Views from the Right column: Is any social change progress?

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Conservatives are accused of wanting to return America to minority discrimination, white male supremacy, female reproductive enslavement, unequal opportunities and hypocritical Judeo-Christian moral tyranny. Please.

Many simply think that discarding some social norms for the sake of "progress" has produced less male-female relationship stability, less community cohesion, fewer children raised with two parents and more rejection of the Ten Commandments as rules for harmonious living.

Today's progressive America yields social and moral chaos, confusion and division with, unlike in the 1960s, few valid moral grievances. The consequence is young people anxious about the future and poorly prepared for adulthood.

Despite hair raising external threats, many of us who grew up in the 1950s were shown an illuminated path toward a fulfilling future. When we veered off and didn't like the consequences, we could retrace our steps. Today's youth seem to meander with no compass.

Call them rules or advice, we oldsters—regardless of color or ethnicity—learned:

• Don't do what feels good if it might harm you or others. Delay self gratification to reach more important goals. Don't have sex or children before marriage and don't do either without the education or skills to support yourself and a family. Follow through on commitments.

• Don't borrow what you can't return or pay back. Don't desire or take what doesn't belong to you—money, goods, real estate, privacy, or significant others. Don't do to or for others what you don't want others to do to or for you.

• Don't blame circumstances or others for your bad choices. Admit your mistakes and poor judgment. Accept consequences with courage and learn from them. Trust must be earned, not expected. Forgiving is not forgetting.

• Life isn't always fair. Disappointment isn't fatal. No one wins all the time. Failure can build resilience. Envy, jealousy and resentment hurt only self. Never tolerate the intolerable.

• Don't stop trying to improve. Achievement is good for the soul. Love, kindness and generosity are better. Think for yourself but examine others' experiences. With freedom comes responsibility.

Not all adults practiced what they preached or provided us with guidance. But when some failed, others often filled the void. Parents, teachers, religious leaders, writers and media producers promoted the ideal life, even if their personal paths ended far short.

Hypocrisy in those we respected could be devastating, but many of us living in less than ideal families found comfort in knowing exactly what society expected of us. Some of us rebelled. Most of us didn't.

We view today's sexual behavior, for example, as a race through minefields instead of a stroll toward respectful exploration. Pleasure, not intimacy or commitment, is the goal. Exposing nakedness on social media to strangers is acceptable. Self gratification and voyeurism are natural. Viewing pornography and hooking up with many casual partners of either sex are normal. Sexually transmitted diseases are no worry. Abstinence is unnatural. Abortion is simply birth control. Cohabitation is respectable.

The results? Over 40 percent of American marriages end in divorce; a similar percentage of children are born outside of marriage; 25 percent of children grow up without fathers; only half of cohabiting couples marry; more children from broken families fail to graduate from high school or achieve academic standards; adults without life skills often rely on crime or government subsidies to compensate for deficits; in 45 years, over 60 million pregnancies have been deliberately ended.

To many conservatives, these and other Western social trends—chronic poverty and welfare dependency, drug abuse, declining participation in organized religion, falling academic achievement, fewer faith based adoption agencies—are anything but progressive. It's time to resurrect some old fashioned values and admit that our children and society are suffering without them.