Moral decay, moral fabric, moral fiber, etc., etc., ...

It seems like American politicians are so often railing against the prevailing climate of immorality and licentiousness. To listen to it, you’d think there were X-rated films on commercial TV, and legalized coke and heroin boutiques on every corner.

Are people elsewhere in the developed world so hung up on
public morals as Americans seem to be?

I think they are, but other countries just have different moral standards. ISTR a Great Debate about the French suing Yahoo for allowing auctions of Nazi memoribilia…

I eat moral fiber when I want to flush out my moral colon.

I too get a bit tored of hearing the constant simpering about the decay of America’s moral fiber. But maybe that is an actual sign of the decay itself?

I mean does anyone really think that things are getting better? Sure we are making general strides towards tolerance and equality and we make a lot of vocalizations about eliminating prejudice but isn’t it possible to do all that and have safe streets and clean public restrooms?

Robert Heinlein once wrote that a “sure sign of decay in any civilization is increased tolercance of generally rude behavior.”. I’m just as guilty of it as anyone else. I don’t want to get involved, I just botle it up and pass it along on some other person and then am guilty of it myself.

Two things that bother me about the politicos using this as some sort of platform is that they never really say anything about how to fix it. They just say “Things are bad and we need to do something about it. Vote for me!”. not “Things are bad and this is how I’m going to fix it. If you like my plan then lets DO something about it!”. It all smells like Nixon’s “Plan for ending the war in Viet Nam”. Which he wouldnt share unless elected and then turned out to be bullshit.

I have a plan and it involves flogging people who piss on the seat, whipping people who cut in line, and tarring and feathering people who take the laser pointer things into the movie theater. So vote for me if you like my plan!

Every generation thinks that the one that came along after is going to hell in a handbasket. You see records from the court of Queen Elizabeth I lamenting the fact that people are becoming so immoral and looking fondly back to the “old days” when people were polite, moral, and everyone was happy. The Good Old Days are a myth . . . they never existed. Public standards of behavior might change over the course of time, but people don’t.

Isn’t the “public” comprised of “people”? I mean I think I get your point, there is no such thing as a perfect history and a lot of things today are better than they were yesterdy in may regards. But come on, you think that there hasn’t been a decay in public behavior in the past few generations?

Hell I don’t need to ask my grandparents about this. I KNOW it, I actually remember when restrooms were clean and people were more polite. And I’m no geezer. I like a lot of things about the way we are going as a society, but why do we have to sacrifice being nice to one another in order to be more tolerany of minorities or appearance?

Where I work we have people who have B.O. and who apparntly regard a toothbrush as some archaic torture device. Yet it is defined by pay and task as “white collar”. Not “grimy filthy collar”.

Why can’t we have people with enough common sense to enjoy a “casual” worplace understand that jeans=casual but green teeth=nasty bastard?

I mean I know the answer, we are getting dumber and lazier but it would seem a pretty easy thing to do something about. Just don’t put up with it.

I now send people home for hygene issues and remind people to wash hands when leaving the restroom if I happen to be in there myself (shared keyboards spread illness. Handwashing IS important). Some people pissed and moaned but in general we have a happier workplace with less general bitching about smells and sights.

While there has never been a true “good old day” that is no reason to not work towards assimilating tolerance while retaining thos habits we know to be genial.

It seems that there are several facets to this issue. The notion that our society is going to hell in a handbasket can be based on a declining level of civility, or a perception that violent crime is increasing. These are things most of us agree are undesirable, if indeed the perception is true.
But these moral transgressions involve definite victims, other than the perpetrators. “Moral decay”, as used by
American moral watchdogs also seems to include various types of consensual behavior, and at its worst, seems to focus
primarily on the objection to anyone having a good time anywhere. It’s this type of “immorality” that I don’t see
anyone else so concerned with as American conservatives, apart from obvious examples like Irani mullahs and the like.

If you read the book “A distant mirror” about the middle ages people then were very concerned about the moral decay. One of the worst things they were worried about was the wearing of pointed shoes. Pointed shoes being the middle ages equivalent of body peircing or tatoos.

The OP asked a General Question, which reads as follows:

Not “are Americans too hung up on morals” or “should we be.”

Please try to help out our OP.

I have a theory about the decline of our moral fiber. It is due to increased bathing. You all know if you wash your jeans they fade that is because washing breaks down the fibers.

A further example. A clasic Norman Rockwell type idea is that people bathed once a week on Saturday. No body had more moral fiber than Norman Rockwell.

So there we have it the decline and fall of western civilization is caused by good plumbing. Not unlinke some theories about the decline and fall of Rome.

Well, I seem to remember that this country was initially populated by a large number of people seeking religious freedom. I won’t claim all or even a majority of immigrants were religious zealots, because I’m sure a large number were also seeking to make their fortunes or just escape economic hardship. But if a person is so fervent in his religious beliefs that he is willing to uproot his family and leave everyone he knows to travel to a distant, often hostile land, you have think that he could be one of the more religious extremist types. So if this extremism is passed on from generation to generation, tempered by the changing times, it could be argued that a good measure of America’s religious fervor is simply a legacy of its puritanical roots.

It should be made clear, however, that the United States certainly holds no monopoly on concern for public morality. The French immediately pop to mind (partially because you limited the OP to “developed” nations), though their version of what morals should be defended seems a little different than the American version–defending French culture, language, and sensibility seems to be the issue there. Besides the Yahoo thing, I also remember seeing a recent News Hour story about vandalism at McDonalds restaurants in France because they are perceived (maybe correctly) as diluting French culture.

I would hope other, more internationally savvy posters would be able to address the question more thoroughly. I suspect part of your view simply might be cultural myopia–few foreign political stories other than about war and/or the most energetic “American is Satan” types seem to come to the American media’s direct attention. I’m reminded of another thread regarding the average Americans’ general lack of knowledge about Canada–how much time do you spend learning about other countries’ internal politics if you aren’t being bombarded with news about them?