While the controversy surrounding Michael Vick continues, a few stark realities present themselves, all of which have an element of moral relativism. The sad fact is that “thuggery” has seeped into every avenue of the American culture and our society is accepting it.
The acceptance of “thuggery” in professional sports is a given. From the National Basketball Association to the National Football League, the counterculture urban bad-boy image has been accepted as “cool.” One need only look at the offenses professional athletes are being arrested for and charged with to understand the spectrum of the problem. From Michael Vick’s guilty plea in the despicable dog fighting scandal to former Chicago Bear Tank Johnson’s repeated weapons offenses, from Charles Barkley’s assault charge for throwing a heckler through a bar window to the Baltimore Raven’s Ray Lewis skirting murder charges through a plea deal, the idea that professional sports figures should provide role models for our nation’s youth has been discarded and their behavior deemed acceptable so long as it generates the almighty dollar.
The urban counterculture bad-boy image — or “gangsta” image — prevalent in most of today’s professional sports and modern music cultures, preys on those susceptible to its superficial allure, its facade of “machismo,” using the most base of human instincts: superiority through violence. Those who fall prey to the ghoulish magnetism of thuggery not only proliferate this intellectually stunted societal ill but are used by society’s greed element. Whether it’s selling the next gang-symbol-infused product to wannabe-punk suburban adolescents or the acceptance of “collateral damage” in the form of hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent lives lost to the ongoing and expanding epidemic of inner-city gang turf wars, thuggery is encroaching on the American mainstream at an alarming rate.
Our society, through the ideological cancer that is moral relativism, has taken to rationalizing the cause of many a heinous act to any number of mitigating factors while excusing those who commit these acts — like Michael Vick — as victims instead of the self-centered, pampered elitists they are.
This rationalizing of purposely bad behavior facilitates the rise of larger numbers of conceited, entitlement-seeking malcontents who demand they be seen, understood and accepted as correct on every issue and in every circumstance regardless of the facts or the rules and laws. The result is a society that increasingly refuses to take responsibility for its actions.
We not only see this epidemic on an individual level, we see it on an organizational level as well.
When we look at political action groups like MoveOn.org and ACORN that mount politically aggressive and often factually slanted and inaccurate campaigns, using nationally and sometimes internationally acquired funds, to target individually elected officials — regardless of political affiliation — we are witnessing thuggery in the political arena.
When we see the morning news shows of the mainstream “alphabet media” covering Democrat presidential candidates “nearly twice as much” as their Republican counterparts and framing the questions in their interviews from a liberal perspective most of the time, we are witnessing a form of thuggery in the informational and — dare I say it — intellectual realms.
And when we see organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and Council on American-Islamic Relations using the power of unlimited funds to perpetrate what amounts to a “litigation jihad” against those they oppose and disagree with, we are seeing not only a corruption of our judicial system but an example of legal thuggery.
At the birth of our nation, our uniquely American society had a very clear grasp of the concepts of good and evil, of bad and good, of what was right and what was wrong. Individuals and organizations who transgressed the boundaries of the evil, the bad or the wrong were expected to pay a price for their misdeeds. Today, through the perverted and contorted logic of moral relativism, anything can be rationalized and anyone — even if they are the purveyors of evil — can be a victim.
All our “enlightened” society expects from those who commit even the most monstrous societal transgressions is “an apology.” The sad part is that because our society has become morally relativistic, there is no threshold for how sincere that apology must be.
Frank Salvato is the vice president and executive director of Basics Project.