Excerpt from Luce's essay "Is the New Morality Destroying America?"

By Clare Boothe Luce
(Excerpt from The Human Life Review, Summer 1978)

It is true that different cultures, countries, civilizations and religions have placed more emphasis on one... moral principle... than on another. For example, the early Romans stressed duty and courage far more than kindness or compassion. In contrast, the Judeo-Christian culture has always placed its heaviest stress on kindness and compassion. However, history tells us of no civilization whose great religious leaders, philosophers, or thinkers have advocated a morality based on what the individual wanted to do, or extolled a set of principles which included lying, dishonesty, dereliction of duty, irresponsibility, cowardice or cruelty.

But what history does tell us is that when the majority of the people begin to abandon their version of the universal morality, their society sooner or later begins to collapse, and is eventually destroyed. Unfortunately in America today there are many individuals who have renounced traditional morality for what has come to be called "relative morality" or "situational ethics." ("It may be wrong in general, but my situation is different, so for me it's right.")

There are many signs that the concepts of individual morality are growing weaker in American life. Surveys show that one-third of American college students will cheat if they think they won't be caught. Sociologists note the extraordinary increase in sharp business practices, dishonest advertising, juggled books and accounts, concealment of profits, and bribe-taking and giving -- all of which victimize the buying public. Unethical practices in the medical and legal professions are also becoming common...

On examination, the new morality turns out to be the old morality of history's decadent civilizations. And wherever the old morality prevailed, the family was weakened and the structure of the society finally collapsed.

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