What people used to openly call good and evil in others must now be considered a matter of personal style or personality instead. This is the politically correct mores imposed by—hmm, the media perhaps? So now one can feel the same illicit thrill saying so-and-so is evil as one can saying a 'dirty' word...now known as an expletive. The labels that differentiated acceptable behavior from wrong behavior are now themselves to be considered wrong. So [Sigh] Nixon is not a crook, not to be reviled. The only person exempted from the rule is Hitler. Yes, Hitler was evil. We are waiting for Number Two, apparently. Genghis Khan, you need not apply. No apologist has suggested Hitler had a difficult childhood; he did. No appeal for him, though; he is our poster boy of badness.
On the other hand, we don't have to harbor secret hatred for our moral betters anymore...unless they happen to be quirky like Mother Teresa or the Mennonites or such. Eccentricity excuses morality. (1) A person can be 'good' if he is also 'a little weird,' in a good way of course. But not if he is an average person. One can't be good and be mainstream. We have bought into this, most of us. (2) One cannot be good and be smart, either: Good folks have to be on the simple side, to excuse the—oh my God, I'm going to say it—virtue. (3) Nor can one be good and have status. A guy or gal who can say "Right's right and wrong's wrong" will have never been even to the coffee shop of the VIP lounge unless it were to pour the coffee. (4) One can even impugn another's credibility now by suggesting he or she is moral or is a 'moralist' or is—God forbid!--'judgmental.' In fact, it seems you cannot be 'good' and be anything else at all: That is the be-all and end-all of your existence. Kind of like being black used to be (back when you could be 'black'). Being a decent person is being not cool.
Awhile ago there was a fellow on death row accused of something perfectly awful, something no one could condone even in our modern society. He had a following of susceptible females promulgating his case, his appeals. Then, out of the blue, came indisputable evidence he was—omigod!--innocent! His cadre of labile dames melted away, indignantly: they had been had! Mad is what they were. Wasting all that energy on someone who was actually innocent. They wanted their money back; it was a bad movie for them. I have been thinking about this for years, and it eludes me: What am I missing? Write me and tell me.
In countries like Canada (and like the U.S. In the 40s) where mass consciousness exudes disapproval of inappropriate behavior in even small ways, far fewer lurid crimes occur. Mass consciousness has a direct effect on mass behavior. Political and personal corruption has a very different style to it when people frown: not flagrant, not 'shameless.'
And yet, wouldn't you be a little bit annoyed if I called you 'virtuous'?
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