A Morally Exhausted Society - Feb. 11, 2002

Cal Thomas | Syndicated columnist | Monday, February 11, 2002

A Morally Exhausted Society - Feb. 11, 2002

The scandal that is Enron is not about a system as it is about people with no moral compass. Many American corporations are headed by honest, decent citizens who put their employees first. But you only hear about the bad ones because that makes for more exciting news for the media and more business for the politicians.

One of the many downsides to a morally exhausted society is a collapsing Enron. Once, people's expectations were higher. Culture affirmed basic truths, even though not everyone abided by them. Most did, though. When the message is that nothing matters but pleasing yourself, you can expect some will internalize that message and act on it.

Only a morally corrupt group of executives would knowingly take risks on the life savings of others to enrich themselves. If that's what happened at Enron – and it is becoming increasingly clear that it did – those responsible should go to jail and the fines they are forced to pay should go to those who were wiped out.

But when you preach and model that there is no right and wrong, you can expect an Enron. Some people will believe the message. I'm Cal Thomas in Washington.