When one reviews the released tapes from a thuggish Gov. Blagojevich, or remembers what Richard Fuld was doing at Lehman Brothers, recalls the base Wall Street criminality of a Bernard Madoff, or hears the latest December 7th sermon of ignorance and hate from Rev. Wright, and then tries to come up with some overarching (and secular) reason for such failure in our present generation of both ethics and common decency at so many different levels of our society, at least one common denominator seems to be the collapse of the liberal arts at all levels in our education system. We long ago abandoned non-ideological courses on civics, ethics, history, literature, and philosophy, and introduced in their place both a relativist and therapeutic curriculum, and a vocational one aimed only at acquiring the material good life.
I am not suggesting that the failure of K-12, and the greater failure of our universities, created ipsis factis such moral obtuseness in our popular culture, only that it did not produce enough citizens who knew right from wrong to stop the general madness swirling around them.
And so we get Rev. Wright spouting venomous banalities to standing ovations, a Blago being tolerated as “that’s just the Chicago way,” and near worship of those who squandered billions of hard-earned savings and investments from millions who could ill afford to lose them.