I've come to believe that the current moral turmoil in our society are the result of a fundamental shift in transcendence (that being the thing beyond and above us which sets standards for life). As the result of enlightenment thinkers like Kant and later American influencers like Whitman, we have a war of ideologies. Kant declared that is is man's brain, his own ability to reason, which is the highest standard. We call this materialistic rationalism. There is nothing beyond that which we can see or perceive, and our ability to make rational judgement is itself that which makes us valuable as humans. It is no longer the image of God stamped on us that gives humans dignity, but our ability to make rational judgments. Whitman carried it further. We are all "leaves of grass," individuals whose transcendence goes no further than our own reason.
Now, government has a problem. How do you manage a population of individuals no longer self-controlled by a Judeo-Christian moral standard? In The Republic, Plato wrote, "tyranny naturally arises out of democracy." Why? With democracy there is freedom, "And where freedom is, the individual is clearly able to order for himself his own life as he pleases." With no moral standard which binds a nation together in common principles, the end of freedom is anarchy: "democracy...is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder." Yet, humanity will not tolerate anarchy. Chaos is one of five universal fears of humans. To avoid chaos, we give away our freedoms. In the case of the United States, we give freedoms to the tyranny of government legislation, which poses tighter and tighter restrictions on our actions.
Perhaps it is wrong to say we give freedoms away. They are taken from us by government, and by and large we the people seem completely unaware, being placated by consumerism and swayed by the compelling and entertaining media.
Please express your thoughts. I intend to use this as a backdrop to explore some of the "issues" which are currently in the national discussion (abortion, same-sex marriage, etc).