What Really Ails America

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In his article, “What Really Ails America,” author William J. Bennett presents his argument as to why America is now viewed as a country that no longer possesses a virtuous, morally sound society. According to Bennett, this change in society was brought about by an aversion to spiritual and religious things. This lack of spirituality and religion has skewed the perception of what is now considered to be ethical in this country. Bennett not only makes note of the issues, but also goes on to explain why this is happening in society, and what can be done to get back on track. Although he is accurate in noting that America is indeed a “society in decline” in terms of morals, the idea that full blame is to be placed on a lack of spiritual beliefs is deficient. A major cause of this societal decline is that there has been a failure to enforce disciplinary measures. Children who are disciplined grow up with a better sense of what is right and wrong, and eventually they will grow up to respect authority and rules. However, children who are not disciplined will grow up with no real respect for authority or what is right and wrong. Following rules is important at school and kids who have received discipline at home as toddlers are willing to follow school rules and understand the repercussions if they don’t. Bennett notes that back in 1940, a teacher’s biggest problem with students would have been something as minor and insignificant as “talking out of turn” or chewing gum in class. In today’s society, there are much bigger issues at hand in America’s school systems: teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, rape, and assault. Why is it that children see these things as permissible behavior? It is because those individuals who have no respect for authority frequently break the rules. They are accustomed to causing trouble and end up with all kinds of problems as a result. This could be problems with the police, problems maintaining employment, and more. Many children...
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