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Ethics and Morals in America; an Endangered Species

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In America today, there is a great divide between those who still abide by the principles of ethics and morals and those who are determined to make them irrelevant and meaningless. Ethics and morals, quite obviously, are a great hindrance to the power brokers in our government, the financial sector, and the corporate world whose sole objective is the accumulation of money and power.

Let's clearly define the terms ethics and morals and the distinction between them. Ethics and morals both relate to good versus bad or right versus wrong. Ethics involve standards or codes of behavior that have been established within a group of which a person is a member; typically in the business world, the medical profession, or the justice system.

Morals, on the other hand, involve an individual's personal conformance to a body of rules established within a society based on right versus wrong behavior. Said in a slightly different way, m orals define personal character, while ethics stress a social system in which those morals are applied.  

So in the following discussion the issues at hand can be considered to be ones involving either ethics or morals or the combination of the two.

As we examine these issues and their impact on this nation, the most obvious place to start is with the U.S. government, that part of America in which the deterioration and unraveling of the principles of ethics and morality are on display for all to see; where greed, corruption and personal interests have now completely set aside the normally accepted standards of group conduct and personal behavior that once prevailed.

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A large majority of Americans were brought up to believe that those who inhabit the Congress and the White House generally followed the principles of ethics and morality in conducting the business of this nation. How could we have been so naïve? We now know that is a fallacy and those principles of determining right versus wrong are rarely, if ever, used in making important decisions in this government.

Many of the most critical problems this country faces are not being addressed, let alone being solved, because this Congress no longer follows these principles. This body of the government and a very sizable portion of its members are so intent on pursuing and promoting the interests of those who fund their election campaigns and their own that the thought of adhering to these principles never enters their minds.

So as a result of this absence of ethical and moral considerations in congressional deliberations what we are seeing is a massive deliberate misappropriation of taxpayer dollars in which:

*Hundreds of billions of dollars are appropriated for the giant defense industry and the proliferation of senseless wars while, at the same time, there is a deep set resistance to funding job creation, so badly needed by millions of Americans who desperately need work.

*Hundreds of billions of dollars went into the TARP bailout of Wall Street that also included foreign banks, but the necessary funding for rebuilding our national infrastructure, which would create millions of new jobs, has been given no major priority.

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*Egypt has received an average of $2 billion in U.S. aid since 1979, most of it going to its military. These taxpayer dollars would better be used to fund our rapidly deteriorating system of education.

*Israel received $3.4 billions of aid in 2013 while all efforts to increase the minimum wage for American workers are regularly defeated.

*The highly profitable oil corporations receive billions in subsidies while Congress cuts billions from the Food Stamp program.

The conduct and behavior of this Congress can only be described as appalling and deplorable. An increasing portion of its members are a disgrace to this country and should be subjected to the scorn and derision of the American people for the unmitigated damage that they are inflicting upon it.

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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense (more...)
 

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When we think about this nation's most critical ... by michael payne on Thursday, Jan 2, 2014 at 10:53:36 AM
These are all the reasons things don't work out f... by Pal Palsimon on Saturday, Jan 4, 2014 at 2:09:15 AM
Reminds me of Thomas Wolfe's prophetic vision of,... by Charles Roll on Sunday, Jan 5, 2014 at 3:02:43 AM
Oh certainly I agree with your argument. Sometimes... by Pal Palsimon on Monday, Jan 6, 2014 at 12:53:32 AM
I didn't mean to criticize your writing, or to arg... by Charles Roll on Monday, Jan 6, 2014 at 6:57:19 AM
Sad aspect of this is no one has the time to real... by James Tennier on Thursday, Jan 2, 2014 at 1:53:59 PM
An Alternative to Capitalism (since we canno... by John Steinsvold on Thursday, Jan 2, 2014 at 2:46:58 PM
John: I tried the link and it didn't work; the me... by michael payne on Thursday, Jan 2, 2014 at 3:53:06 PM
I got John Steinsvolds article searching Duckduck... by Stephen Zimmett on Thursday, Jan 2, 2014 at 4:29:49 PM
What occurs to me in the Thatcher vein is the (in... by Charles Roll on Friday, Jan 3, 2014 at 1:38:49 PM
Gee, Michael, your fair-minded disposition will i... by Robert S. Becker on Thursday, Jan 2, 2014 at 2:56:12 PM
Robert: The reason I used extinct is because, as ... by michael payne on Thursday, Jan 2, 2014 at 3:51:33 PM
Is this how you see the vast majority acting? &nb... by Robert S. Becker on Thursday, Jan 2, 2014 at 4:55:43 PM
I guess I still feel that most Americans are basi... by michael payne on Thursday, Jan 2, 2014 at 5:31:08 PM
I am not trying to be a smart aleck here, but whe... by Mark Whittington on Thursday, Jan 2, 2014 at 5:18:11 PM
I certainly don't have all the answers relative t... by michael payne on Thursday, Jan 2, 2014 at 6:30:34 PM
Do you expect anyone but a great moral philosophe... by Robert S. Becker on Thursday, Jan 2, 2014 at 7:44:22 PM
I appreciate and respect your responses. In my ey... by Mark Whittington on Thursday, Jan 2, 2014 at 9:48:33 PM
Your reference to "liberalism" is too vague and t... by Robert S. Becker on Friday, Jan 3, 2014 at 10:10:47 AM
Personally I think any person who defies the Golde... by Pal Palsimon on Saturday, Jan 4, 2014 at 2:18:55 AM
The challenge facing not only ourselves, our count... by R. A. Landbeck on Friday, Jan 3, 2014 at 7:14:31 AM
I'm not complaining that the work isn't worth it,... by Charles Roll on Friday, Jan 3, 2014 at 1:25:10 PM
I agree with your excellent, cogent and self-expl... by Charles Blaisdell on Friday, Jan 3, 2014 at 11:19:51 PM
I wonder how many people on this blog are doing s... by Pal Palsimon on Saturday, Jan 4, 2014 at 2:23:21 AM
"In America today, there is a great divide betwee... by Charles Roll on Saturday, Jan 4, 2014 at 4:49:29 AM
Now I would like to consider, as an example, th... by Charles Roll on Saturday, Jan 4, 2014 at 4:54:21 AM
From wikipedia article, 'Enron scandal' -Enron sh... by Charles Roll on Saturday, Jan 4, 2014 at 5:03:32 AM
Outstanding analysis! VERY. Should have been an ar... by Pal Palsimon on Monday, Jan 6, 2014 at 1:02:08 AM
Thanks very much for reading my comments! I spent ... by Charles Roll on Monday, Jan 6, 2014 at 7:56:22 AM
The depths of the depravity of the militarist-fas... by Charles Roll on Monday, Jan 6, 2014 at 8:11:56 AM