‘Me-ism’ Makes Victims of Us All
The effects of the self-centered philosophy of me-first are far-reaching indeed. Unfortunately, all of us are affected by the fruits produced by this evil tree.
IS America a declining power? That is the question raised by a weekly news magazine in the United States. What prompted the question is summarized in the article as follows: “Morally, traditional ideals of hard work, self-restraint and sacrifice are eroding in a widening mood of me-ism that has brought not only rising delinquency, family breakups and other disruptions but declining standards in education and the work place that compromise the U.S. competitive position in the world.”—U.S. News & World Report, November 27, 1978.
Me-firsters chant their pet doctrine, ‘Do your own thing.’ A Chicago man did his, which was sodomy, and 32 boys are dead. He murdered them, threw some into the river, and the others he buried under his house and garage. The remains of 28 have been found there. In 1968 he was convicted of sodomy with a 16-year-old boy and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He served only 18 months. Had he served his full time 32 boys would be alive today. Instead, they became the victims of so-called victimless homosexuality.
Five years ago there were 27 deaths of young victims of sodomy in Houston. They were engulfed in a homosexual torture ring. Yet society in general is beginning to take a liberal view of the homosexual lifestyle. California state senator H. L. Richardson doesn’t: “Homosexuals go out after what they call ‘chickens.’ Chickens are young, susceptible boys, usually in their early teens, who then become victims of a kind of lifestyle they otherwise may never have considered. I certainly consider these youngsters and their parents victims.”
Is this homosexual life-style good or bad? God’s view is this: “God gave them up to disgraceful sexual appetites, for both their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; and likewise even the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full recompense, which was due for their error. . . . those practicing such things are deserving of death.”—Rom. 1:26, 27, 32.
In his special report, Senator Richardson also showed how others are victimized by such immorality: “Whenever there is a loose community attitude toward homosexuality, porno movies and prostitutes, the crime rate skyrockets. Hollywood is a living example. Some of that area has become such a cesspool that the legitimate citizens and businessmen are being forced to leave the community.” Financial losses from property and businesses can be huge in such cases.
“Pornography can cause sex deviancy,” says Dr. Victor B. Cline, professor of psychology. He further states:
“When not asserting First Amendment protection for pornography, its defenders called it a harmless diversion—possibly a therapeutic one—that might keep rapists and sexual deviates off the street. . . . Psychological and medical literature is replete with research which demonstrates that sexual deviancy can arise not only from exposure to real-life acts but also from pornography. . . . Thus, while we may say that in a free society each person should decide for himself whether to risk the use of pornography, we must also consider the rights of someone who may fall unwilling victim of a sexual deviant and his fantasies—all of which may have come about merely because one person had the opportunity to take a chance with erotica.
“Ultimately, society has to set some limits when the possible harm is seen as too great to be tolerated. I think that point has long since been passed with pornography. To me, those who claim that the exhibition and sale of pornography is a ‘victimless crime’ are just wrong. The scientific evidence speaks too strongly to the contrary.”
The moral breakdown sends its roots into many areas other than sex. All of us pay, in a number of ways. One way is by higher taxes to pay the cost of police protection, the court systems and prisons. Another area that the roots from the tree of me-ism reaches, as mentioned in the news magazine’s concern with America’s declining power, is
‘Declining Standards in the Work Place’
All of us know—and are victims of—the decline of quality in the products we buy. Me-minded manufacturers use inferior materials. Me-minded workers demand more pay for less work and poor workmanship. Not only this; many are greedy thieves.
“A leading investigator of employee stealing calls theft—not baseball—America’s national pastime,” says a magazine article entitled “White-Collar Crime—It’s a Sin Even If You Don’t Get Caught.” “America’s most resourceful and successful crook,” the article opens, “wears a white collar.” It continues:
“More likely than not, he or she is respectable, hardworking, churchgoing, . . . and nonviolent but a criminal nonetheless. The crime: stealing from the company, the customer, the client, the government—an awesome, larcenous total of more than $40 billion a year. That figure is ten times the annual total from violent crimes against property.”—U.S. Catholic, January 1979.
Most persons give at least lip service to the Golden Rule, but applying it is another matter. Also, each one has his own method of rationalizing his sin. Many reason: ‘Take money from the store cash register—their prices have such losses figured in.’ ‘Sneak materials from off the job—they don’t pay me enough anyway.’ ‘Everybody’s doing it. Why shouldn’t I?’ Both white-collar and blue-collar workers view this as fringe benefits. The employer views it as thievery, and the costs are paid for by you and me. We are the victims.
Many businessmen do worse, as New York’s district attorney pointed out, saying: “Stock-market swindlers and manipulators, corporate officers making illegal profits from inside information, people in business hiding profits from tax authorities, and enormous numbers of stock-market investors were using foreign accounts to evade income taxes on their trading profits.” People who do this were “those who would be the first to complain about a robbery or mugging in their neighborhood.”
Whom Can I Sue?
It is estimated that over seven million lawsuits were filed in the United States in one year. They come like an avalanche and bury the courts. Many are legitimate, many are frivolous, many are greedy. It’s an epidemic of ‘hair-trigger suing,’ as one jurist called it. Patients sue doctors, clients sue lawyers, students sue teachers, workers sue bosses, customers sue manufacturers, people sue people. It even affects the family: “Children haul their parents into court, while husbands and wives sue each other, brothers sue brothers, and friends sue friends,” as we read in an article in U.S. News & World Report, December 4, 1978.
That article lists some cases to show the extremes to which the impulse to sue has gone. A former student asks $853,000 in damages from the University of Michigan, partly because of the mental anguish he suffered because he got a “D” grade in German when he expected an “A.” A prisoner escaped, and when captured he sued the sheriff and guards for $1 million for letting him escape, because he had extra time added to his sentence. A mother sued officials for $500,000 for preventing her from breast-feeding her baby beside a community wading pool. A young man sued his parents for $350,000, charging that they did not rear him properly and now he can’t fit into society. Parents sued when their girl broke her finger trying to catch a pop fly in a school softball game, claiming that the instructor failed to teach her how to catch properly.
Experts contend that “the specter of litigation is sapping productivity, creativity and human trust, creating ‘a fear to act’ in many segments of society.” Also, it is felt that these suits will further erode the personal relationships and institutions that have helped to hold society together.
Thus, people wish to do as they please, but want others to take care of the consequences. They want to sow folly and wild oats, but let others reap the resulting problems. This is me-ism’s mandate. Everyone is its victim.