Cruelty & Change

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At the risk of sound incredibly naïve, I have to say, I just don’t understand cruelty. I know the pat answers that bullies need to “lord it over” someone to feel some sort of superiority in their own misery. But real violent cruelty we see on the news, where a kid, or an elderly person is bashed in some senseless way just leaves me scratching my head. I can’t fathom how people can do it and not feel like they’re stripping their own humanity out with a knife.

And what then do we do? How do we fix this problem? What is the answer? Our society pays a police force to … “police” our laws. We then try the alleged offender and, in most cases, incarcerate them. Seems a bit like putting a bunch of band-aids on a gushing wound.

How do you change a culture? How do you change a society where this sort of thing is on the rise? These questions have serious far-reaching implications for the world we live in, and the people we do life with. Lets look at early childhood upbringing. Do we stop parents from giving kids a smack when they’re naughty, or encourage them to do it more? Is either answer really all that effective in the long run?

The problem is not education. The problem is not poverty. The problem is not race. The problem is the breakdown of moral values in American life, and the criminal justice system cannot respond.” – Chuck Colson.

Please excuse the American-centric quote. Chuck got quite a lot of applause after that statement. It’s kind of a no-brainer really. If you have a moral society you have fewer laws broken. Less cruelty.

However morality these days is viewed as all relative. People still seem to admire people that live out their beliefs with passion and integrity, but stop short at claiming morality as anything but subjective. The whole “what’s true and good for you isn’t what’s true and good for me” thing. And this “relative morality” is defended so emphatically that it seems to have single-handedly driven “Politically Correctness” as a whole.

With an election now right around the corner it’s more important than ever to think long and hard about who we are putting in charge of our law-making. Like it or not, politicians make changes that effect us directly. But they cannot make a moral society. All they can do is make more band-aids to cover the gushing wound.

We are society. We have to start with ourselves.

So here’s the part where I force my morality down your throat… right? Come on, “Love your neighbour” isn’t that draconian is it? Might not be easy but it’s got to be worth it. Together we can do it. I challenge you (and myself) to do something good for a stranger. Here’s some inspiration.