It’s been said  that the average guy on the street these days has a higher moral standard than our founding fathers. After all,  Thomas Jefferson, who was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, owned slaves. Even later leaders, whom we associate with liberty and equality, were, at best, bigots. Abraham Lincoln, for example, supported the Corwin amendment before he was elected president. The Corwin amendment would have amended the constitution to prohibit the federal government from banning slavery. Lincoln believed his race was superior. He did not want freed slaves moving into the north. He wanted to either send them back to Africa or start a colony for them in central america.

Now we all (ok, most of us) know how wrong the demigods of our civic religion were. They weren’t stupid, so one can only conclude that the world in which they lived shaped their mindset in a way that left major blindspots in their moral perspective. The human tendency toward cognitive bias is an ever present obstacle to better understanding.

So if America’s great prophets could not see what now seems obvious, it is reasonable for us to infer that we too have significant moral blindspots, shaped by the currently prevailing worldview into which we have grown.

What are we missing now that will be painfully obvious to future generations? Could it be how quickly we resorted to violence? How we saw killing as noble if it’s the “right” target? How our media entertained constantly with movies and tv shows about killing?  Will future generations be disgusted how we killed and ate animals? Or how we threw people in cages (jail) when they failed to engage in productive labor for the benefit of the state (taxes)? Or how we jailed people for possessing a flower bud that cures cancer? Or how submissively aquiescent we were to government imposed brutality, especially when brought to bear against someone who was “different”? Could it be that future generations will wonder why we so desperately clung to anachronistic legacy institutions? How we daily pledged adherence to a civic religion based on myths? In the immortal words of Madge, “you’re soaking in it.” If only we could know what “it” is.

You’re Soaking In It