I don't know about you, but my brain works overtime for me during the night while I'm asleep, processing problems and troubles that I have filed away as too worrisome or depressing to focus on during waking hours. Occasionally, these little threads and snatches of impressions are collected and knitted together and presented to me like a new sweater in the morning by my diligent sub-conscious, "Here, try this on. This is what you were trying to understand yesterday."
So it was this morning. I looked at the sweater and there, embroidered on the front was the word DEPRAVITY
And that was it. Yes. That is the word I was searching for yesterday.
Yesterday I was trying to understand the dynamics of the Steubenville rape case. I had read a bit about it when it broke and was pretty well versed in what has been reported as the essential facts of the case: a young girl either was lured or willingly went to a high school party where she either willingly got intoxicated or was drugged (doesn't matter which) and was subsequently carted around to various locations in an unconscious state where she was stripped, violated, raped, photographed, urinated on, and then made the subject of grotesque commentaries by the participants and bystanders who actually posted and made videos and tweets regarding that nights activities.
Let's go back to the word of the day - "Depravity". Depravity is a moral vacuum, a degradation of the moral compass, an inability to distinguish between what is commonly defined to be good and what is commonly defined to be evil. I believe that depravity is the fruit of corruption, and results from exposure to corrupt ideas or corrupt people or corrupt practices. What the conscience once recognized as wrong has been replaced with what is now accepted. This is how we end up with a group of young men who have been so indoctrinated by the the jock worship of their peers, school and town that they actually come to believe that the rules that apply to mere mortals do not apply to them and makes them capable of acts that they should have been able to recognize as being outside the boundaries of normal society.
That is, if a society has boundaries. The Steubenville jock society apparently had none. Despite the multitude of witnesses, no one was willing to speak for or protect the victim when she could not protect herself.
So much for Steubenville. But why was it resonating so much with me? What is it about this one case that bothers me so much?
By knitting the sweater with the word "Depravity" on it, my subconscious was trying to tell me that the Steubenville rape case is simply one color in a sweater with many stripes. We are all assaulted on a regular basis with values we know unquestioningly to be bad or evil being repackaged and reformulated to make them acceptable and being asserted as reasonable by people in positions of power.
The most notable recent example of a moral transgression being sanitized and popularized would have to be, of course, Torture. Once regarded as the bailiwick of despotic regimes, historical ogres, religious fanatics and sadistic criminals, it is now ok for Americans to once again use this ancient practice in order to save us all from hypothetical ticking time bombs. Fox TV and Jack Bauer explained it all to us in an exciting Tv episodic framework what a necessary tool it is in our terror fighting arsenal. Who would have imagined that getting Americans to reject modernity and embrace the Dark Ages and Torquemada would be so easy?
That big one being so palatable so quickly must give great comfort to the people engaged in the big redesign of society currently being undertaken. The goal of a society completely and utterly dominated by the desires and greed of the 1% requires for its implementation that Americans reject all their old ideas and moral boundaries as regards social justice and Rule of Law. But, no goal is too large if taken in small, incremental steps. One can eat the elephant, or the moral universe if one simply takes small bites to start.
Despite their transgressions, some companies are too big and too powerful to prosecuteI believe that every one of those assertions above is absurd and morally,ethically and logically bankrupt. But they have been uttered by our Attorney General, our President, our Houses of Congress and our Supreme Court.
Taking money fom the poor to spare the rich is "balanced"
Profit is more important than lives in our healthcare system
Unlimited dollars in politics does not corrupt politicians or the system
A little cruelty here, a little deprivation there, some winking at massive systemic fraud, some redistributing or wealth in the wrong direction, and Bob's your uncle! The whole nation becomes mini Stuebenville where the moral universe is upside down and no one speaks up for the victims. And the examples I used above are from the GOOD GUYS!! I can't even begin to comment on the values being promoted by the Bad guys except to say that the entire Ryan budget is a paen to wealth worship, social injustice and the creation of new poverty. Regressive is good.
No one ever suddenly became depraved
I would add to say that no society ever suddenly became depraved. It is an erosion, that slow drip drip against the rocks of your conscience as you watch individuals and then groups accept the unacceptable.