Columns

On dignity, decency and decadence

Anthony GOMES

Wednesday, June 11, 2014    

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Former Prime Minister P J Patterson is to be commended for eloquently stating his renewed concern regarding the rapid and precipitous decline in the standard of the society's values and attitudes. which must now also include faith and morals. Referring to earlier times, he urged the urgency "for a fundamental change to arrest the declining values and negative attitudes that are becoming evident in our society... then, the growing tide of incivility, indiscipline, disorder, disrespect for each other; the fight against corruption in all its forms and the critical need to promote integrity in every facet of national endeavour".

The era of gentility and civility is finally vanishing into the mists of time, down the slippery slope of retrogression to a lifestyle driven by basic instincts. Blatant characteristics are exhibited in the modern styles of dress, along with the relegation of personal hygiene which accompanies the relaxation of traditional standards. The time-honoured adage that "cleanliness is next to godliness" also appears to be forgotten by the movement, which may have been started at the "Woodstock" festival in the 1960s. The shedding of traditional standards of behaviour, particularly personal and dress, is a universal phenomenon which is creeping into the highest echelons of Western society.

"We are at the edge of the precipice," Patterson believes, when we witness daily the appalling behaviour of some people in public places; where at some female beauty pageants and other similar festivities the bikinis worn by contestants have been miniaturised to a G-string and a "Mound of Venus" triangular patch. As time passes, bras may also be discarded, that could result with some revellers being injured in the inevitable melee with cellphone cameras clutched at the ready. Brazil is bound to cause a sensation when the ladies appear on the beach at Ipanema clad in a "tanga".

In hindsight, with the ravages of world war fading into history on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the cause of freedom and justice remain paramount goals of Western civilisation that are still sought after today amid numerous conflicts that have become more intense and widespread than ever before. Western democracy has successfully risen to a level of personal freedom previously unknown. However, the management of personal freedom by democratically elected governments has proved to be difficult, resulting in frequent excesses among the population with fatal consequences. The mantra of today's generation appears to be "too much of anything is wonderful". While the fallacy of this statement is self-evident, it reflects the mentality of this generation obsessed with the desire to abolish any restraint on the excesses of aberrant behaviour. For example: legalise ganja, legalise abortion, legalise same-sex marriages, legalise the un-natural practice of buggery, and reduce the age of consent. For Western governments to remain in power in this liberalised environment, they frequently adopt the line of least resistance, pandering to the electorate regardless of the consequences that might ensue. The use, abuse, and trafficking of drugs is one of the main drivers in fomenting the aggressive liberalisation being demanded by the electorate that is indifferent to the moral, ethical or legal consequences.

In hindsight, with the ravages of world war fading into history on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the cause of freedom and justice remain paramount goals of Western civilisation that are still sought after today amid numerous conflicts that have become more intense and widespread than ever before. Western democracy has successfully risen to a level of personal freedom previously unknown. However, the management of personal freedom by democratically elected governments has proved to be difficult, resulting in frequent excesses among the population with fatal consequences. The mantra of today's generation appears to be "too much of anything is wonderful". While the fallacy of this statement is self-evident, it reflects the mentality of this generation obsessed with the desire to abolish any restraint on the excesses of aberrant behaviour. For example: legalise ganja, legalise abortion, legalise same-sex marriages, legalise the un-natural practice of buggery, and reduce the age of consent. For Western governments to remain in power in this liberalised environment, they frequently adopt the line of least resistance, pandering to the electorate regardless of the consequences that might ensue. The use, abuse, and trafficking of drugs is one of the main drivers in fomenting the aggressive liberalisation being demanded by the electorate that is indifferent to the moral, ethical or legal consequences.

Let us consider personal appearance of men in this 21s century. The "five-o clock shadow" that describes the masculine unshaven look is now in vogue and competes for attention with the "full set" bearded appearance historically popular among older men and fashionable with the learned professors of the academic world. The "shaved cranium", now commonly exhibited by the younger generation, has migrated to senior citizens as it takes years off their older features. This style also requires only a minimum of maintenance and a very short time spent in barbershops. However, this style is vulnerable to sunburn and mosquitoes that are a nuisance.

A tragic casualty in men's dress styles has been the necktie woven or knitted out of linen, cotton or silk foulard. With the necktie's reduced prominence the open-neck collar exposing the most unattractive feature of the male neck, the Adam's Apple, that becomes progressively uglier as it protrudes further with advancing age. The relaxation of dress protocol has ushered in reduced attention to personal grooming and hygiene. This is more focused on the younger generation, but not exclusively, and is largely borne out of indolence masquerading as casualness and the "couldn't care less" attitude. Why bother to bathe when there is perfume and lotions to use as scented balms? Why worry to brush the teeth when there is chewing gum? Why brush, or style the hair when a wig will suffice?

The cumulative effect of this changing social landscape is the creation of a "scruffy" generation of individuals, with little concern for their interaction in societies which still take pride in their historical traditions, values and attitudes. The democratic pendulum has swung too far to the left in the Western world and is about to change with the resurgence of conservatism as seen in the latest European Union elections which indicates "better must come".

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