Honesty is the Best Policy

We live in an alien world these days. The one I grew up in was far different from the one we’re experiencing today. As a child, I was raised with certain ideas that were universally accepted by American society as an ideology we should all be striving for. The United States has been the beacon of hope for the world for nearly two centuries, primarily because of the views we have on individual liberty and the fact that we genuinely believe that everyone is equal. If you come to America, your expectation is that you have the same chance as anyone else to create a successful life for yourself and your family.

Somewhere along the way, however, our clean view of the world has been corrupted by a growing segment of the population who believes that the truth doesn’t matter as long as it brings profit of some kind. I’m not just talking about big corporations who greedily extract from others to accumulate their own personal wealth at the expense of the less well off. A large part of the issues in our society come from the fact that people just aren’t honest anymore. The moral framework upon which our nation was founded has eroded away and the rate of decay appears to only be increasing.

You need only look at the average relationship to get a good idea of what I’m talking about. Husbands have always snuck around having relationships with multiple women, but it used to be socially frowned upon. It was even worse for women. Females who “slept around” were shunned by the mainstream, which had the effect of helping to keep that behavior under control because most women valued their reputation over the brief pleasure they got from a seedy tryst. There used to be real consequences for acting outside of a truly moral code of conduct.

Today, however, people are proud of their misbehavior, extoling it as a more progressive way of living our lives. Commitment to one person is no longer viewed as the end goal of a relationship. Personal pleasure and satisfaction are the primary goals in relationships today, and a growing number of people are willing to stop at nothing to get what they want. Our society now celebrates misbehavior as progressivism, casting off the “old ways” in favor of a moral code that places change ahead of what is best for us.

The same holds true in the business world, and we are all guilty of participating in it whether we like to think about it or not. As jobs have moved overseas to cut down on production costs, we have become accustomed to cheap, quality goods that make our lives better. However, businesses never tell us and we actively ignore the fact that these goods are generally produced in countries where labor is so cheap that the population is just barely surviving. We live our lavish lives at the expense of others.

Even if we ignore the practical slavery we exert on others, how many of us have cheated to get what we want, whether it be from an individual or a business or even a government organization? Our modern welfare system is practically built on fraud, with millions of people living parasitically off of free money from charitable organizations or government programs. The government itself is stealing from our futures with the way it spends money now at the expense of the future. No one is willing to stop it because both sides are benefitting in the short term, and everyone hopes that someone else will have to deal with the fallout.

Our media is the worst of this trend toward dishonest behavior. It used to be that news organizations were the most trusted and respected sources of information in the world, and the unscrupulous people of the world were terrified any time a reporter came snooping around looking for a story. Now the media is complicit in the lies we’re fed every day as they maneuver to control the average person into voting the way they want or submitting to the ideologies they believe in, or even simply blatantly lying in vain attempts to increase their own viewership.

The problem with this path we’re going down is that it works like just about everything else in life. Most things we do have to pathways: an easy way and a hard way. The easy way almost always provides a certain limited reward up front, with diminishing returns as we continue forward with that method because it doesn’t put anything back into the system. It is a system of consumption rather than investment. When all you do is take without replenishing the pool, you eventually run out of resources.

This is why America did so much better back when we did things the hard way. Investment is the key to the future, and you can only truly be invested when you are honestly participating in whatever system you are investing in. Whether it’s a relationship with another person, business with the public, or the conveyance of information so people can decide for themselves, it is only when we honestly invest in what we are doing that we create something that is sustainable for the future. Anything else is doomed to fall apart.

We are slowly seeing a shift of the pendulum back toward a more honest way of living, but the question has become whether it is too late to fix things. As the corruption of our nation at all levels has become evident, many people are struggling to scour it from what has been the greatest nation to ever exist. I believe this country can still be saved if enough honest people step forward and bring back the consequences of the past. Not the barbarism, but the moral compass.

History has shown us more than once that societies decay when morals are discarded, so let’s learn the lessons of the past by going back to the old ways of thinking. It’s what made our country great and it’s what will continue to make it flourish in the future.

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