I’ll start with a hint: when a puppy pees on your favorite chair, you teach it through reinforcement that this is not acceptable. When I screw up at work, I get a good talking to or even, perhaps, a suspension. Or I get fired.
Reinforcement is a component to any sort of moral or just means of assessing and promoting behavior. Yet it seems that in this country we’re marching further and further away from any concept of justice or fairness based on inherent being of humanity and further toward the linking of morality and economy. Think of it this way: for years we’ve all heard the silly idea that one cannot be moral without believing in a God. The argument goes that without a neo-Platonic concept of ultimate good and ultimate right, humans languish into relativistic ideas of morality without basis in prevailing ideas and concepts of morality. Well, the counter-argument is simple in that morality is evolving, changing and always striving to be a collective means of viewing actions, thoughts and speech within a larger exchange of ideas and reinforcing behavior.
Now, you see, it isn’t God we’re linking morality to, it’s money.
A recent Paul Krugman op-ed in the Times hit me pretty hard when he observed that it that
is that the crisis has spawned a whole new set of abuses, many of them illegal as well as immoral. And leading political figures are, at long last, showing some outrage. Unfortunately, this outrage is directed, not at banking abuses, but at those trying to hold banks accountable for these abuses.
Now, I’m leading to bigger conclusion, actually. Take that Vivian Schiller, former CEO of NPR, was ousted from her position not due to any wrongdoing, but because James O’Keefe effectively created a libelous, edited video. She did nothing wrong. Why was she forced to resign?
Or we can look at P. J. Crowley, the ousted former U.S. State Department spokesman who spoke out against PfC Manning’s conditions last week, who suddenly found himself resigning?
What we’re left with is that morality is as tied to money (quantity, not quality- we’re postmodernist, right?) as it ever was to God, and in the same way. It’s distressing that corporations can literally buy elections, and that having the capital to run a news station makes whatever comes out of your mouth true… in some light. And the banks. Oh the banks. You won’t see a better example of this anywhere else. Why are the banks allowed to do whatever they want to do? because they have all the money. We have reinforcement of one thing and one thing only: that money is moral currency and that if you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter how bad it is for you.