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An elderly priest I knew years ago had an impressive scholarly background in moral theology and philosophy. Despite that wealth of sophisticated moral reference points, he told me even at his advanced age his first consideration in matters of morals and conscience was still whether it was the kind of thing his parents, aunts, uncles, and siblings would do or approve.
His example is very human and normal—in a healthy society. Ideally, each child would have parents who are part of a community of parental peers who inculcate a shared set of reference points that guide us such that we rarely need a formal overlay of explicit rules. We know what is right and wrong by example and intuition. My mother knew that when I hopped on my bike to go off for hours at a time. If I got into mischief that (a) other adults would intervene and that (b) she would hear about it. More importantly, I knew that too.
There is a concept held by Aboriginal Australians they call “the law.” Everything passed down from ancestors (nature lore, hunting techniques, crafts, stories, myths, and morals) is “the law.” They did not use or conceive of categories like theology, biology, technology but accepted “the law” in its entirety as providing the entire context for personal identity, heritage and a complete frame of reference. Like you and every other 21st century American, I could not operate under “the law.” Nevertheless, I envy the security, comfort, and serenity that growing up within “the law” probably provided in pre-colonial times. It is the polar opposite of The Narrative which seeks to cut off any cultural heritage, any connectedness or pre-existing moral or cognitive framework and leave the individual socially and morally naked, craving whatever identity the Narrative assigns.
Lawyers and doctors value (or should value) the respect of their professional peers. The most important check on academic fraud should be the fear of losing the respect of others in the field. (Is that breaking down?) While the tyranny of political correctness is a scourge and an injustice, the bigger problem is the destruction of the moral communities built on truths and experiences that do not emanate from The Narrative.
Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly are unprincipled partisan hacks trying to hustle a book that has no substantive dirt on Justice Kavanaugh, their intended target, much less anything new despite a full year of “investigation” and privileged access to the entire dirt-manufacturing complex in the leftosphere and Democratic Party. But more disturbing is that they produced utter garbage without the slightest fear of losing the respect of their peers in the most influential newsrooms and magazines in the country.
This is not like the case of Jason Blair or Stephen Glass who deceived their editors and peers. The sheer obviousness of the crapfest generated by Pogrebin and Kelly was such that the first releases from the book did not last 24 hours before being shown to be full of nonsense and pathetic omissions and distortions—and no deep research or heavy lifting was required to show that.
The lefties have correctly identified family and every family-related means of personal moral formation as a competitor to the project of separating and atomizing us so that the state or the collective is the only social reality in our lives. The fact that there are so many people in positions of influence who can be shamed only by failure to serve The Narrative is why our political discourse is no longer a matter of good faith disagreements done in a shared context of respect for each other and for the truth. Is there anyone with moral standing Pogrebin and Kelly would recognize to tell them that they should be ashamed of themselves? That they have about as much professionalism as Dan Rather? Moral orphans.