We wave away such words as puritanical anachronisms, out of touch with newer values: find your passion, do what feels good, life's short; eat dessert first! And the "progress" accelerates:
- State-sanctioned lotteries and casinos have burgeoned despite their predominantly hurting the poor, who can least afford to lose. The ultimate in regressive taxation.
- Two-thirds(!) of workers take sick days when not sick. Twelve percent said they took sick days just to watch March Madness! That's so societally accepted that corporations aren't embarrassed to push their recreational product by telling people to take a sick day. For example, the ad below was sponsored by a consortium of Tahoe hotels and casinos, the one below it by the Weather Network.
The cheat-if-you-can ethos is yet one more reason employers hire as few people and automate as many positions as possible.
- Worst of all has been the increased use of mind- and body-damaging drugs. And now, a majority of Americans favor legalizing pot while almost no one (I'm an exception) advocates banning tobacco or even alcohol. They have long devastated humankind but adding wide use of pot, coke, heroin, meth, and party drugs I can't even name, would cause enormous additional damage to health (disease and traffic accidents,) to families, to workplaces. I have written an essay providing a mountain of evidence that legalizing "mere" pot is a nightmare for America. I challenge you to make a stronger counterargument.
The world would be far better if we all accepted that hard, honest work is not an option but a societal, even cosmic, duty--even if the job is far from ideal. True, there are no longer enough good jobs to go around but there are enough acceptable jobs for all but the weakest employees. And yes, a job as dishwasher, factory worker, sewage-treatment plant worker, or hotel cleaner is--with a reasonable employer--an acceptable job. It seems cosmically wrong for able-bodied people to reject low-level work in favor of letting a family member or the taxpayer pay them for not working.
Lest you wonder if I practice what I preach, no I never worked in a sewage-treatment plant but I was a bookkeeping clerk with a shared desk in Harlem, for two years worked the night shift as a New York City cab driver and, to this day, at almost 64 years old, work 60+ hours a week, at least half of which for no pay. For example, this is my 1,244th blog post, all carefully written and edited. I just finished editing it after midnight.
Yet some people would rather let the taxpayer support them for 99 weeks than accept a mediocre job. I think little of such people.
As magnificent as is Beethoven's Ode to Joy, I believe that at this stage in society's evolution, we might do better to listen to an Ode to Discipline.