This morning I came across a good opinion piece by Jonathan Sacks in the Wall Street Journal discussing the recent riots in Britain. The following sentence especially caught my attention:
[A] tsunami of wishful thinking [has] washed across the West saying that you can have sex without the responsibility of marriage, children without the responsibility of parenthood, social order without the responsibility of citizenship, liberty without the responsibility of morality and self-esteem without the responsibility of work and earned achievement.
This is an outstanding summation of our times, wouldn't you agree?
That nugget was soon followed by a necessary acknowledgment: there has been an equally disastrous corollary to the decay found in our social fabric within the financial markets. It has resulted in something of a "hook-up" mentality that seeks a free lunch, so to speak, in a world where there are no free lunches. Jonathan Sacks, the chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth, went on to write:
Freud was right. The precondition of civilization is the ability to defer the gratification of instinct. And even Freud, who disliked religion and called it the "obsessional neurosis" of humankind, realized that it was the Judeo-Christian ethic that trained people to control their appetites.
Yeah, buddy. Insatiable appetites. Gluttony.
I'm sure I'll have more on this "reversing the decay" theme later, and the return to religion solution suggested by Last, but that is all for now.