After my daily power struggle with the old witch who keeps trying to shove in front of me when getting on the number ten this morning my mind somehow wondered onto the moral decline of western civilisation. Actually, first it occured to me that I might be shockingly racist since I had such an adverse mental reaction to the lady who hopped on a stop or so later - very much your typical "skanger" woman. It got me to thinking about how in a great many ways, Dublin's inner city population are like another race to me - they differ from me in the same way as most immigrants would in that they have very different clothing styles, accents or dialects of english, dietary habbits, musical tastes and so on and while I'm not inclined to make judgements on immigrants, I immediately assume that a good portion of our own population are little more than useless wastes of skin, and this is with a good many pieces of evidence to the contrary, I've seen compassion and charity from "scumbags" that I wouldn't be capable of while many of Dublin's finest turn a blind eye and walk on past. Your classic "good samaritan" scenario really . So, if I'm going to have a go at folks for thinking they're better than someone else purely on the basis of the country of their birth I should probably get the splinter the hell out of my own eye first .
We seem to have entered an age of reason without restraint. In the past we always had Religon as a series of checks and balances for our behaviour but as is typical of humans when faced with decades, if not centuries of moral opression we've rebelled and struck out at all the values of christianity regardless of whether the values in question were for good or ill.
In a lot of ways, the church had the right ideas - no sex before marriage worked as a concept because frankly, far too many people couldn't be trusted to have the common sense to avoid pregnancy or the decency to do the right thing when it happened . Masses and masses of guilt was all that kept us behaving ourselves, like a carpet bombing of morality - sure, you might end up guilt tripping a few sensible people who don't need to be preached at but the main thing is you get the ones who lack the moral fibre to be perfect. Of course, this raises the question as to whether or not society could have evolved into something better without this interference. But as is typical with humanity, someone had to go and abuse  the power and now all the "good" ideas are lumped in with the bad. In our haste to rebel against the church we've not stopped to pick out the ideas that were worthwhile on their own merit.
So now we have a society that doesn't feel the need to answer to a higher moral authority, and governments who are following suit. We're so obsessed with our own rights that we don't stop to think that we might not be ready for them ourselves - I'm pretty sure that when freedom of speech was developed as a concept they didn't imagine a day when it would involve pictures of simulated rape being made available on the internet to anyone who wanted to see them regardless of age. I'm not saying Freedom of Speech isn't a grand and noble thing, but I think we've demonstrated that we're just not ready to use it responsibility - I think thats the problem in general, we've shed the bindings of the church and granted ourselves all these freedoms we're just not able to handle.
The other thing that occured to me this morning is that I wish folks would stop trying to argue "Intelligent design" vs Evolution - a matter of *faith*  cannot be argued rationally people, faith isn't rational, stop having the goddamned debates, the religous right have deliberately made it an unwinnable point of faith and supporters of Evolution are being caught discussing it at that level instead of at the root, separation of church and state.
Oh, that and "America - God's chosen country". Folks, theres nowhere in the bible says a country that wasn't discovered at the time was going to be God's chosen country. So either you're just making it up or you're putting words in God's mouth and that seems more than a little presumptive to me. Besides, you guys are regularly stricken by earthquakes, tornados, floods, droughts and quite possibly locusts and rivers of blood. That says "God's chosen country" to me alright, though I think he chose it to kick the bejeezus out of it. Hell, Ireland never gets that crap, maybe we're chosen too?
 For those of you not up on your parables, the samaritans were disliked by the Jews at the time, which made it all the more remarkable that the Samaritan of the story stopped to help. 
 Of course, I often think I'm better than pretty much everyone, so this is less of a problem than it might seem in terms of scale.
 Not that I'm suggesting we all have to get married, I always figured it should read as "No sex before you're *older*"
 By "abuse" I mean "open the magdalene laundries, abuse children, embezel church funds, act like complete and total hypocrites and use their position of moral authority to get away with immoral acts"
 I'm not saying I buy into all this God and Jesus stuff, but as a set of checks and balances for the human psyche they weren't the worst ever.
 Faith in some passages in the Bible, not just plain old "I made this up and I believe it" faith. You gotta bear in mind that its in the bible.