I’ve had a nagging thought for a while now, something about how our society is beginning to view risk (or lack thereof) to be a central part of morality (and how this is not a good thing). I’ve never been able to articulate it as well as I would like, which is why I was so pleased to run across this essay by Dennis Prager: Would You Rather Your Teenager Smoke Or Cheat?
Here are his opening paragraphs, I encourage you to read the whole thing: Decades of lecturing around America and of speaking with parents on my radio show have led me to an incredible conclusion: More American parents would be upset with their teenage children if they smoked a cigarette than if they cheated on a test.
How has this come about? This is, after all, an entirely new phenomenon. Almost no member of my generation (those who became teenagers in the 1960s), let alone a member of any previous generation, could ever have imagined that parents would be angrier with their teenage child for smoking than for cheating.
There has been a profound change in American values. In a nutshell, health has overtaken morality. Or, if you prefer, health has become our morality.
Read the whole essay.