Social Progress or Moral Confusion

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With the millions that are being spent on social reform, free education, civil rights, welfare, etc., are we drawing closer to a Utopia? No! Mankind is constantly moving in the wrong direction. There is utterly no hope for this world, without the return of the Lord Jesus.

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“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

In the last two decades all the stops have been pulled out. Society’s ills must be cured. No cost may be consideredtoo great, and no change too radical. Equal or superior opportunity must be realized not only by the underprivileged, butby the disinterested. The poor criminal must be understood, and all this “crime caused by poverty” must be stopped. Now, of course, the only thing this super-intellectual society needed to complete this utopia was to bring everyone “up” totheir social level. They had to annihilate discrimination and prejudice, elevate ignorance and eradicate poverty. This would undoubtedly solve most of the social problems because the political giants in Washington (who have achieved the very highest rate of alcoholism) said so. Not only did they say so, but the psychologists (who enjoy the highest rate of suicide in the nation) agreed. Therefore, they all went to work with all fervor and determination.

In the process of this great social reform we have enjoyed everything from forced busing to murder in the schools to seeing known criminals set free lest their civil rights be abused to standing in line at a supermarket check-out counter and seeing a commercial, illegitimate baby factory buy with food stamps items of groceries that hard-working, honest folk could not afford.

Could it not be high time for America to pause and ask if this glorious frustration unlimited is, in fact, progress. I readily admit much has been done and there has been great change, but a stick of dynamite can accomplish both of thosewith no progress at all. In the process of accessing our social progress read these articles from Encounter:

HIGH SOCIAL RAG

The drums of the counterculture may beat more softly these days, but the smoke signals linger on. Marijuana, according to recent surveys, is now smoked by 25 million Americans at a rate of more than 7 billion joints a year. With that in mind, a group of enterprising hipsters started an underground magazine for the stoned society a year ago, and since then “High Times” has grown into a very visible bimonthly publication with a circulation of 250,000.

High Times is as glossy and slick as any straight magazine, but that’s where the resemblance ends. The table of contents reads like a narcotic agent’s nightmare with titles such as “The Man Who Turned on the World,” “Golden Days of Cocaine Wine,” “Hemp Paper Reconsidered,” and “I Was JFK’s Dealer.” The advertising hawks every type of drug paraphernalia from joint rollers and cigarette paper to grass-quality testing kits and hand-carved marijuana pipes.

Despite the refusal by top national distributors to put the magazine on their news-stands, it is sold by subscription in head shops and on college campuses.

THE CHILDREN NEVER LAUGH

By the year 2075, babies will be born full-grown, complete with a college degree and driver’s license. For today, in the year 1975 A.D., children are a vanishing breed. Children no longer are children, they are members of society. They are citizens of a democracy beginning in the home where their little falsetto voices must be heard regarding the kind of dishwasher to buy, the menu for their parents’ anniversary dinner, and the kind of program the family may watch on evening television. How long has it been since you heard the laughter of children from the sidewalks, the parks, or the playgrounds? We just never hear a child laugh any more.

Children shout, they holler, they chant, or they hurl epithets, but they don’t laugh. What you hear that passes for laughter in children today is the raucous sound that heralds someone being hurled into a nearby swamp or the air having been let out of all four tires of someone belonging to the Establishment. By the time a child is four or five, he knows every TV commercial. He knows the meaning of rape, abortion, and homosexuality without even opening a dictionary or knowing what one is for. Does this mean that today’s children are mentally superior? Not when it is the accepted, even the recommended, thing that grade school youngsters take calculators to school to work their arithmetic problems, that colleges admit some of their students can’t read the writing on their diplomas, and that standards are being consistentlylowered to make jobs on our city police force. These certainly cannot be the criteria of intellectual achievement.

CITY GANGS

The black folk walked on one side of the street, the whites on the other in Ruston, Louisiana, so Terry Wayne Williams was pretty excited five years ago when his family struck out for Los Angeles and opportunity, of sorts. At 14, Terry Wayne joined the neighborhood gang. “If you not a Van Ness boy, they’ll make you one, so you might as well be one,” he says. “Besides, if you just one of the ‘niggas’ in the neighborhood, if some Crips ride by, they’ll pop you just as soon as not.” Now 17, Terry Wayne has been arrested maybe twenty times, served two six-month sentences for robbery, shot at plenty of Crips gang members, and been a target himself. “We catch one of them over here, we beat them,” he says. “They catch one of us over there, they beat us. It’s about equal.”

Terry Wayne and his “potnas” are part of a widening revival of inner-city youth gangs, a phenomenon that had flowered in the 1950s but quieted under the influence of hard drugs and antipoverty money in the 60s. Now the gangs have returned with a vengeance. According to Walter B. Miller, a Harvard anthropologist who has been studying youth gangs for the Law Enforcement Administration Agency, today’s gangs are both more sophisticated and more vicious than the old leather-jacketed groups romanticized in “West Side Story.” The weapons have escalated in some cities from fists,chains, and zip guns to rifles, machine guns, even bazookas homemade out of beer and soda cans.

With the decline of such super-gangs as Chicago’s Blackstone Rangers, there has been a growth in the so-called “wolf packs.” In the South Bronx, one gang known as the Makers has four subsidiaries for boys: War, Peace, Outlaw, and DeathMakers; one for preteens, Baby Makers; and one for girls, Love Makers. Admission to the gangs is tough, and retirement is tougher. Boys who want out are severely beaten, and girls must submit to sex with the entire gang.

UNFAMILIAR PATTERNS

Experienced elementary school teachers at all grade levels are saying that there is something disturbingly different about today’s children, reports Bank Street College of Education Professor Dorthy H. Cohen. Children from every socioeconomic background, those in excellent schools as well as poor and mediocre ones, are displaying an infantilization shown in brief attention spans and inability to work toward goals – an expectation of instant-everything that turns them into passive “wait-ers,” rather than passionate doers. “Evidence of noninvolvement and the disinclination to exert effort are appearing in homes and classrooms.” she notes.

The education specialist believes that adults must consider seriously the probability that these changes reflect the influence modern technocracy is having on children. “We ought to be upset when children shrug their shoulders at a task and say, ‘It’s too much trouble.’ What is feeding back to children from the environment of the adult world is that the personal effort of any individual makes little difference. It is almost as if technology’s side-effects, which are destroying the very quality of life – even when material comfort increases, are undermining healthy childhood growth as well. Are we creating children who are losing strength to function in human ways?” she asks.

TEEN VIOLENCE

Violent crime committed by teenagers is growing faster than adult crime in the U.S. Today, about one out of four arrests for a violent crime involves someone under eighteen, including one of every three robberies, one of every five rapes, and one of every nine murders. Since most teenagers spend a great deal of their time in school, schools have become the setting for much of the growing teen violence and vandalism. Attacks on teachers, shakedowns, and hallway rapes have become common news stories in large cities. Suburbia and small-town America are witnessing violence in the schools, too.

Why this increase in teen violence? A generation of violent warfare, say some; too much casual violence on television and movie screens, say others; weakening of the family unit in America, say still others; unemployment, boredom, a national malaise, racial tensions, lack of discipline in schools, and other reasons are also cited. The experts agree even less on the cures for this national ill, but there does seem to be a broad backlash developing in a demand for harsher penalties for youthful offenders.

In most states, teenagers can be charged only with juvenile delinquency, no matter what their crime, and punishmentsare generally much lighter than those meted out to adults for the same crimes. This, say critics, is like punishing teens with a feather. It even leads some gangs of young thugs to choose a gang member who is a minor for the dirtiest work because they know that he’ll get the most lenient treatment if caught. The result is that lately, liberals and conservatives have been agreeing on at least one thing: The need for stiffer penalties for young criminals, particularly for repeat offenders.

Now my friend, do you know what I think about this?

THIS ISN’T PROGRESS

As we consider the problems cited above as well as others too numerous to write about, we have to come to the country, corn-fed, common horse sense conclusion that “This mess ain’t progress.”

Isn’t it just possible that someone has been reading the wrong rule book? I don’t expect to, but I would love to (before the Lord comes back) see some society try it God’s way for just a bit. If somehow people could be awakened to the fact that morality is much more than personal taste or opinion and that God’s laws are much more than religious platitudes there could be social progress.

There won’t be. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (II Timothy 3:1-7)

But there could be. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land.” (IIChronicles 7:14)