Fewer Morals, More Crime Essay, Research Paper
Fewer Morals, More Crime:
How the Decline in Morality Has Caused an Increase in Crime
In an age where violent crime is more dominant than ever and morality is not heard of, there arise many problems that result from each other. The past thirty years, our society has been determined to secularize itself and to separate from many moral standards that root from the Bible. Since moral values were removed from schools in the 1960’s, crime and immorality has steadily risen. It is evident that declining morals has a direct effect on the crime rate.
Morality has been eliminated from typical American life through many factors, thus eliminating the reason this nation first began. James Madison said, “We’ve staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with.” Our founding fathers believed that you couldn’t even call yourself an “American” if you subvert the moral teachings of the Bible. In his farewell address, Washington said, “You can’t have National morality apart from religious principle.” It is obviously true because when the religious principle was rampantly taught, moral intelligence was higher, and the crime rate under control.
Since the moral teaching was thrown out of the classroom almost 40 years ago, there has been a 560% increase in violent crime. Births out of wedlock has risen more than 400%. Teen suicide has increased more than 200% (Cozic 109). Twenty percent of schoolchildren carry weapons to school (Colson). Our nation leads the industrialized nations in murder, rape and violent crime (Cozic 110). These shocking statistics can be explained and understood through history.
The decline in morality all began in the 1960’s with a severe cultural revolution which “exalted existentialism and a kind of ‘live for the moment, God is dead of irrelevant’ philosophy (Colson).” A poll was taken in 1962 that reported that at least 65 percent of Americans believed the Bible was true. The same poll was repeated in 1992, indicating that less than 32 percent of Americans believe in the Bible (Colson). Before the cultural revolution, truth was taught as the ultimate value. Now, tolerance is taught to replace the sometimes bitter truth. This “cultural revolution” has affected many areas in society that had an effect on the crime rate.
For morals to be effectively instilled in a human, it must begin in infancy. Therefore, the family structure is vital in moral development. Morality is learned through socialization and the examples people around them set in their own daily life. Children learn how to make moral judgements in difficult situations from their parents, even if their judgements seem to lack moral intelligence (McIsaac). Many families are not ideal, nor do they set a good example for the children growing up in them. Domestic violence, drug use, drug dealing, or fraudulent behavior observed by the maturing child does not go unnoticed. These decisions are taken “to heart” and remembered when the child is faced with a similar situation. On the other hand, children may push away their families, and the negative example set and turn to gangs. In a gang, they feel they have sufficient support and love. Unfortunately, violent crime and severe criminal behavior of all kinds accompany a gang environment. The lack of morals in a family structure obviously contribute to the high crime rate.
The current debate on the influence of television also plays a big part in this moral dilemma. The morally void programming has been proven to influence a child’s behavior and mimic their decisions. When television entertains through “casual cruelty, rampant promiscuity, and mindless soap operas,” children’s minds are filled with thoughts that they may have been previously taught to be wrong. The worst in television may be the talk-shows. The topics are clearly immoral, but are exalted. The people featured on the talk-shows, would have, at one time, felt embarrassed or shameful for their immoral behavior. Now, they are exposed, given much attention and considered valuable in their entertainment value, even if what they are doing is illegal and criminal (i.e., prostitution, drug-dealing, pedophilia) (Cozic 110).
The development of our society has produced organic solidarity, resulting in isolation, no support, no conscious and a desire for instant gratification. This clearly defies Aristotle’s view of the virtue of friendship. Aristotle discerned two books of the Nicomachean Ethics to friendship. The basis of friendship, according to Aristotle, is that “true friends support each other is doing what is right and in avoiding what is wrong (Schweigert)”. In the days of Aristotle, this was an effective method because friends morally supported each other and influenced them between right and wrong decisions. In our society, many people are isolated from each other, because there is no reason to be interdependent. This prevents any influence from a morally intelligent peer.
Shocking, but true, narcotic education programs in school stir curiosity in minds of young people to experience the talked of high from a certain drug. When the “War on Drugs” erupted, drug use among middle school students actually rose. They were trying marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and inhalants (Cozic 126). This is because, until recently, many drug programs focused on the temporary results of a drug instead of the long-term results. The programs often describe, in detail, the hallucinations, colors, and emotional feeling of the drug. Self respect is much lacking in the situations of those who experiment with the drugs, only changed through the gain of moral integrity.
When crime should have been rising in the late 1800s because of rapid urbanization, industrialization, and economic dislocation, Victorian morality was sweeping across America. It was a time of intense spirituality. It was not until the conscious rejection of Victorian morality during the “Roaring Twenties” that crime went up. This was an era when Sigmund Freud’s views were coming into vogue among “thinking” Americans: people weren’t evil, just misguided or mistreated, or they required better environments.
The crime rate did not decline again until the Great Depression, a time of people banding together in the face of crisis. Therefore, crime was in large part caused by a breakdown of morality. Since 1965, the crime rate has steadily risen. In the same period, faith a moral integrity has waned. We have told people there are no absolutes and that they are not responsible for their own behavior. They are simply victims of a system that isn’t working anymore and they don’t have to worry about it because the government is going to fix it for them (Watt).
When people are living only for themselves, not for any moral reason or purpose, fulfilling individual desires and gratification, then crime and drug abuse become inevitable. There is no moral consensus, and without a moral consensus, there can be no law. There has never been a case in history in which a society has been able to survive for long without a strong moral code. Recovering our moral code is the only way our society can survive. Recovering what our nation was founded on is the only way the crime rate will reasonably drop.
Colson, Chuck. “Can We Be Good Without God?” Imprimis 22. Hillsdale College
Cozic, Charles P., ed. American Values. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc, 1995.
McIsaac, Hugh. “The Moral Intelligence of Children.” Family and Conciliation Courts
Review 36 (1998): 90-91.
Schweigert, Francis J. “Moral Justice in Victim Offender Conferencing.” Criminal
Justice Ethics 18 (1999): 29-40.
Watt, Margo C., et al. “Moral Intelligence in a Sample of Incarcerated Females.”
Criminal Justice and Behavior 27 (2000): 330-55.