1928 – Bob on the evolution of right and wrong

Ethics/morality/right-and-wrong are in a constant state of fluidity. What’s wrong yesterday is right today; What’s right yesterday is wrong today. Who knows what’ll be right and wrong tomorrow? Just in my lifetime, I’ve seen these changes:

1. My first job, back in 1972, I remember the bosses pinching their secretaries’ bottoms. You can go to jail now.

2. An unwed pregnant woman was ostracized and the kid was called a bastard. Doesn’t happen now.

3. Being gay was a criminal offense. It’s pretty much out in the open now.

4. Ponzi schemes weren’t illegal. They are now.

5. Eisenhower had a mistress while in the White House. Getting serviced by a fat chick and you lie about it, can get you impeached.

6. Possession of pot was a huge criminal offense back in my teenage days. It’s a misdemeanor now.

7. “Spare the rod and spoil the hammer” was a parenting mantra. Now it’s child abuse.

8. As long as you didn’t go overboard, drinking and driving was no big deal. A couple of drinks now lands you in the pokey.

9. Almost all countries had capital punishment. Many states have outlawed it.

10. We used to not care so much about illegal aliens. Some want to build an electric fence on the border.

In 1918, my 43-year old with two small kids grandfather was drafted. Wouldn’t happen now. Check out how many of the original 13 states allowed slavery in 1776. You got into debt and couldn’t pay your bills? You went to jail. We put children to work six days a week. We didn’t allow women to vote or own property. The list is long of ethics which have changed over the years. And it will continue to do so.

Eventually, we’ll figure out the “right or wrong”-ness of abortion. 100 years from now, someone is going to say either “100 years ago people knew it was wrong to kill unborn children” or “100 years ago people knew it was wrong to deny women a choice”. Either way, they are going to be wrong, because as of today we haven’t decided.

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