Moral standards and societal change

Your [Christian Science Monitor/Tipp Poll] section on moral standards ("Most Americans see broad moral decline," Dec. 16) focused on negatives such as falling standards and lower morals.

It failed to recognize that a change in moral standards is inevitable and not necessarily a degrading or downward trend.

Standards are based on acceptance of behavior and expression, and are always changing. Today's society doesn't accept the same moral taboos and restrictions of the 1950s - shown in one of your graphs - even as what was acceptable then would have been frowned upon by earlier generations.

Words and deeds once deemed inadmissible are now used and shown graphically on TV every day in response to popular demand, paid for by commercial interests that would lose money if they backed programs that offended the majority of viewers. Prime-time popular shows such as "Melrose Place," "Suddenly Susan," "News Radio" - the list goes on - depict extramarital sex and other activities that, once censored, now find general acceptance. Morals are not getting worse or lowering on TV, in movies, with pop music, on the Internet, and in culture generally. The way society regards them undergoes changes and adjustments which are not necessarily evidences of their going down hill, but reflective of where culture stands today.

Laurence Thomas

Ypsilanti, Mich.

US should follow EU animal-feed ruling

Amid all the dour news from Washington and the world this week, I was pleased to read the good news about the European Union banning four more antibiotics as additives to feed for livestock ("EU bans livestock drugs, triggers row," Dec. 16).

This ruling is good news both for humans and for livestock animals in Europe. The United States would do well to follow the EU example. I live on a small organic farm in rural Michigan and see directly the benefits of fresh air, exercise, and feed without antibiotics on my livestock animals. This is a better way of life for livestock and for people than factory farms using confinement and chemically intensive approaches to livestock growth. I heartily endorse the statement from the organic farmers association in Britain: that we must routinely treat animals with respect rather than with antibiotics.

Catherine Badgley

Chelsea, Mich.

Director, Environmental Studies

University of Michigan

Ironic comity on Capitol Hill

Pat Holt's opinion article on the loss of comity ("The most serious casualty: comity on Capitol Hill," Dec. 21) is ironic. By accusing only the Republicans of having "ideological reasons," "strained, convoluted" arguments, and "pettiness," he seems to evidence a loss of comity himself. Where was he when the Democrats were talking? Did he not see any spirit of divisiveness on their side?

I have read, enjoyed, and respected Mr. Holt's ideas for years. In this case, he seems to have missed his own point entirely.

Bruce Jeffrey

Kansas City, Mo.

Japan's lax child porn laws

Thank you for your excellent coverage of the child pornography issue in Japan ("Japan hit for allowing child porn on the Web," Dec. 16). I was not surprised that Japan is the worst offender when it comes to lax laws regarding child pornography. Their mainstream culture including anim (mature-audience cartoons), video games, and the comic books that people of all ages read is full of semi-pornographic images of school girls with exaggerated features and short skirts. I plan to boycott Japanese products until they at least change their laws regarding hard-core stuff.

Elena Brady


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