Sunday, October 17, 2010


“Hand cleaning is your professional responsibility,” reads a local hospital sign. Boston Epidemiologist Donald Goldman cautions his patients not to worry about speaking up, or about “offending” their health-care provider. The more shorthanded and harried hospital personnel become, the more likely they are to forget to wash their hands. Goldman concludes that if the computer industry can institute clean rooms, “health care should do no less.”

Elaine Larson, Dean of Nursing at Georgetown University, agrees. She supports efforts among her peers and calls cleanliness a behavior problem. “We know what we’re supposed to do.”

In spite of knowing “what we’re supposed to do,” David Callahan of the Demos Public Policy Center concludes, “America is the most individualistic, hedonistic, workaholic society on earth. But, because of the sway of traditionalists, we can ‘t think straight about managing these conditions when it comes to our most important social institution, the family” (The Moral Center. Orlando: Harcourt, Inc. 2006, p 51(,

Callahan's book includes his sources, but I give only Callahan’s page number with my random quotes. He reports that “Three million teens get a sexually transmitted disease every year - that’s eight thousand new STD every day“ (p. 66).

Meanwhile, one of the big trends in magazine publishing has been the proliferation of quasi-porn magazines like FHM and Maxim that objectify women - often quite literally by surrounding scantily clad starlets with material objects that men aspire to own” (Callahan, 68). In other words, advertisers must offer scantily clad females to sell cars to males.

Regarding violence: “A child who watches two hours of cartoons a day sees nearly 10,000 violent incidents each year.” (Callahan, 98). “Violence was also found to be prevalent in 68 percent of children’s programs, and a typical hour of such programs contained fourteen violent incidents” (p 98).

Consider the home vs. corporate interests: “Parents, schools, and churches are fast losing their power to shape the values of the next generation. Instead, that power is being ceded to private actors who are motivated mainly by financial self-interest” (Callahan, p. 105).

Regarding advertising, Callahan reports, “It has been estimated that total advirtising and marketing expenditures aimed at children reached $15 billion in 2004, up from $100 million in Television advirtising spent in 1983. The average American kid sees 40,000 commercials a year. Kids are also increasingly exposed to advertising at school and in other places, such as summer camp.

As Juliet Schor has written, marketing is fundamentally altering the experience of childhood. Corporations have infiltrated the core activities and institutions of childhood, with virtually no resistance from government or parents.” [from Schor “The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture”] (Callahan, p. 105).

Regarding lawlessness: “If Americans are exceptionally resistant to social control, and therefore vulnerable to criminal temptations - it is because they live in a society that enshrines the unfettered pursuit of individual material success above all other values.” quoted from Robert Merton Social Theory and Social Structure, (Callahan, p. 121). James Truslaw Adams says “Lawlessness has been and is one of the most distinctive American Traits” (Callahan, p. 122).

If self-interest is such a great virtue and people step on each other legally all the time, how immoral can it be to step on someone illegally?” (p. 124).

Even as legislators have been busy imposing draconian standards of conduct on the poor over recent decades, they have been equally busy insuring that the wealthy are held less accountable for their bad behavior” (p/ 130).

Regarding public safety, Callahan reports, We have tougher laws and more prison cells for street crime, looser regulations and fewer investigators to police white-collar crime (p. 132).

The US rarely seeks charges for deaths in workplace - NY Times 12-22-03 (I wonder why!)

POVERTY - “… 40 percent of poor households in America are headed by a married couple, with one or both of them working.”

TAX HAVENS - Tyco saved $400 million by basing in Bermuda. Cooper Industries saves 5.5 million yearly but still gets defense contracts, Ingersoll-Rand Citigroup. Bank of America has 50 Tax havens. Pepsico has 30 tax havens (p. 220).

2002 Senator Byron Dargan found US Corps evaded 53 billion in taxes the year before via offshore subsidiaries. [cf Citizen Works - “Sacrifice Is for Suckers” (p.231).

If frequent hand washing is essential to healthy bodies, clean hearts remain essential to civil human behavior. Following his confrontation with the prophet Nathan, David sought God’s face and prayed, “create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10 KJV).

We all need clean hands and healthy bodies. Since what we do with our hands, feet, and minds, is all tied up with our hearts, it appears to me, we need some pretty thorough heart-cleaning across America, if we have a civil, safe, and spiritually healthy America.There is more to living right than being sexually chaste or not having an abortion. Treating someone unfairly is just as bad as slandering someone. Neither political party could stand for the nation to eliminate all the unethical, dishonest, corrupt and immoral politics, but we ought to give it our best shot.

From Warner’s World,
I am

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