David Brooks explains it pretty well in his Op-Ed in New York Times from a few days ago,
People are really good at self-deception. We attend to the facts we like and suppress the ones we don’t. We inflate our own virtues and predict we will behave more nobly than we actually do…
In centuries past, people built moral systems that acknowledged this weakness. These systems emphasized our sinfulness. They reminded people of the evil within themselves. Life was seen as an inner struggle against the selfish forces inside. These vocabularies made people aware of how their weaknesses manifested themselves and how to exercise discipline over them. These systems gave people categories with which to process savagery and scripts to follow when they confronted it. They helped people make moral judgments and hold people responsible amidst our frailties.
But we’re not Puritans anymore. We live in a society oriented around our inner wonderfulness. So when something atrocious happens, people look for some artificial, outside force that must have caused it — like the culture of college football, or some other favorite bogey. People look for laws that can be changed so it never happens again.
Read the whole piece: Let’s All Feel Superior.
My old friend Webster Bull shares some thoughts on the piece over at Witness: Feeling Superior. And if you haven’t yet, check out Mark Shea’s post that runs along the same lines: Betrayal and the Power of Relationship.
Because more and more stories like this will be coming out of the closet. Like this one: From Another Era And Another Sport.
But should we just throw in the towel on this whole big damn mess of a world? You know the answer to that. Mary Kochan interviews Rod Bennett to tease out the other side of the scandal coin over at Catholic Lane: Scandals and Hope.
Wisdom is a better defense for the wise man than would be ten princes in the city, yet there is no man on earth so just as to do good and never sin. —Ecclesiaties 7:12
Food for thought.