CNN has released an interesting poll on the morality of certain actions. It seems that, compared to a similar survey in 1987, a majority of Americans now believe certain acts moral which they once found immoral. The results may be found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/09/cnn-poll-morality_n_4568789.htm...|main5|dl16|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D429312
Okay, polls are interesting. They may well reflect changes in attitudes within a society. But what that may tell us about that society, well, is certainly open to interpretation. And interpretation will surely be applied with a trowel by anyone of any ilk who studies the figures.
Take, yes, we will go for the most contentious issue on CNN's grid, homosexual relations. A solid majority viewed them as wrong in 1987. The barest majority see them as wrong in 2014. Why? Civil libertarians will see that as a growth in American tolerance of individual rights. More traditional moralists will see it as an erosion of respect for basic right and wrong. What's the difference? To seem rather flippant about it (but we do not say we are wrong to do so) many more Americans want to be able to do wrong in 2014 (so long as it fits that old standard that it does no <immediate and obvious> harm to anyone else). If homosexual sex is okay, then surely party timing it with anyone of the opposite sex at whatever time each, uh, party finds it suitable, must be okay. The homosexual rights argument is thus the most successful slippery slope argument which we see in the modern world. If two folks of the same sex can do who can what two folks of different sexes, when under no contract (for the poll does see extramarital sex as very wrong) can do, then the prurient interests of any two unmarried people can have no moral bounds whatsoever. To put it quite boldly, the acceptance of homosexual rights is a door to general promiscuity. That's why so many people nowadays 'believe' in homosexual rights.
What strikes us as truly odd is the number of folks who believe that cheating on their taxes is wrong, and that that number is reasonably consistent in each poll. The results of that must be the result of people trying to say the 'right' thing, based on the fear of being caught by the omnipresent government. Again, and again quite boldly, folks are lying on that one. There's no way imaginable that 9 out of 10 Yanks think cheating on their taxes all that wrong. We suspect that many people are simply covering their tails.
It is good that solid majorities believe extramarital sex immoral until yet. But as that is a very easy belief (it dovetails nicely into the homosexual rights argument) it cannot be viewed as particularly noteworthy. So get divorced, and you're right back on the old playground. Without deeper insights as to the reasons why such a view is held, we are not impressed.
We could go on, but why? The liberals and libertarians have, through, CNN polling, made their point. Our morals have decreased. Yet we are not a better nation for it.