Cruelty & Change


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.




4 thoughts on “Cruelty & Change

  1. This is so true. Well said mate. I’m studying social injustice with my year 10’s at the moment and they are asking question like “What can I do?” Or “How can I help?”. I’ve been encouraging them to start with their world. The old KISS (keep it simple sunshine) philosophy.
    You know sometime all it takes is smiling at a complete stranger and you can change their world.

  2. This part where you said: “Seems a bit like putting a bunch of band-aids on a gushing wound.” I’ve felt like that for a long time too. Long story short, I think part of the problem in our U.S. society is this expectation of immediacy and also, how you describe the sort of entitled thinking that one person can be autonomously individualistic and for some reason think their actions don’t affect other human beings and this planet as a whole.

    I’m not expressing myself well because your post has given me an old idea but in a brand new light, so I’ma need to do some thinking about it!! I do appreciate your thoughts though, and am glad I caught them to read over! Hope your day is going well :0)

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