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The UK is in moral decline

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.
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Moonbeam
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The UK is in moral decline

#1 Post by Moonbeam » September 8th, 2007, 1:20 am

Did everyone see the the report about the survey which indicates that four out of five people believe the UK is in moral decline?
It found that people aged 16 to 24 were more likely than those in older age groups to agree that religion had a key role to play in guiding the nation's morals.
Surely shome mistake here? I would have expected the older generation to think this rather than the youth.

Chineapple punk
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#2 Post by Chineapple punk » September 8th, 2007, 11:17 am

I've just visited the "Have Your Say" forum at the BBC News Home Page in relation to this article. It's full of the usual extreme right wing reactionary comments. I must say that I didn't believe some of their findings for a minute but when I visited the forum I began to wonder. Check it out if you get a chance everyone. Quite a few of the old tired arguments about how there is no morality without religion are doing the rounds.

Did you read some of the comments Beam? I'm seething at the minute. Quite a few secularists and atheists appear to have made some posts though.
Give quiche a chance.

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whitecraw
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#3 Post by whitecraw » September 8th, 2007, 9:43 pm

I think many younger people closely associate religion with moralism, which is what springs to mind (other people telling them how they should live their lives) when they hear the word 'morality'.

Also, I reckon that if you conducted a poll at any point in history, 80% of folk would say that society is in moral decline. It's a recurring complaint.

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Lifelinking
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#4 Post by Lifelinking » September 8th, 2007, 9:57 pm

There is a very interesting and entertaining wee book called 'Hooligan - A History of Respectable Fears' by Geoffrey Pearson that covers this aspect of history very well.


L
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

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Alan H
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#5 Post by Alan H » September 8th, 2007, 10:06 pm

whitecraw wrote:Also, I reckon that if you conducted a poll at any point in history, 80% of folk would say that society is in moral decline. It's a recurring complaint.
I suspect that's right - any research been done on it?

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Lifelinking
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#6 Post by Lifelinking » September 8th, 2007, 10:40 pm

Geoff Pearson's book is well researched and properly referenced.
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

Firebrand
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#7 Post by Firebrand » September 9th, 2007, 2:04 pm

The survey doesn't seem very large - only 1,000 people - nor does the report tell us very much. Moral standards are falling since when? Is there supposed to have been some golden era when everyone was a lot more 'moral' than they are now? What do they mean by moral standards, anyway?

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#8 Post by Nick » September 10th, 2007, 11:05 am

All the potential girlfriends I meet, have morals way too high :sad:

Either that, or sound judgement.

Beki
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#9 Post by Beki » September 10th, 2007, 2:35 pm

I am not surprised, but very saddened when I hear of reports like this. I spent this weekend with my papa who, at the age of 87 is still as bright as a button. When he was ten, his dad died and he had to leave school to earn money for the family. Despite the fact that he was extremely intelligent, in those days he did not have any way of meeting his potential as he was from a working class family. That (to me) is morally repugnant. Although it is not perfect (and it is under threat) we have better access to education for virtually all people in this country and that is a massive step forward.

Huge numbers of women in Victorian London were forced to work as prostitutes because there was NO OTHER WAY of making a living (and 'Victorian' values are held up to be the golden age??) Again, I find that morally repugnant and I would like to think that there are far fewer women (and men) who now see this as the only way that they can put food on the table.

It is no surprise that people think that the country is going to the dogs when we are bombarded with news programme after news programme about the bad things that happen every day. I have no doubt that bad things have always happened, it is just that in this communication-age, we get to hear and see all the gory details ad nauseum.

Down with the Daily Mail!! :)

Lucretius
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#10 Post by Lucretius » September 10th, 2007, 8:57 pm

Moonbeam wrote:Did everyone see the the report about the survey which indicates that four out of five people believe the UK is in moral decline?
It found that people aged 16 to 24 were more likely than those in older age groups to agree that religion had a key role to play in guiding the nation's morals.
Surely shome mistake here? I would have expected the older generation to think this rather than the youth.
4 out of 5 people are stupid so I take no notice of these polls. Am I really so cynical?
"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken

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Lifelinking
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#11 Post by Lifelinking » September 10th, 2007, 10:44 pm

you are one of the 2 out of 83 people that are indeed that cynical, and one of the 98.73% of the population who make statistics up on the spot. :nod:
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

Lucretius
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#12 Post by Lucretius » September 11th, 2007, 10:56 am

Nice to know I am not alone.
"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats." - H.L. Mencken

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Oxfordrocks
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#13 Post by Oxfordrocks » September 11th, 2007, 12:59 pm

No doubt most of the people questioned have not been in a church or had much to do with organised relegion for a very long time.

Take the findings with a pinch of salt.

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coledavis
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#14 Post by coledavis » August 21st, 2008, 12:04 am

I am not a right-winger but I do think that UK society is going to the dogs. Of course times vary and in many respects London is safer than it was in Victorian times. Having said that, if we compare our society with that of the decades immediately following the war, we can see an objective decline in standards.

Knife and gun crime: definitely up; every week (and yes, we had telly in the 60s and 70s and I'm sure the BBC would have covered it).

Media: debased. Look the coverage. Materialism, trivia and instant celebrity as the mainstay of the programming schedules, formulae done to death (it must be time to vote me off, I know) and very little of the education and information that Reith wanted to go with our entertainment.

Higher education devalued: More students pushed in with lower admission standards and less money available for HE institutions to educate them. Populist courses with an emphasis on vocationalism at the expense of intellectual endeavour.

And yes, A levels are easier. (I have been an examiner by the way.) Not the subjects and the questions asked, but the structure. As you will have read in the papers, people no longer take their exams at the end of two years study and intellectual development. They take them in modules, so they can learn up the particular topic, retaking as necessary to get the requisite grade. The drastically greater proportion of people getting A grades can not all be attributed to better teachers and students. (As for this thing about IQ grades raising year on year, I really don't know what to say, so I'll say something facetious. How come such clearly dumb Greeks - back then their IQs must have been a couple of standard deviations away from today's lofty norm - were able to come out with such philosophical thoughts. Oh sorry, forgot, philosophy's boring!)

And we are probably more superstitious now than back in the god-fearing 50s. Just say OM.

Yours, grumpy old man.
http://www.coledavis.org - insight analyst, specialist in the interpretation of surveys for charities and education

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gcb01
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#15 Post by gcb01 » August 21st, 2008, 11:38 am

Something I am concerned about but not necessarily being a symptom but perhaps a cause of moral decline (or at least change) is our increasing individual isolation. By that I mean that
- there is far more of use now travel to work by car (on our own) or working from home,
- those on public transport are increasingly isolated in their own little sound world (sometimes shared with others),
- we increasingly drink at home rather than going to the pub,
- we increasingly shop on line

I'm sure there are more examples. Are these trends weakening society?
Regards

Campbell

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coledavis
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#16 Post by coledavis » August 21st, 2008, 2:45 pm

Yes, I first thought about this when the first personal stereos were being used (Sony Walkman and the like).

Another thing: Do those who consider all these forebodings to be relative, chronologically speaking, feel utterly unconcerned about what sort of school environments their children (real or imaginary) have to learn in these days? Bullying and antischolasticism (if the latter is a word) were always a problem, but my recent work as a careers adviser has taken me to schools where the staff feel obliged to hunker down in the face of certain levels of misbehaviour. I'd rather my children, if I have them, were educated in Russia or Poland or somewhere, just not here.
http://www.coledavis.org - insight analyst, specialist in the interpretation of surveys for charities and education

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Beki
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#17 Post by Beki » August 23rd, 2008, 6:10 pm

Maybe I am just lucky (or maybe it is not luck) but here in 'the sticks' we still have quite a bit of social contact. Ok a lot of it is in the pub, which is maybe not brilliant, but it is as good focal point and a way of keeping in touch (ok - keeping up with the latest gossip).

A few years ago there was a terrible murder here in Tayport where a young girl was killed by her boyfriend (who had been moved here from the south of Fife because of threats made to him as a result of his previous history of serious sexual behaviour problems, but that is another story....)

After the initial shock, the village all banded together and raised enough money to turn a bit of wasteland into 'Karen's Garden' and so far even the young kids and teenagers have respected it enough to keep it clean and well maintained. No Buckie bottles lying about which is what I feared would happen.

There have also been other instances where the local pubs have acted as focal points for various fundraising and community efforts. I don't remember ever really having the same sense of 'community' when I lived in Glasgow - I think that was one of the reasons why I moved back up here.

If it doesn't drive you crazy living in such close proximity where everyone knows your business then it is a great place to live, you give up some things (like decent restaurants and theatre), but you still have that sense of belonging which I think is disappearing a bit with City life.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - M Ghandi

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jaywhat
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#18 Post by jaywhat » August 24th, 2008, 9:29 am

What is the connection between 'moral decline' (whatever that is) and preferring one's own company, or not taking in alcohol, or not doing everything with the neighbours, or not joining groups or not liking barbecues, or not being in any way sociable. Is all that immoral?

thomas0123
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#19 Post by thomas0123 » August 24th, 2008, 7:04 pm

Bit late to this thread just like to say that I am surprised that you are surprised that young people relate morality to religion and that the more moral you are the more religious. I am a social worker working with young offenders. The majority have been brought up with parents living on state hand outs and they have no sense of community and no family structure outside their parent(s) and siblings (no extended family). They look at other cultures living next to them but completely separate (I work in northern England so I am talking of Muslims and Sheiks) they see working families with a strong extended family group and the only thing which they see as different is faith.
Now I don’t think a strong faith automatically gives you a strong sense of morality but the young a poorly educated youth I work with see just the obvious.

para handy
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Re: The UK is in moral decline

#20 Post by para handy » August 24th, 2008, 7:23 pm

thomas0123 wrote:Bit late to this thread just like to say that I am surprised that you are surprised that young people relate morality to religion and that the more moral you are the more religious. I am a social worker working with young offenders. The majority have been brought up with parents living on state hand outs and they have no sense of community and no family structure outside their parent(s) and siblings (no extended family). They look at other cultures living next to them but completely separate (I work in northern England so I am talking of Muslims and Sheiks) they see working families with a strong extended family group and the only thing which they see as different is faith.
Now I don’t think a strong faith automatically gives you a strong sense of morality but the young a poorly educated youth I work with see just the obvious.
Thanks for that, t0123. That does make sense if you are talking about young offenders from poor families. I should think it's less true of educated, middle-class young people but I don't know.

What are Sheiks?

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