I’ll bet you feel uneasy about the state of affairs in our world today. Almost everybody does.
We know something is going wrong and we sense that we are gradually sliding downhill, toward an unknown fate. We have that hinky feeling that whatever awaits us at the bottom of the hill is not good, and we are powerless to stop it.
I suspect the cause of our angst is the decline of honesty.
Our grandfathers lived in a world where one’s most important possession was his or her honor and reputation. Business and real estate deals were often made with a handshake rather than a contract. Out of wedlock births and adultery were pretty rare. Thieves and hucksters went to jail. Schools and churches taught children that dishonesty is wrong. Liars were not tolerated. News reporters triple checked their facts to make absolutely certain they were accurate. Yes, there were bad guys, but they were vilified by the general public.
That world is gone. Today we are barraged by news reports that are purposefully false. Politics has become a lying contest where partisans have no problem with their leaders uttering obvious fabrications, justified because “the other side lies too.” We have become numb to dishonesty in politics and in the news media because it is so pervasive. Nothing surprises us any more; corruption has become expected and normal.
And it’s not just politics. In the course of my business career I witnessed an appalling decline in the standards of honesty and fairness. When I started in the corporate world, almost all large companies operated with the balanced interests of their customers, employees, vendors, and owners always in mind, based on the goals of long-term success and good citizenship. Before I retired I witnessed, firsthand, appalling chicanery and deceit by corporate executives, whose goals were maximizing their personal income and power. With today’s astronomical executive salaries and bonuses the situation continues to worsen.
Most men and women no longer marry because commitment to an honest relationship is just too hard (forget about the impact on the kids). Schools and colleges fill young minds with disinformation and revised history while emptying their pockets and mortgaging their futures.
Today my news inbox is absolutely stuffed with illustrations of dishonesty: proven vote fraud in Texas, politically motivated false charges of impropriety in Washington, DC, police officers looking the other way instead of dealing with criminals.
Thankfully, there are still honest people in our world. We are in decline, but it is reversible. Honesty is on life support. God help us. Please.
Tom Balek, Rockin’ On the Right Side
Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you