their success. Those principles were, and are, grounded in religion. Before there were laws in books, there was religion in the hearts and minds of people struggling to carve a decent life out of a cruel and brutish landscape. Before there was a Constitution to guide us in the building of a nation, there was religion to guide us in the spiritual recognition of a soul. Yet, in spite of all the lessons of history, we find ourselves in the classic struggle between good and evil. Murder, rape, child abuse and pornography have become so commonplace; the public pays scant attention unless the victim or the offender is a celebrity. Bodies found in garbage dumpsters may not be mentioned at all if a sports playoff game is in the headlines. We have been systematically conditioned to tolerate behavior that once would have elicited loud gasps from even the most seasoned exhibitionists.
It appears that we have lost our ability to be shocked. Nevertheless, in the face of all this evidence that we are in desperate need of a spiritual Renaissance, those who strive for a rebirth of values are pejoratively referred to as members of the “religious right.” In other words, if you want a return to the days when 12 year-olds were not having sex with their teachers, child molesters weren’t soliciting children on the Internet, and murders didn’t occur in multiples every day, you must be some sort of extremist. To paraphrase the late Senator Barry Goldwater, “Extremism in the defense of morality is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of decency is no virtue.”
Bob Weir is a veteran of 20 years with the New York Police Dept. (NYPD), ten of which were performed in plainclothes undercover assignments. During his early years with NYPD, Bob earned a Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude from New York Institute of Technology. He retired as a sergeant after supervising patrol in Midtown Manhattan, the busiest precinct in the country. After owning and operating a wine and liquor retail business in Long Island for 5 years, he sold it and moved to Flower Mound, Texas. Bob began a writing career about 12 years ago and had his first book published in 1999. Bob went on to write and publish a total of seven novels, “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death,” and “Out of Sight,” are available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Books-a-million, and other major online book sellers. He also became a syndicated columnist under the title “Weir Only Human”. His perspective may be read within the pages of the Westchester Herald and the Yonkers Tribune