Two months ago I read a column by Don Feder in the Washington Times which has stuck with me ever since. It was titled “Crisis of Character”. Here’s an excerpt:
“At the root of [our national decline] is a crisis of character. Character is one of those old-fashioned words you don’t hear much anymore, like honor and decency, both of which go into the making of character. Other aspects include honesty, diligence, and most of all a sense of personal responsibility, which is tied to the belief that we control our destiny and should act accordingly”
Feder offers sad examples of the breakdown of character: riots, retail theft – up 70% in 2022, looting, juvenile gangs assaulting motorists, a pervasive drug culture, broken families, young people with a demand for entitlement, “a generation that yawns as we slide toward the abyss while it scans its favorite dating app.”
Feder quotes our own Calvin Coolidge, who in 1924 told an audience that “the worst evil that could be inflicted upon the youth of the land would be to leave them without restraint and completely at the mercy of our uncontrolled inclinations.” Says Feder, “Coolidge was talking about character and where its absence leads.”
There are a lot of good things happening too, among young people as well as older. My concern is that the behavior of the people of poor character will drag down the ones who accept responsibility and exhibit character.