Why oh why do folks today like to place their 21st century morals and values on those from the past?
Why oh why do they insist that those who lived long ago were every bit as raunchy and rude as so many in our modern society?
Now, before you start clobbering me about how I have blinders on, how they really were as crude then as many are now, please understand that I realize that pre-marital sex, obscene language, rape, and many other ills did exist in the "olden days."
It just wasn't nearly as prominent and open and, dare I say, accepted as it is today. Here in 2008, anything goes: if it feels good, do it. Just turn the channel! Oh, just give them a condom in the 6th grade - they're going to do it anyhow! 1st ammendment says I can say anything I want whenever and wherever I please. Hey! They didn't tell me the coffee was this hot - I'll sue!
Need I go on?
First of all, please understand that, per capita, there was much less pre-marital sex in the mid-19th century than today. Because of journals and diaries and birth records (for children born out of wedlock), we know this to be true. I have yet to find proof of the opposite. Yes, I know that amongst the men in the military VD was fairly prominent. But, that's just the men in the military. Men only around other men and no females about. At all. This is, after all, the 'old school' military when women could not join. Except for an officer's wife, a laundress, or one of the ladies that snuck into camp to give the men "pleasure," a female would have been a rarity. Naturally, upon seeing a woman after quite a while without seeing one would get any man excited.
And on the homefront, people worked from 12 to 14 hours a day, six to seven days a week, plus church (yes, church!) and family and visiting on Sundays. When would they have had time for extra-marital affairs?
But, the new "alternative" historian (I swear I saw someone with this as his bi-line on the History Channel!) would have you believe otherwise.
All that I can say is show me the proof. Real proof.
Folks today also do not take responsibility for their own actions - the woman who successfully sued MacDonalds because she didn't know their coffee was HOT is a prime example of the stupidity of many in this modern day and age.
It's HOT coffee, and is advertised as such. Not warm. HOT! Let's think about this. Hot means hot. Oh! But not that hot, right? No - hot means hot! Look it up in the dictionary.
Language abuse. Does anyone know what the 1st Amendment concerning freedom of speech really means? Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
There - that is the full text of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Besides proving the myth of separation of church and state to be wrong and a lie, it also tells us that we have a right to freedom of speech. But, do you believe that (A) in an age (colonial and Victorian) where openly saying what was considered foul language in public could get one put in the stocks or in prison, our forefathers meant for this amendment to protect the right of one who spews obsenities every other word? Or do you think that maybe - just maybe - (B) they wanted us as Americans to be able to speak out against our government without fear or retribution? Hmmm...no brainer.
Unfortunately, there are those who feel A is the correct answer. I wish these mis-guided folks would study up on their history, especially their social history. They would then understand what our forefathers truly meant. Here is a quote from Thomas Jefferson, our third president, in a letter written to William Johnson in 1823 (taken from the book Thomas Jefferson: Writings Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters): “On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”
I am pretty sure we all know the probable reason this freedom of speech amendment was written.
By the way, "blue" language was considered a crime until the late 1960's or early 1970's.
When I hear people - especially so-called alternative historians (alternative / revisionist: same difference) - express the opinion that our morals are no different from the average citizen making a living in past centuries, I say, "show me the proof!" I can show you (and already have) my proof.
Just as I thought. They can't.
I really believe that in this everything goes society in which we live in today that we are not only harming ourselves with this attitude, but future generations to come. Our society has been sliding down hill "like a snowball headed for hell" (as the country song goes), and no president or whoever that says they're for change is going to stop it.
We are the only ones that can stop it.
I pray that we do.
The answers really do lay in the past.