The post-secular world is seeing government stepping back from social justice and its associated services, instead providing funding contracts for non-government organisations to provide things such as emergency relief, advocacy and inclusion. This appears to me as more abdication than delegation where capitalism can be viewed as a dominant power at the expense of human decency, responsibility and a discerning nature. There is certainly something to be said about the Buddhist philosophy of impermanence; that car, that gadget, that house – they will all become something else one day. And so will you. In the meantime humankind continue consuming at increased rates while the State chooses not to exercise any more power over business than is absolutely necessary. In some respects they are right – business needs to be viable and free to make its own way. Consequences, however, include individuals being exploited for corporate financial gain in manners ranging from reckless to immoral. Today, in this global artificial food chain, we are defined as consumers – otherwise known as prey – and big business is nurturing iGen1 as we watch.
Where do the corporate moral compasses come from in a first world society that apparently values the dollar more than humanity itself? Government has been slowly withdrawing from moral justice, and religion has shown its absence by corporatisation of its own ilk. More importantly, where are our personal compasses? My children have lessons on ‘values’ at school that including the moral reproachfulness of ‘child soldiering’ in third world countries. In the meantime their best friend is growing up thinking that domestic violence2 is at best none of their business or at worst, normal. I know what is more important and it starts with the immediacy of teaching my children to be decent human beings. In a world where few are ‘brave’ enough to teach iGen how to construct a personal moral framework – let alone insist on personal responsibility – the work we do as parents is incredibly important, inclusive of modelling behaviour.
Do we wish a future where the source of values sees my 6 year old daughter having a ball painting her hands red in apparent solidarity with 300,000 child soldiers3 in places she cannot begin to comprehend, fighting for political fortunes than she cannot possibly conceive? Are future generations doomed to receive moral teaching by reading the passing parade of cliched quotes on Facebook spouted by a privileged celebrity minority whose existence is situated in fame and fortune? Will my daughter’s generation be abandoned to corporate predators who deliver a new slavery via CGI or celebrities whose claim to puppetdom exceeds that of Yoda?
I do not see the Golden Rule anywhere in this meme – and nor does the future.
1 iGen = the current generation characterised by an attitude of “I don’t care about you, it’s all about me.”
2 1 in 4 Australian children witness domestic and family violence in the home and 1 in 3 young people who have a boyfriend or girlfriend experience violence and abuse in that relationship (see http://www.hurt.net.au/dfv.htm)
3 300,000 children in 30 countries (see http://www.unicef.org/emerg/files/childsoldiers.pdf)