, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

August 7, 2013

Letter: The degeneration of our American culture

To the editor:

Our country is in a sluggish recovery.

Official unemployment is around 7.5 percent, but 22 million are unemployed or under employed. Even if this situation improves, there is no guarantee that America will ever return to the prosperous years after World War II.

A global survey conducted in 39 countries shows that the majority of people see China overtaking America as the leading superpower.

Why? What happened with American ingenuity and drive? Some people blame three unsuccessful wars – Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan — but I think that one of the roots of our problems lies in the moral and ethical decay of our society.

In the 1940s the top problems in public schools were talking out of turn, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, cutting in line, littering and dress code infractions.

Now we face drug and alcohol abuse, pregnancy, rape, robbery, assault and suicide. Who is talking now about the dress code?

In the 1980s, when I was giving lectures in high schools, I was shocked to see girls in provocative outfits. Maybe this can be considered freedom of expression, but what about Hollywood, which cannot seem to make a single film without pornographic acts and endless utterings of the F word? Decency no longer exists.

These are signs of the degeneration of culture. Islamic jihadists are happy to use them to recruit and inflame their religious followers.

There are other upsetting trends in our society. Students cheat more and more on exams, numbers of civic organizations are dwindling, charitable contributions are diminishing and the percentage of people who say that people can be trusted dropped from 70 percent in 1950 to 40 percent in 1980.

Beyond moral and ethical decay, our country exhibits signs of “old age,” according to the historian Jean Gimpel. These signs are: decline of communities, excess of formal higher education, decline of education quality, increasing role of regulation and litigation and decline of basic industries.

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