I've been screaming "morality" in many different ways over the years. And I do so because at bottom what negative events occur come down to what is right and wrong. I don't mean in the abstract philosophical sense. I mean that questions of right and wrong have a direct affect on individuals' lives and fortunes, not to mention their physical and mental health. We are awash in scandals and the perpetration of lies. Massive denial is behind the explanation of real and later identified wrong-doers statements that they weren't there or they didn't know or it wasn't their responsibility and so on.
Yesterday's Freeh report on the Penn State Sandusky sexual molestation scandal is no surprise. It is the same as many other matters that embarrass and do harm to an institution's or individual's reputation. It is not much of a stretch to wonder just how much the reverence college sports influences the covering up of sexual and financial wrong-doings. Any large institution is the breeding ground for corruption, because there is always someone or group of persons who really get off on skating or breaking the rules and codes of conduct. Teenagers are specialists in this kind of behavior, and the excuse in our youth was: "Well, boys will be boys". That in the being those boys, lots of hazing and outright abuse was excused by that easy and irresponsible explanation, which is to give the word the most harmful connotations.
The Barclays rate fixing scandal and the JP Morgan stunning loss of multi-billions of clients' monies fall into the same category of risk taking that either stretches the rules or breaks them, and that the perpetrators take great pride in "leaning over the edge of the tallest bridge in the world and tempting fate they will fall off into the abyss.
Many will say this has gone on for millenia, a very weak excuse for not comparing stated codes of conduct with actual behavior. I believe, and I have read widely about it and thought a lot about it, that there is a global failure of nerve and moral breakdown of a very different sort. We are not isolated by primitive technology, political borders, and vast oceans. We are connected in both wonderful and terrible ways. There are too many opinions and denials, gossip, fear mongering, and outright lies. But there is also a wealth of information available by current technology that when added up amounts to the best current account of the facts. So, we and others in general can see through the lies and the misreporting and form our own report about reality.
Those of us who are 75 are in a unique position. We are no longer, for the most part, daily participants in world affairs. We are observers and commentators. But I believe strongly that we have a responsibility, if we are privileged by having been so-well educated and, hopefully, become curious, to look at things straight in the eye and ask ourselves just what side of right and wrong world events and individual behaviors are. And if we are also privileged by being articulate and literate we can only pass our knowledge and wisdom to others, irrespective of their political affiliations, biases, and bigotry. Maybe someone will listen and pass it on. Then we have done our jobs as retirees.
I've been preaching again and I am a bore. But I'm proud of it.