Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Guns, Faith and Culture

February 25, 2018

Guns, Faith and Culture.

It should come as no surprise that traditional morality has declined to pitifully low levels in America. By this, I mean the traditional moral and ethical codes of conduct that are based upon the Judeo/Christian faiths and their derivations.

I have documented the decline of traditional American culture and social conduct in here my blogs since 2009, now approaching 1700 publications. I did the same as a university professor, when I changed my area of research to these matters in the 1980’s. 

There are many corrective laws and encouragements that can be promulgated by our various levels of government. Also, there are those of us who are dedicated to showcasing America’s cultural and social decline. We hope to embolden everyone to fight the forces of our undoing in all available peaceful ways. 

Yet, I struggle with one great fear. This fear is that, no matter what a secular government and an increasingly secular culture and society may do to reverse its own steady decline…nothing will work. 

My grave concern is that nothing will work because there is no compelling reason to forsake the immediate pleasures that a population’s increasingly self-centered (“selfish”) behavior most quickly and most reliably secures.

Without God, and his sacred rules of conduct, there is no compelling reason to abandon our own selfish pleasures in order to only have a chance at securing the long-term benefits to ourselves and perhaps for society at large. What is it that will motivate us all to forestall or give-up immediate rewards in order to benefit others who will succeed us in the distant future?

As a doctoral student, I was trained that there is no such thing as human nature. I now know this is false.

Humans prone to pursue their own short-term rewards. They prefer that these rewards come faster not slower and larger not smaller. They also prefer that they come on a thicker schedule of occurrence,  that they come with greater convenience and less pain.

Humans also love to control the odds that their rewards will become bigger and faster, etc., and that means that they will strive to control their physical, social, political and geopolitical environs. Humans are prone to use their powers to reward, hurt or kill others to achieve these ends.

Unless there is some powerful counter-controlling force, they will use whatever methods most immediately provide these things that  human animals tend naturally covet.

Within any society, it takes a mighty powerful generally accepted  belief system to motivate its inhabitants to conduct themselves accordingly and to acculturate their children to do likewise.

Historically, mighty powerful belief systems have come in the form of a society’s chosen God, who must be obeyed in order that individuals and their society can gain favor and avoid a myriad of  terrifying cataclysmic events.

Often this Godly influence has been augmented by political leaders, kings, or dictators who use their God’s rules to control their population through the threat of slavery, banishment, imprisonment or execution. Many kings and dictators have even commandeered the status of a God in order further enhance their mighty powerful control of their subject’s beliefs and behavior patterns.

Since the Founding of America, a particularly pro-social and peaceful God has shaped the development of the United States. The attendant belief system is composed of Judeo/Christian precepts and rules for personal conduct defined good and evil behaviors for the worshiping majority of Americans.

Secular forces and political leftists  have relentlessly attacked this undeniable truth and have increasingly lied and propagandized to impose their own religion upon America. This failed religion is secular humanism and its “god” is humanity itself.

Though it has lost much of its power, the Judeo/Christian God-Based belief system has been so interwoven into the fabric of American culture, that it was also woven into the fabric of its Constitutionally based Representative Republic Government.

This assertion is incontrovertible. I hope you will read one, or both of the following two books to understand the undeniable true font of America’s Greatness.

1. Rediscovering God in America, by Newt Gingrich

2. One Nation Under God, by  David Gibbs with Jerry Newcombe

America’s Founding religious beliefs guaranteed HUGE fairly immediate and also deferred spiritual CONSEQUENCES for engaging in good or evil (bad) behaviors during one’s lifetime. Believers were promised the love and favor of God during their life-times. Also, huge delayed consequences were promised, heaven if one will believe and follow the Ten Commandments; hell if one did not. A strong belief in the personal and social advantages of God exerts, both then and now, strong peaceful and pro-social influences over human behavior.

Even if a strong belief in God begins to fade for the reasons stated above, the behavior patterns learned under this Godly belief system can persist for a time with some strength. 

But for the generations that follow, without the sustaining religious belief system that sustains good behaviors and reduces bad population acts…the rate of selfish, short-sighted, hedonistic and corrupt behavior will increase with each successive generation.

This, I believe, is what we are witnessing in America and all around the developing world. The common denominator of these trends appears to be the growth of science-based beliefs and technologies that bolster human’s confidence in the their own ability to increasingly control their environments and other important events in their daily lives.

The majority of us appear to love science-based modern technologies and the amazing advantages and conveniences that we enjoy.

Sadly, these technological “gifts”  appear to be powerfully undermining the moral/ethical behavior of America.

The the thing I fear the most is that it is the proliferation of science-based technologies that have led to the growth of secular humanism and socialism leading to destructive forms of narcissism for leaders and extreme dependency and helplessness for followers. All of this correlating with increasing sociopathic/antisocial behavior for all.

I suspect that this self-destructive cycle has, along with other killing influences,  spelled the downfall of developing societies (a relative concept), for all time. 

All living things are born, they live for a while, and then they die. So it also has been with cultures. 

In the past I have fantasized that cultures, particularly America, can teach themselves how to live with increasing health for longer and longer intervals of time.

Now, and I hope I am wrong, my happy fantasy seems to be logically flawed. If it is ever to occur, even temporarily, it may take another of our great national tragedies to bring America again to its vital roots…roots that can only be found on our knees in prayer. 

I endorse the importance of the following article and hope you will give it your close attention.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 2/25/18


Law of Effect Needs Moral Governance

January 18, 2018

Law of Effect Needs Moral Governance

There are many psychological principles that determine human behavior. They work together in complex ways and the behavioral outcomes of these interactions often appear to be both synergistic and exponential.

For example, being sexually abused twice, 1+1, may not equal a magnitude of disturbance in the victim of 2; it might equal a magnitude of disturbance of 5. Other unfortunate experiences frequently evolve from this person’s troubled behavior and is likely to produce a quickly accelerating rate of more troubled emotions and behaviors.

Of course principles of genetics and biology are of great importance. The interactions between these factors and psychological factors are bi-directional. Therefore, principles of psychology influence behavior and behavior is influenced by bio-genetic factors.

For example, a person born with the genetic factors that determine alcohol addiction will be more motivated to consume alcohol to excess , which in turn, can lead to more physical and psychological problems. These problems can include broken families, road fatalities, ruined business early death due to alcohol related illnesses or suicide.

In the previous example of rape, the victim may turn to drugs or alcohol in order to self-medicate for the fears and anxieties that typically are associated with rapes or other traumas. This can lead to more physical and psychological problems, which could end in bad outcomes for the individual and society.

These individuals could be helped by entering therapy. But many refuse treatment, are only partially assisted, or even fail to benefit in any measurable way.

Any society that designs itself in ways that accidentally, or selfishly, increase such problems for their citizens and then spends increasing revenues and energy to fix the problems is maladaptive and self-defeating. Such cultural designs are on a certain path to cultural decline.

This defines one of modern America’s most severe and worsening self-management problems.

The primary focus of the remainder of this blog will be upon psychological principles, processes and behavioral outcomes.

The great and powerful Law of Effect states that the probability of behavior is controlled by its consequences. The higher an animal is placed upon the phylogentic continuum, the greater the Law of Effect influences that animal’s behavior. Therefore, human behavior (good, bad, or indifferent) is most greatly influenced by the Law of Effect. The behavior of animals lower on the phyologentic scale is less influenced by the law of effect and more so by genetics.

Unfortunately, if  the powerful and natural influences of the Law of Effect and other interacting psychological principles are not guided by commonly accepted moral rules, values and consequences transmitted consistently and synchronously; within families, agencies and organizations (at managerial and governmental levels)…increased rates of bad behaviors within populations will certainly occur.

This is my prediction based upon principles of conditioning and learning theory and behavioral/cognitive social learning theory. My prediction is also informed by my 36 years as a professor of psychology and over 40 years as a private cognitive/behavioral therapist.

The population behavior changes I have seen in America during the course of my adult life (now at 75 yrs.) is largely, though not a singularly result, of a decline in our moral rules and consequences that less and less consistently govern our behavior. The interacting biopsychosocial scientific principles and  behavioral outcomes cause by this erosion of moral rules, values and consequences is what I call Behavioral Contagion. More specifically, Bad Behavioral contagion, leading to increased rates of bad behavior.

For our informal purposes, “bad behaviors” will include those  perceptions, emotions, beliefs and actions that damage the healthy physical and psychological development of children, adolescents and adults. These problems are very expensive and decrease the ability of a society to survive long and well.

To be sure, an entire book could be written about what bad behavior is, and is not, and there would be disagreement about what are good or bad behaviors under various circumstances. Regarding the class of “good behaviors”, I view these as human actions that are incompatible with, or compete with, the bad behaviors as defined above.

Most people would agree that, bad behaviors are neglecting, abusing or abandoning children or other loved ones; becoming addicted to activities or substances; lying, cheating, stealing and murdering, etc.. Most people would would agree that behaviors that are incompatible, or compete with, such actions would be examples of good or non-harmful behavior.

My general definitions, for the sake of this blog, will allow most folks to begin to to think about this complex matter of desirable, pro-social (good), or undesirable antisocial (bad) behavior among residents of our society.

It is important that citizens of America learn to think about such moral values and judgments because they determine the consequences for the actions of  themselves and others (rewards, punishments or no consequences) through their social interactions with others. Just as importantly, in America’s Representative Republic, citizens also influence the moral values, rules and consequences for themselves and others by casting votes for those who will be elected to make and enforce, or change the rules that govern all of us.

So, now comes the big question based upon Behavioral Contagion Theory: What can be done to decrease bad behavioral contagion in America and, as a result, also increase our cultural health and viability? 

Without a doubt, the “wisdom of the ages”, on this matter can be found in the moral precepts of the worlds greatest peaceful religions. My research finds that many scientists who study cultural decline, note that when populations loose their faith in their God’s teachings, they also loose the moral precepts and values important for their culture’s health and viability. This phenomenon appears to be happening to many (perhaps all, to some degree), modern technologically advancing societies in the world. 

I judge that skillfully using the psychological (and genetic/biological) principles of behavioral contagion will naturally decrease rates of bad behavior and increase rates of good behavior in America. But, to achieve this will require that we strengthen the influences of the social agencies, families, churches, schools and media influences that can promulgate and model moral rules and values and also reward conformity to these rules and values with acceptance, praise, recognition, influence, political power and material/financial consequences

Though it is unpopular in America’s increasingly immoral society, withholding these rewards for those who do not follow moral rules is essential. In extreme cases, murder, robbery, rape and child abuse, etc. To ever be effective, Swift and certain punishment must be administered by authorities for these and similar behaviors. 

For this chain of events to occur will require that America’s government (at all levels) cease the restrictions and punishments for America’s traditional and contemporary, peaceful and pro-social religious influences. 

I judge that it is essential to vote only for those public servants who support conservative moral rules and values to guide local, state and national governance. This will naturally catalyze increasing rates of good behavioral contagion in America and decrease rates of bad behavioral contagion.

Wake-Up America: Vote For Conservative Moral Values and Principles!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Psychology

Health Services Provider in Psychology




Some Truth About America’s Moral Decline

January 14, 2018

Some Truth About America’s Moral Decline.

I presume that you are aware of America’s moral decline. It is very real and it is a function of many factors that have changed in American culture; some are not so easily identified as connected with our moral decline. 

The following is an article that identifies a couple of factors that are directly related to America’s moral decline. 

It is very important that Americans see this clearly. My research suggests that moral decline is all too often associated with a decline in a societies viability and long-term debilitation.

Please read this short and insightful article.

Wake-Up America!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 1/14/18

President Trump’s Bad Language

January 13, 2018

President Trump’s Bad Language

There is no question, President Trump can use bad language if he is angered.

Read the outstanding book about this President’s amazing strong points, “Let Trump Be Trump”, and find that it is honest enough to report that Trump is prone to profanity when he discovers a lack of progress or incompetence. Who should be surprised to find that a man who is used to wielding great power to get his own way can become upset and unpleasant when he does not?  So what?!

Democrats, RINO republicans, and liberal members of the deep state will certainly inflate and leak such incidences. They do this to derail Trump’s “America First” efforts and to distract attention from their own evil agenda of exchanging favors to the poor, uneducated and gullible… for votes and power.

Who, in touch with reality, would be unaware of any of this?

There are at least three points to ponder on this matter.

First Point:

Is President Trump “Crazy”, as so many liberals allege?

The simple answer is absolutely not. How could it be so in light of his many life-long consistent and complex accomplishments? I will grant that he is likely to show a difficult personality when he is failing to achieve his goals. But his thinking must have remained stable and rational or he would have been incapable of a life-time of his stellar achievements.

Note that the word “crazy” is a pejorative slang term used to destroy the credibility of someone. The closest technical term to this word is psychosis, a term used by psychologists and psychiatrists for one of the most debilitating psychological conditions featuring great mental confusion and the loss of contact with reality.

President Trump is certainly not psychotic.

Furthermore, President Trump’s recent physical exam found him to be in very good condition. A physician would certainly have been able to determine if the President was in a state of psychosis (i.e.,”crazy”), or not.

The Second Point:

Is President Trump a racist?

I am unable to tell you what his deepest thoughts are on this matter, nor are others who do not know him intimately.

My research finds that most liberals, and the main-stream media are convinced that he is. Additionally, a very few liberal republicans in favor of chain immigration and continued liberal immigration policies from very poor third-world countries may also accuse him of racism.

Trump has reached-out to minorities as no other republican has for many years. He should be given the benefit of doubt on this issue.

An alternative explanation for President Trump’s position of immigration is that randomly selected, or indiscriminately admitted uneducated and unskilled individuals from third-world countries are overloading America’s social welfare, medical, educational and law enforcement/judicial systems. As a result these essential systems are in financial crises and their dramatically increased work loads are stressing their workers to the point of systemic breakdown.

This problem threatens the viability of America. It can only be resolved by increasing tax supplied funds to our essential social systems. This would be a self-destructive act on top of other self-destructive acts. Or, it can be resolved by changing our immigration system to  merit based policies to insure that immigrants are self-sufficient.

It is critically important to vote for the latter solution.

The reader should also note that uncontrolled immigration from certain Islamic countries has led to increased terrorism in America and in every other country that has tried to assimilate their refugees.

You have probably noticed that most of these countries happen to be largely inhabited by people who are not Caucasians. This is the flimsy and dishonest basis for those on the “left” launching defamatory attacks on President Trump, calling him a racist.

Perhaps you are familiar with the scientific dictum: “Correlation is not causation”.

Trump’s objection to unlimited immigration from third-world or terrorist-ridden countries is absolutely not proof that he is a “racist”.

More likely, it is proof that President Trump is putting America’s urgent need to reverse its steep decline and recover its financial and cultural health and viability is first and foremost among his many objectives.

The Third Point.

Is President Trump distinctive in his use of bad language and crude remarks?

It is a fact that Trump will win no prizes for consistent tact and diplomatic language, though he is very capable of this style of communication.

I am not arguing that profane and crude language is a good thing. But it is a fact that public language and language in chambers, during political combat, can get pretty salty.

See for yourself.

Wake-Up America!

Radical Liberals, socialists, progressives, RINO’s, and their deep state accomplists are attempting to destroy and then impeach our properly elected President of the United States.

Vote Conservative Republican!

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D., 1/13/18

Our Own High Risk

April 19, 2010

Our Own High Risk

Whenever we overlook the roll of the natural principles of psychology in shaping the behavior of our citizens and our culture, we do so at our own high risk.

Bottom-Up Influences on Culture

April 17, 2010

Bottom-Up Influences on Culture

Psychology has traditionally studied countless environmental influences on the behavior of individuals. In recent decades some psychologists have started to analyze ways in which principles of individual and group behavior can lead to cultural changes. For example, how hundreds of thousands of people raise their children will have a far-reaching impact upon the future collective behavior of our population.

Changes in the ways that these children grow to behave amongst other people will influence their perceptions, thoughts, feelings and behavior for better or worse. The summation of these influences which constantly swirl through our population is a big part of the cultural changes that we all experience.

A clear, though sad,  example of such bottom-up cultural change is the child born in a ghetto to a single unemployed drug addicted mother. Such a child will likely suffer neglect, abuse, drug addiction, school failure, gang membership, and engage in violent crimes against others. This is a tragedy for the child and for all others who’s lives his behavior will influence (family, social workers, teachers, police, medical personnel, victims, and those who work in our court systems, penial employees, and victims). What we fail to see is that it is also a tragedy for the various institutions that employ these workers that are increasingly overwhelmed and we tax payers who are required to pay more of our hard-earned income to keep these institutions solvent.

A far more desirable bottom-up cultural influence would be a mother and father who are committed and loving mates and parents. These parents have children that they can afford to raise under healthy conditions.  They identify and agree upon their childrearing goals, set appropriate limits for their child’s behavior and use humane and effective methods to teach their children the many skills and abilities needed to live well and do good things with their lives. These parents will provide teaching consequences to their children, but they will also understand that their children will watch them and imitate their actions. Therefore,  they too will seek to live well and do good things with their lives and for their children in order to “show them the way”. They generally show kind, courteous, encouraging and loving behavior to their children, to each other and to others. All of this makes it likely that these children will grow to treat their own children and others in similar ways. 

The parents in this positive example will also protect their children from the toxic effects of our entertainment media which showcase profanity, drugs, sex, violence and other irresponsible lifestyles. When children repeatedly witness these damaging behaviors, they are prone to imitate them with bad effects for both them and  society. 

From moment to moment, in any society,  such individual “grass-roots” bottom-up human events are occurring by the billions. Without question, the behavior patterns learned by children who’s behavior is shaped by parents, families and their communities become a major influence in the evolution of our whole culture.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.      4/17/10

“The Thing He Understands Least”

April 14, 2010

“The Thing He Understands Least”

B. F. Skinner’s prophetic words were published in 1971 (Beyond Freedom and Dignity). Please read them carefully and you will understand one huge source of our sociocultural behavior problems.

 “Twenty-five hundred years ago it might have been said that man understood himself as well as any  other part of his world. Today he is the thing he understands least” (p. 5).

In other words, as we have advanced our understanding in all other areas of science and technology,  we have remained woefully ignorant of the science and technology of our own behavior. Skinner also wrote about the fact that the health and longevity of all cultures rests upon the understanding and benevolent use of a science and technology of human behavior.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D.   4/14/10

July 28, 2009

The survival of freedom itself is at stake, and that future is by no means certain” (pps. 10-11).  
What is the truth about this nation’s present state and its direction
Section 1: Could It Be True?





CHAPTER 1. The Vision: A Daydreamer’s Nighmare


  This anecdote is actually not true of frogs. However, the story hints at the truth about human beings under many circumstances. Unlike the story of the “frog in the pot”, human beings actually do show an amazing capacity to adapt to environmental and social changes that slowly increase in their damaging qualities. Tragically, the deferred consequences of this chain of adaptations can be ruinous and even lethal to both individuals and societies.


A few years ago, a sickening sweet odor suddenly was present in my home town. It was soon clear that it was a by-product of a new ethanol plant operating on the outskirts of our city. There was an uproar of complaints about the nausea and breathing problems that some citizens attributed to the plant’s emissions. An elderly lady wrote to our newspaper telling a folksy tale about how one could boil a live frog to death, in a shallow pot, without the frog ever leaping out. She maintained that all one had to do was increase the heat of the water very gradually, in stages, and the poor frog would finally boil to death without “twitching a muscle”. The lady felt this was the mechanism behind our failure to react effectively to the poisoning of this nations air.VTM

Fall, 1979


B.F. Skinner, The greatest American psychologist of the 20th Century warned about the common tendency to mistake society for culture when he wrote:

“We tend to associate a culture with a group of people. People are easier to see than their behavior, and behavior is easier to see than the contingencies which generate it”

Substitute the word rule for the word contingency in the last sentence of this quote. Roughly speaking

Cultural Evolution
The behavior and products of a population and its institutions are its culture. Changes in the behavior patterns and products of a population and its institutions is cultural evolution. All cultures evolve. Some evolve in ways that strengthen the odds that their societies will live long and well. Others evolve in ways that lead to the decline or collapse of their societies. I use the terms decline as relative terms to identify a society’s own significantly weakened, diminished and vulnerable state–compared to its former more effective baselines of performance. Decline is a condition in which a society’s individuals and institutions are no longer able to effectively deal with its various problems (crime and other population behavior problems, family disorganization, governmental ineffectiveness, resource management, economic problems, and foreign aggression or invasion, etc.). Decline is not likely to lead to the total disappearance of modern large and complex societies (as it did with the collapse of the Incas or Aztec sociocultures). The actual Collapse of a socioculture may follow a period of decline. For modern complex societies, collapse may occur when socioculture becomes increasingly vulnerable to chronic debilitated functioning and eventual conquest by, and assimilation into, other predatory cultures.

I am very sad to tell you that I believe America is now showing strong indicators that it is well into an extended period of decline.

 B. F. Skinner hinted at what is needed for a culture’s evolutionary success when he said: “The evolution of a culture is a gigantic exercise in self-control.”

How do you think America is doing in the area of self-control?

Regarding the stunning changes in American culture over the past few decades that I will document in the coming chapters, there are no simple unidirectional causes. What drove these great changes? Was it the car? Was it the television? Was it was the pill? How about working mothers? I wish the causes were that simple and singular. There are only fiendishly complex “swirls” of many causes that interact with each other and then fold back upon themselves, to create even greater causal complexity. For example, as a practicing psychologist I have witnessed the effects of a changing American culture upon families and children. And, reciprocally, I have also observed the effects of the changed families and changed children back upon our society and culture.

As our apparent fifty-year cultural decline continues to deepen, it is alarming that both of our political parties have failed to reverse the key elements of our decline.

The burning question is: Why is everything failing?! The smoldering answer is: Because great and powerful forces of change move undetected beneath the surface of our consciousness and beneath the surface of our common, day-to-day observable experiences. Scientists have long known that the most precious secrets are those that are hidden by what we commonly experience and think we understand. This has been true for physics, astronomy, economics, anthropology and psychology. It is also true about the present declining state of America’s socioculture. The interacting causes are plain to see if only we can look at them from a special perspective.

Generally, the cultural things that we see are only reflection of a host of underlying causes that are both unseen and poorly understood by almost everyone. It is my aim to make some of these hidden causes of our collective behavior patterns clearly visible and understandable. I believe that educating the voting public about cultural design changes that will benefit or damage their loved ones is the key a better future. For America to live long and well, the voting public must understand the relationship between our own, and our policy maker’s, culture-changing decisions that provide immediate gratification to millions of people and/or the our government, but also lead to delayed painful or disastrous consequences.

My career as a psychologists has been similar to that of other professions that constantly expose their workers to the tragedies, pain, and loss which have become an increasing part of life in America. I, like countless others, have been quietly traumatized for decades by the damaging effects upon my clients and their loved ones wreaked by their own personal responses to our increasingly damaged culture. But the effects of such trauma can be channeled into a force for good, and that is my intention in this book. I will tell you about what we now know about human nature and the scientific principles that change our behavior and that of our culture. I will also present a clear and understandable explanation of important aspects of the sciences of human behavior and what they can tell us about the decline and possible recovery of our culture.

 A contingency is a rule that specifies the relationship between some behavior and some consequence. For example, a child may hit another and be rewarded or punished. An adult may start a business and make money or go broke. A city may legalize gambling and make money, but may later suffer more crime and damage to its families. A government might legalize pornography, drugs, and prostitution and enjoy increased tax revenues, but later suffer the greater costs of increased damage to its population. All of these are examples of some behavior done by individuals or groups of individuals, and the consequences that may follow as a result.   

Regarding the “Boiling the Frog” fable and the story of poor old Bowser, a similar chain of events happens to individual humans within their cultures. When small, slow, incremental changes in their culture occur it will seem as though the changes do not matter, or perhaps that there have been no real significant changes at all. To the different generations that age with their cohorts across different but slightly overlapping time-frames, the changes across time will be harder to detect. Older populations may see the changes within the younger population’s time-frame as extreme, or even aberrant but to a younger population it can be perceived as the very comfortable norm.

America has been called the Great Society–and it is certainly that. Our society is a unique place, a population, and a great number of institutions that function together so we can live our lives with greater security and success. Among the many important things a society does, is to provide a supportive infrastructure to its citizens who have and rear healthy children. Although we Americans generally do not have children in order to perpetuate our own society, our having and rearing healthy children is essential to our societies’ survival.

 All societies have cultures. For our purposes, culture is not a place or a group of people. It is the behavior, actions, practices, and the material creations of the people and institutions in a society. 

In my writing, I will use the terms society and culture as defined above. Sometimes, often when I wish to speak of the combination of these two forces, I will use the term: Socioculture.
These cultural changes can show in very maladaptive and damaging behaviors within our population and can result in a steady erosion of our culture’s viability. When I use the word viability, I mean the ability to remain strong and effective and avoid decline and collapse. Like the fabled American Frog, or old Bowser the cat, citizens and policy makers within the failing culture may carry-on to the end as though all is well and nothing is wrong.

 The purpose of this book is to analyze relatively recent culture-wide rule/policy and population behavior changes from the perspective of their observed or likely delayed effects upon the viability of our American Culture. I will admit that there is much unknown about such matters. However there are many scientific principles, from a variety of fields, that are very well known and I remain astonished and saddened that most of us know little or nothing about them. I am convinced that we can use these principles to reverse America’s sociocultural decline. 

It is way past time for us to organize the most robust principles of our relevant sciences into a general understanding of how our past and present self-destructive cultural practices have caused the obvious and stunning social problems we face today. This kind of self-understanding is exactly what our culture (and others) need to live very long and productive lives. Nothing should be more important to Americans at this time–nothing could be more important to humankind.
Just as we were once poised to travel to the moon, and “one giant push would get us there”; so it is with our “cultural space ship” which carries us and our dear families’ linage to the future. We presently do not know enough about the evolution of cultures to achieve the full attainment of our most sensible hopes and dreams for our beloved children and their offspring. But, given what is known, there is no excuse for the depth of our collective ignorance about such matters, or for the present sorry state of cultural affairs that we have accidentally determined for ourselves. I believe that with one big sustained educational push, we Americans could do spectacularly better at securing a brighter and more promising future.

Prelude to a Vison

In the introduction to his book, Imperial Stars: Republic and Empire, author Jerry Purnelle refers (pps. 3 & 4) to Niccolo Machiavelli, in The Discourses, who described six kinds of government. Machiavelli considered three kinds of government to be “good” but he noted their tendency to be corrupted and to become “very bad.”

“Thus monarchy becomes tyranny; aristocracy degenerates into oligarchy; and popular government lapses readily into licentiousness. So that a legislator who gives to a state which he founds, either of these three forms of government, constitutes it but for a brief time; for no precautions can prevent either one of the three that are reputed good, from degenerating into its opposite kind; so great are in these attractions and resemblances between the good and the evil”. Niccolo Machiavelli, The Discourses.

My primary concern is with the slide of our Republic of the United States toward a widespread state of hedonism and licentiousness. Jerry Pournelle,familiar with such cultural evolutions from the early Greeks and Romans to the present, addresses this trend:

“Democracies endure until the citizens care more for what the state can give them than for its ability to defend rich and poor alike; until they care more for their privileges than their responsibilities; until they learn they can vote largess from the public treasury and use the state as an instrument for plundering, first those who have wealth, then those who create it.
The American people seem to be learning that fatal lesson. The last Forty years have seen the United States reject the temptations of empire, but nearly succumb to the seductions of democracy. We have reached the abyss, but not yet taken the last step over
Perceiving the reality of our condition is not so easy as it would first appear. Often what is perceived is but a reflection of other hidden, underlying, events and structures. So it is with the great complex mix of events that now threaten America.
It was 1983. I had been reading intensively in the field of psychology ever since I declared it as my psychology major in 1963. I had obtained my Ph.D. in 1971, and had began to teach psychology at Indiana University South Bend in 1970. My area of specialized interests were Learning, Child Development, and Behavior Modification. By 1979, I had written my first book on parenting and teaching children. It had already become apparent to me in the early 1970’s that certain cultural changes (population mobility, fewer extended families, fewer nuclear families, fewer children, maternal employment, infant and daycare centers, etc.) had robbed many of America’s parents of a common understanding of what children need to grow to be healthy adults. Many parents simply did not know what they needed to do to help their children achieve this essential outcome.
Little did I know then, that an unanticipated event was about to occur that would change my perceptions, goals, and creative actions for the rest of my life. I was asked to join a private practice on a part-time basis.
The following years of “practicing what I preached” within the crucible of countless hours of therapy with troubled children, adolescents, and adults, and families was a powerfully transforming experience. It catalyzed my thinking about what I had learned in all of my studies, my university teaching and my personal research. So many things that I had learned were now directly connected and highly relevant to the very real human problems I was then trying to solve in my tiny corner of America.

As you may know, university professors often accuse counselors and psychotherapist of seeing a “biased world of only trouble and misery”. Counselors and psychotherapists accuse university professors of “living in ivory towers”, dealing with problems only in the abstract, and being highly impractical.

In 1979, I began to live in both worlds and I believe the combination of these worlds has allowed me to see things more clearly than many of the professionals who work exclusively in either one of these domains. In 1983 the combined results of these experiences spontaneously and suddenly arranged themselves in my thinking and in a mental-visual form that stunned and motivated me like nothing else ever has.






%d bloggers like this: