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Right and Wrong

By Michael Reisig

Right and Wrong. When I was growing up, there sure seemed to be a much clearer distinction between those two elements. Now, they’ve been blurred by success, power, beauty, money, and a handful of other self-ingratiating items. We live in a society which is beginning to show stress cracks – like an old seawall that has been hammered by wave after unrelenting wave. It’s still there, apparently doing what it’s supposed to do, but if you look closely it’s easy to see that it’s only a matter of time before it gives way. A couple of the deciding factors in this deterioration are right and wrong. These pillars have eroded considerably, and their shape is no longer clearly defined. When you live in a nation that has lost its distinction between fame and infamy – and infamy gets you the same amount of attention and is far easier to achieve, you have to realize there’s really no right or wrong, just popular opinion. We need to remember what Leo Tolstoy said: “Wrong does not cease to exist simply because the majority share it.”

I can remember my father saying, “There’s a right way to do something and a wrong way.” Today there’s a lot of duct tape used in life – the quick fix, the sleight of hand, and the “nobody will know the difference” methods. I am reminded of a quote by the writer Peyton Dracco: “In this society, where almost all is left up to the individual’s interpretation, the line between virtue and vice seems less perceptible than ever before. I am convinced that most people can no longer comfortably discern between right and wrong, good and evil, and least of all, true or false.”

Part of the difficulty between right and wrong is perspective. Many of the people who are purely wrong think they’re right – take Hitler, Mao, Genghis Khan for instance. Unfortunately, there’s no changing their perspective. We just have to change their status.

If there are any true heroes left out there, they are the people who possess a small gem of innocence – who believe regardless, that dignity and honesty can still triumph, that right and wrong are still totally separate entities. These individuals are the final hope for the rest of us who are so fond of duct tape. Here’s the undeniable, unpopular truth: Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. Right is right, even if no one is doing it.