What Really Ails America Essays

965 WordsMay 17, 20134 Pages
In his article, “What Really Ails America,” author William J. Bennett presents his argument as to why America is now viewed as a country that no longer possesses a virtuous, morally sound society. According to Bennett, this change in society was brought about by an aversion to spiritual and religious things. This lack of spirituality and religion has skewed the perception of what is now considered to be ethical in this country. Bennett not only makes note of the issues, but also goes on to explain why this is happening in society, and what can be done to get back on track. Although he is accurate in noting that America is indeed a “society in decline” in terms of morals, the idea that full blame is to be placed on a lack of spiritual…show more content…
The lack of guidance and discipline with regard to morals and ethics has sent the American society into a downward spiral. Another flaw in Bennett’s argument is that he assumes religion is required to be ethical. He strongly believes that this change was brought about due to the aversion of spirituality and religion in today’s society. The idea is that religion and/or spirituality hold people to certain moral standards as well as making it easier to differentiate between right and wrong. Bennett claims that “religion provides us with moral bearings,” however religion is not required to be ethical. Moral sense is not a belief about right and wrong. It is the natural capacity to develop such beliefs as well as the emotions that go with them. One might argue that culture gives a society a sense of moral direction. Since cultures vary from place to place, so do morals. Christians believe that God was a moral being, and as creator, the same morals reside within humans. If that is the case, then humans would possess a sense of right and wrong before they are even born. However, humans also have free will; therefore they are capable of developing their own moral guidelines based on religion, culture, or any other contributing factors. Bennett’s claim that “only when we turn to the right things – enduring, noble, spiritual things –
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