Loosing Battle to Save America: Part One


Stopping The Wreck: Professor’s Research Builds A Case That We’re Losing The Battle To Save American Society

By Bob Caylor of the News Sentinel, Fort Wayne In., November 17, 1994

Part One.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, chairman of the psychology department at Indiana University-South Bend, believes that American society as we know it is nearly a goner.

For seven years now, he’s been trying to prove it. He’s been grinding through thousands of pages of statistics, books and research studies, looking for patterns and evidence that support what many feel: Things are getting steadily worse.

Now he’s making his case.

Why now? Because he thinks we have little time to stop the decay of American society. At some point, would-be social engineers won’t be able to stop the train wreck; they’ll just be taking notes as the carnage unfolds.

“I need something that’s simple enough for people to grasp. I’m trying to introduce 250 million people standing on a railroad track to the train that’s coming..to see whether they can organize themselves in time to jump out of the way.” For now, he’s not overly optimistic.

“A rate pressing a bar will not change its behavior because of rewards or punishments unless there is a real close connection–ideally, a half second or less–to the action. I’m not so sure that human beings are any better when it comes to making decisions about the future.” The ideas at the center of his bleak theory of social decay are really pretty simple.

He says the corruption in society–murder, rape child neglect, drug addiction, child molestation, beating, robbing, and the thousand other varieties of misery–don’t spawn in a vacuum. They can spread from one person to another, like rot in a piece of fruit or flu in a crowded office.

As more and more people “catch” evil–or, as he might put it, exhibit maladaptive behaviors–the good have a harder and harder time holding their own.

Here is how he thinks it’s happening.

                             Please see Part two, to be blogged soon.

                            V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 2/10/13

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