William L. Garvin: Evolution or Devolution?

Bill Garvin EOD

When Secretary of State John Kerry referred to the use of chemical weapons in Syria as a “moral obscenity,” it was nice to hear him criticizing someone other than our own military personnel. It would also have been appropriate to hear him express similar outrage when Saddam Hussein was using similar weapons against the Iranians and against the Kurdish people in his own country but that didn’t happen. Of course, Kerry is right—it is an atrocity but it just the latest example of cultural devolution.

What do you make of a world when mothers will strap explosives to their children and then send them off to public places to be detonated? What do you make of a world where entire villages will be hacked to death with machetes? What do you make of a cause that severs the head of a journalist and then posts their grisly murder on YouTube? What do you make of the millions of lives aborted each year? What do you make of a group of teenagers that murder an innocent jogger because they were bored? What do you make of teenagers who beat an 88-year old veteran to death with flashlights? What do you make of teenagers who shoot a 13-month old baby to death in front of his mother? What do you make of young boys and girls who beat someone up and then post the video of their assault?

What do you make of the beating, rape, and murder of the 85-year old woman in Tulsa and the murder of her 90-year old husband? What about the rape of the 90-year old woman in Chicago, the 80-year old in Richmond, or the 90-year old in Detroit? Have we created a sub-species of the human race that has neither a moral compass nor the least reservation about preying on the weakest among us? This evidence suggests a process of “becoming physically, morally, or mentally worse,” i.e., devolution.

In her book, THE NARCISSISM EPIDEMIC, Dr. Jean Twenge notes that narcissism “is a significant risk factor for aggressive and violent behavior.” She goes on to note that “…narcissists are aggressive exactly because they love themselves so much and believe that their needs take precedence. They lack empathy for other people’s pain and often slash out when they feel they aren’t getting the respect they deserve—and they feel they deserve a lot, because they are, of course, better than everyone else…Their narcissism allowed them to disregard the most basic rights of others.”

A byproduct to the self-esteem on steroids culture is a concomitant loss of a sense of shame or embarrassment. Shock value in entertainment takes precedence over talent. Spectacle supersedes significance. Narcissistic self worth is determined by the number of “retweets” or the “likes” on their “selfie.” If a sex tape can make you famous, why not? After all, everybody’s doing it! Politicians cheat, actors and athletes hop musical beds, and unwed mothers and deadbeat dads abound.

Our judicial system seems to aid and abet the devolution by the frequent lack of consequences. Hasan the mass-murdering terrorist gets the death penalty but the military hasn’t executed anyone since 1961. Three large teenagers beat, kick, stomp and maul a diminutive 13-year old and get probation, anger management, and community service. A schoolteacher rapes a teenager who subsequently commits suicide and is given a 30-day jail sentence. Politicians lie directly to the American people and get a pass. If they lie under oath, they claim to have “misspoke.” They never steal but they do “misappropriate.” They are not a crook, they didn’t have sexual relations with that woman, and it takes nearly twenty sexual harassment claims before a mayor will resign. Congress passes law after law after law that they and their cronies will not have to follow. If you’re not connected, you’ll be subjected!

Adding insult to injury, the defense for the accused will frequently resort to blaming the victim. Rumors and innuendoes boil over. The 88-year old veteran was a drug dealer; the thirteen-year old was a snitch; the mother of the murdered 13-month old actually did it for the insurance money; the fourteen-year old girl was “older than her years.” The adversarial system is not a search for truth but a win at any cost legal brawl with no holds barred. Individual responsibility and societal accountability are becoming such old fashioned concepts that the light at the end of the tunnel is the oncoming devolutionary train!