Punishment is now unfashionable… because it creates moral distinctions among men, which, to the democratic mind, are odious. We prefer a meaningless collective guilt to a meaningful individual responsibility.
Today’s world is filled with two things in abundance, individuals and their opinions. The news cycle, magazines and social media are all filled with stories about the actions of others, followed by our commentary on them. In recent weeks, social media was in an uproar over the grooming of a child born to a certain musical power couple. Powerful words flew back and forth chastising the couples perceived missteps as well as supporters who protested that it “wasn’t anyone’s BUSINESS”. In isolation this statement seems harmless, but as I studied the comments and opinions I made an observation. Threaded within the fabric of social media and other public commentary were statements that read: “It’s My Life, I’ll live it how I want”, “Why does anyone care?”, “Unless you’re paying my bills keep your comments to yourself.” One after another, each phrase gave me the distinct feeling that men are becoming islands. But is that really possible? Can a person live independently of others when almost every aspect of our lives is interdependent?
I must admit that by being a teacher, I am inclined to believe that human beings should care about the condition of others. It could also be the voice of my mother telling me that “one bad apple spoils a bunch” as she would caution my blind support of certain people. Either way, I was raised to believe that “wrong is wrong” and “right is right” whether it is popular or not. I also realize that there are areas of gray in life and I am not here to discuss them right now. I’m simply talking about the blatant and in my opinion unacceptable ways we are justifying the destruction of the people we claim to love the most. Any statement that doesn’t boost someone’s ego, make them smile or feel warm and fuzzy is received with defensiveness, venom and backlash. When did we become so self-righteous that we no longer could recognize solid, practical and well-meaning ADVICE.
Individuals of conviction are supposed to be firm about their beliefs and it is often those individuals who move others to see the error of their ways and change. How can someone who is against abuse encourage a person to assault others? How can someone who believes in healthy eating provide bad food for a friend? Is one acting out of jealousy when they say that an outfit/picture/song/etc is inappropriate? Are you judgmental if you think someone struggling to raise kids alone should focus less on romance and more on stability or self-improvement? Can you really proclaim to be healthy when the weight on your bones prevents you from being active? WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE between being supportive and being an enabler? At the end of the day, adults WILL make their own choices about life. The thing is; how does one make a “choice” if they are never offered the alternative?