Moral Failure and Other Junk

by D.L. ADAMS December 3, 2010
Several recent events suggesting moral failure and confused priorities have caused considerable concern and dismay. The questions these events raise are disturbing ones and tend to show that our affection for entertainments, a widespread and self-referential world view, and a dearth of compassion for others are further signals of a culture in crisis and decline.
On November 16th, Bill Nye, aka "the science guy", a noted television science personality gave a guest lecture at the University of Southern California. As he approached the podium Mr. Nye fell and lost consciousness for a short time. A hush went through the large audience but for the furious keystroking of hundreds of Twitter and Facebook accounts being updated.
Though there was a surprising lack of immediate response when Nye collapsed, students were reportedly quick to reach for their phones to tweet about the bizarre incident.
"Nobody went to his aid at the very beginning when he first collapsed -- that just perplexed me beyond reason," USC senior Alastair Fairbanks said. "Instead, I saw students texting and updating their Twitter statuses. It was just all a very bizarre evening."
Another bizarre abandonment of responsibility similar to that of the tweeters in southern California is a website poll in Minnesota. Launched recently by a couple in Minnesota the poll asks visitors to vote on whether or not they should abort their unborn child.
"You can vote and choose whether we abort or keep our unborn child. For the first time, your vote on the topic of abortion can make a difference," a statement on the website reads.
One can imagine this scenario years later:
You know sweetheart, you’re alive because lots of people on our website voted to not kill you. We’re glad you’re alive - but we just as easily could have killed you depending on how the voting went, of course. When you get older you might want to email all those people and thank them?
If the polling results are ‘abort!’ can the parents then later then say to themselves, ‘well, the voters told us to abort, so we did’?
During a late October high school football game in San Jose, California, a 14-year old student/player was injured on the field. An ambulance was called. When the medical crew arrived the ambulance driver was told by a school official not to take the vehicle on the field (apparently concerned for the verdure), citing district policy.
These disturbing stories of confused priorities, abandonment of moral responsibility, self-obsession, and failure of compassion are a growing phenomenon. They bring one back to the horror of the New York City attack and murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964 with its infamous multiple witnesses who did not render aid to the victim nor immediately call the police.
Recognizing and understanding moral failure has long been a popular theme in our culture. The 1987 film "River's Edge" is a particularly visceral dramatization. Based on an actual case, a high school boy brags to his friends of having murdered his 14-year old girlfriend. When the friends are shown the body of the victim they do... nothing.
Doing nothing is not a universal response. A New Jersey Pastor is demanding that officials of his church delete their Facebook accounts, citing marital difficulties that the site might facilitate. The Pastor is ordering about 50 married church officials to delete their accounts with the social networking site or resign from their leadership positions."
On Sunday, he plans to "strongly suggest" that all married people stop using Facebook, lest they endanger their marriage.
This strong reaction against Facebook’s false intimacy, the same false intimacy and immediacy that prompts adult college students to update their statuses rather than render aid to a man in trouble directly in front of them may seem an overreaction.
It should be noted that soon after the Pastor issued his call to abandon Facebook, he admitted to having threesome sex with his wife and a male church assistant.’ In its defense, if it needs any, there is no indication that Facebook was involved. If the Pastor is forced to resign, his former congregants can always contact him on Twitter. Technology does not dictate morality, though sometimes it can help people forget about it.
The immediacy of social networking provides a false perception of intimacy with other users and lends an over-importance to one's own communications so that whatever one has to say, no matter how vapid and banal, is considered important. Rather than offering aid to Mr. Nye lying prostrate on the stage, the common response in the audience was to keystroke the fact that Mr. Nye was lying prostrate on the stage. This is a moral inversion and shows a deep confusion about priorities.
As the holiday season approaches and many Americans face groping and hassles by TSA "security officials" at the nation's airports for the crime of wanting to visit family and friends - the nature and consequences of moral confusion and cowardice are brought unpleasantly into focus.
We do not profile in our airport because the nature of the threat must be identified, and those who fit the profile of potential attackers pulled out of line for further discussions and review. Such an approach would obviate the need of course for frisking of nuns, 80-year old ladies in wheel chairs, 3-year old children, cancer patients, removal of prosthetic breasts, damaging urostomy bags, public strip searching of children, etc. Profiling cracks the foundations of multiculturalism, and that is a no-no in our upside-down, morally confused and broken culture.
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, recently said that multiculturalism in Germany is an utter failure. This is a redundancy.
Multiculturalism is a failed concept that protects hateful violent ideologies at the expense of host cultures; in this case, ours. Gropery exists in US airports because honesty does not.
In American airports all are groped because the few who are likely to be terrorists cannot be called out as such. All are frisked because all must be considered potential threats so as not to offend those few who are more likely to be actual threats.
One of the key points of multiculturalism is that adherence to any ideology or culture, even one that is hostile, cannot be grounds for criticism or special attention. This surreal approach to security is the essence of multiculturalism - that utter failure.
Is there not a threat doctrine? Is there not a profile of the likely potential terrorist? What miniscule percentage of the flying public fits this profile? Instead, we approach everyone who enters an airport in the US with the presumption of guilt and subject all to intrusive security theater.
The same moral confusion that prompts tweeting and social network status updates about an emergency instead of rendering aid in the "real world" to mitigate that emergency is at work in our airports. We haven't the moral courage to identify an oppositional ideology whose purpose is our destruction so we treat everyone as a potential terrorist.
Isn’t it reasonable to suggest that those who adhere to an ideology that is opposed to the Constitution and requires violence against those who do not accept that ideology should be viewed in a different way than a three year old child? There is no apparent evidence that our leaders understand that we are in a civilizational ideological war. The desire of our leaders to sustain multiculturalism and deny the existence of this conflict is at the core of US airport security theater.
Islamic supremacism and its doctrinally mandated hatred for the unbeliever (the motives of jihad terrorism) is not going away. The idea that we can secure our traveling safety by pretending that the potential threat from all travelers is equivalent rather than acknowledging a specific threat from a few - and responding to it - is absurd.
The failure of the audience at USC is an unpleasant reminder of the Genovese case and a renewal of the themes of "River's Edge." Harassment of Americans who want to fly, sacrificing their dignity and freedoms so that the "utter failure" of multiculturalism can be sustained in the United States (though it is being openly challenged in Europe), is the current price we all must pay for our societal failure to acknowledge, identify, and confront an existential threat from a hostile ideology and its adherents.
It would appear that fewer and fewer America know ‘what to do.’ This is profoundly unfortunate because our enemies know exactly what to do, and now that they see our widespread moral confusion and doubt, their goals seem (at least to them) much more attainable.
The Minnesota mom who is polling the internet for advice on whether to give birth to her child or kill him/her said:
"I wanted to wait longer because I was losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle."
Alisha Arnold told the Star Tribune. "I wasn't sure what to do."
A culture that doubts its core beliefs or is confused about its national identity and character will find it difficult to defend against enemies motivated by an absolutist, intolerant, supremacist ideology. Our children, our aged and our infirm, are now frisked at US airports because we will not acknowledge that we are engaged in an ideological struggle.
Most Americans understand that we can never go back to a pre-9/11 world. We cannot go back because the same ideology that motivated the 9/11 killers is the very same that motivates terrorists and jihad killers today (and into the foreseeable future).
When we say that we are in a post-9/11 world but refuse to acknowledge why, we can’t but help create an Orwellian world of falsehoods, confusion, and moral cowardice instead. When critics of the TSA say that ‘the terrorists are winning’ they are right; TSA universal airport gropery exists because our leaders refuse to name the enemy (and act accordingly) in this existential struggle that many see but few publicly acknowledge. Our enemies have no qualms about naming their enemy.
Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
When next you are flying the formerly friendly skies of America, consider the following as a tweet to your network - "hey! they just grabbed my junk!" If you fly often, program it into memory.
Family Security Matters Contributing Editor DL Adams is an analyst and historian. In addition to Family Security Matters his work has appeared in The Washington Times, American Thinker, BigPeace, and New English Review. He can be reached at

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