JC Bowman Commentary: Virtue Is Still Needed to Change Culture


As we know, the wisdom of the crowd isn’t always correct. We watch it every day unfold across 24/7 news cycles in front of our eyes. However, it has been occurring long before that option was even available to us. Canadian poet Atticus writes: “We are all born free and spend a lifetime becoming slaves to our own false truths.” The Book of Proverbs reminds to “let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.”

Each generation has the ability to speak for itself on matters it deems important. They often neglect the wisdom of the ages. Worse, as Ayn Rand points out: “The hardest thing to explain is glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.” Our world has both an abundance of hopeless ideas and thoughtless people, but also a rich reservoir of talent and committed people potentially available meet the critical needs of our society. We must better distinguish and identify the beneficial people and ideas and discard the bad.

Nikki Haley, former United Nations Ambassador recently warned that American politics is “reaching the point of hate.” Sadly, she is correct. Our culture is turning toxic, and we call things evil that are mere differences of opinion and then turns a blind eye toward actual evil. Things are defined, redefined and further demarcated to the point that what is up is down and what is down is up. Some choices can impact the future for all of us.

In today’s society, we are creating a digital citizen more concerned with their online utopia. They replace pride in their homeland with a world of digital companions and no actual physical location. Right and wrong is replaced with whoever finds the most keyboard warriors to agree with them. Worldviews have no absolute truth, except the truth, there are no absolute truths. We no longer recognize the humanity of other people and fail to respect the dignity of our actual neighbors. This has to change, or eventually, there will be no parameters that people have to follow in order to be socially accepted.

In this changing world, we are expected to teach children and transmit our culture. As author Ravi Zacharias pointed out that in some cultures “you love your neighbors, and in others, you eat them.” We should have a preference. This is what has driven our country forward for almost 250 years. We have made mostly moral and wise choices as a nation to the benefit of all.

We should recognize the blessing to be alive here in America, living in a time with modern conveniences. At the same time, we have to understand, without moral leadership culture cannot long survive. Children, the next generation, and the hope for a better future in our society need men and women of the highest moral standards to embrace teaching them. Ethics still matter.

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JC Bowman is the Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided that the author and the association are properly cited. For more information on this subject or any education issue please contact Professional Educators of Tennessee.
Photo “Helping the Homeless” by Gary Dee. CC BY-SA 2.0.



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