American Morality

By Purcell, Tom | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

American Morality


Purcell, Tom, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


I don't see what everybody is so worried about. We should have loosened up our social mores years ago.

Ah, yes, you speak of Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs survey. It found that Americans are worried about the state of morality. Nearly 50 percent think our moral values are poor. Eight out of 10 think our morality is getting worse.

It's the older, church-going conservatives who feel this way.

The poll did break down along some interesting fault lines. People who attend church are much more likely to think morality is in bad shape than those who do not.

I figured.

Whereas 45 percent of Republicans believe moral conditions are poor, only 38 percent of Democrats feel so. The gap widens along ideological lines: 49 percent of conservatives think moral conditions are poor versus 32 percent of liberals.

Liberals like loose morals -- gives us more to do on the weekend!

The widest gap is between young and old. Only 31 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 think moral conditions are poor versus 51 percent of those over 65.

Older generations always think younger generations are less moral.

Your point is well taken, but perhaps things really are getting worse. In the 1950s, for instance, older generations said Elvis was vulgar and immoral -- that his music was sexually suggestive and corrupting the young.

My point exactly. Elvis was the greatest!

But compare his lyrics to many of today's hit songs and it is clear things have gotten worse. Many of today's lyrics are not about romance but the biological act of sex or cheating or jealousy. They're often misogynistic and demeaning to women. Elvis celebrated love and romance. Too many of today's songs celebrate human nature at its most base.

You're entitled to your opinion.

You raise an interesting point. Is morality just a matter of opinion? That's what a lot of people believe these days. That if it feels good, go for it. …

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