A look at how American society muddles through its claim of "morality".

Essay by solecisticCollege, Undergraduate September 2003

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As a country, we define America as a land of opportunity where men and women are created equally: a just society in which oppression and discrimination are archaic, deplorable institutions of our ignorant forefathers. Ironic, then, in a country that espouses equity, human rights, and freedom of choice, that a gay man is beaten and left for dead; ironic that a young woman is harangued and even physically assaulted when she attempts to enter an abortion clinic; ironic that our former president--the physical representation of America's idealistic values & morals--is exposed as an adulterer and a liar. Just what ARE values and morals in a country of meaningless hate crimes, White House sex scandals, and tolerated intolerance? And are laws effectively built on the so-called basis of morality and self-interest?

First of all, "morals" are defined as principles with regard to right or wrong behavior, and "values" are a set of ideals and institutions that evoke an emotional response in a given society or individual.

These two ideas create "ethics," any quality desirable as a mean of an end in itself. Arguably, each individual has a different set of ethics, which adds up to a different personal character. No one cares about the personal character of Joe Lunchpail, who works at the local GM plant, drinks beer, watches football, and beats his wife.

But Joe is a single cog in a vast wheel that is turning at a rate he can't comprehend. His personal character is unimportant; he himself couldn't care less about the moral structure of his measly existence. Since Joe doesn't care, he remains at the bottom of the social totem pole, maintains only a rudimentary understanding of how America works, and reserves the right to bitch about high taxes and how the "big game" has been pre-empted...