Honest Thoughts on Dishonesty: Guest Blog by B. Goodman

Submitted by mdangel1 on

Like most of you, I have worked hard for many years to make a living. I have always paid my taxes in full; I have always repaid my loans in full; I have never asked or received government help to pay my bills.

Are we honest citizens a vanishing breed?

What do we hear in the news? Vastly rich people devise schemes to avoid paying taxes. The government wants to forgive billions of dollars of student loans, but of course, not a penny for those like us who have actually repaid our loans at great sacrifice. Radio commercials assure people who owe a lot of back taxes to the IRS that they can arrange to have most of the back taxes forgiven by the government.

What about the “good guys” who actually pay taxes in full and on time? What about all the “good guys” who repay loans promptly and fully out of a sense of personal responsibility?

Of course, good citizens do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. They don’t ask for or receive undue benefits or government handouts. But good citizens don’t want to feel like suckers either!

The problem isn’t only the tax and loan dodgers. It’s also the criminals.

People work hard and sacrifice much in order to operate their stores and businesses. But criminals prefer to take short cuts. Instead of working for an honest living, they break into stores and rob money and merchandise. They mug people on the street. They grab cell phones, jewelry, computers, cash. They run scams to defraud others of their hard-earned money. While some of the culprits get caught by the police, enough get away to give incentive to other would-be thieves. They figure:  Why work for a living if you can steal someone else’s livelihood?

While people can point to a variety of problems that contribute to the implosion of our society, one of the main factors is the loss of sense of personal honesty and responsibility. For many people it has become okay to lie, cheat, steal, or exploit others. They think it’s okay to take what isn’t theirs, to avoid paying taxes and loans, to shirk civic responsibility.

Some think that the problem can only be solved by the government, by having more police, by imposing stiffer penalties and punishments in the court system…and all these things may be true. But the core of the problem is in our own homes and schools. What moral values are being imparted to our children? What moral example is being set by parents? What moral values are being taught in our schools?

When there is a breakdown in personal morality, this leads to a breakdown in societal morality. When homes are morally bankrupt, what can be expected of children who grow up in them? When society at large has lost its moral compass, what can we expect other than the thievery and immorality that is infecting our world?

The American Dream used to be about working hard, exerting personal effort, striving to achieve one’s best. But that Dream is being undermined by those who shirk personal responsibility, who prefer to cheat or steal or defraud rather than to work.

President Kennedy famously stated: Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. I suppose the first thing we can do is be honest, trustworthy and responsible citizens who maintain honest, trustworthy and responsible families. We can call on our political, communal and intellectual leaders to do their part in promoting a moral, honest and responsible society. 

Until the moral climate changes for the better, the fabric of our society as a whole will get worse.

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