- principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
"the matter boiled down to simple morality: innocent prisoners ought to be freed"
- a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.
- the extent to which an action is right or wrong.
"behind all the arguments lies the issue of the morality of the possession of nuclear weapons"
Have you ever wondered how the normal, regular people living in Germany in the beginning of the 20th century followed and supported both the Kaiser and Hitler into brutal, terrifying wars? I'm not talking about the zealots; I mean the average citizens living average lives.
How could these people reconcile the atrocities done with their own moral code?
I wondered about this since I first learned about Hitler and the concentration camps through reading books by Corrie Ten Boom and Anne Frank. As a child, I assumed that everyone had roughly the same morals as I did, and I could not imagine standing by as people were herded into train cars.
As a young adult, I traveled to Germany and stayed with friends of my grandmother. This couple was alive during World War 2, young adults during that time, but I never got the courage to ask them what happened. I can tell you that these people welcomed me into their home, showed me around West Germany, and were kind and caring individuals.
Sadly, I think I have an answer now. It's not that the German citizens were temporarily turned into monsters, or had secret brain surgery. They simply were faced with questionable morality of their society, and their own moral spines bent.
It's the same thing that is happening in America today.
I should not say "today" as if this is a new thing. America has never had a shiny moral spine.
It started with our Independence, when our Founding Fathers compromised and allowed slavery even though the majority of them did not feel that slavery was morally correct.
Our entire country almost split into two with the Civil War, but even that did not stop discrimination against people who are not of European descent.
But racism isn't the only place where America's lack of morality shows. During Prohibition, the federal government poisoned whatever alcohol they could, with the pretense of "stopping people from drinking". But government officials knew that this would not stop anyone from drinking alcohol. They just did not care how many people died from their poisoning.
Then during World War 2, while the Nazis rounded up Jews and shipped them off to concentration camps, the American federal government rounded up people who had Japanese ancestry, and sent them off to concentration camps. To be honest, when I first heard about this, I. Was. Floored.
Because I never heard about this particular atrocity in any of my history classes.
After World War 2, McCarthyism took over during a time we now call the Second Red Scare.