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Our nation’s moral fabric is in decadence; let’s fix it

By Nashon Okowa | May 3rd 2020

What moral fabric is our society made of? Our behaviour during this pandemic has abandoned me to the incessant thought of this question; floundering for answers every time. It’s in sunlight that our society appears defenseless against the abyss of human decadence.

Consciously, over time, we seem to have woven our tissue of life solely on the legal scale and discarded our responsibility to God and society. Thus moral mediocrity has blossomed under the shield of restrictions imposed by democracy. Without missteps, we are following the lifestyle footsteps of our colonial master. In his commencement day address at Harvard University in 1978, Russian novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn warned against abandonment of society principles for a western way of life that is engraved on legalistic relations.

He said: “Whenever the tissue of life is woven on legalistic relations, there is an atmosphere of moral mediocrity, paralysing man’s noblest impulses.” How aptly accurate. Think of it; a large section of our society, at the beginning of this pandemic, bashed the president for calling for national prayers. Really? Yes, they began the legalistic argument that not everyone is religious in this country. Yet, we are in a fight of cosmic proportions as a planet, every intervention, especially of the deity, is much welcome. 

We have so much, and rightfully so, fought to defend human rights. We must now as well fight to defend human obligations. I disagree that we should permeate the defense of individual rights to reach such extremes as to make a whole society defenseless. We can balance both though the renaissance of human decadence in our society depicts unequal balance.

It should bother us when over a dozen naked teens are found filming pictures in our society. Yet part of the society asks; “What is wrong with that? Or they opine that government should deal with more important issues than such. Come on, this is the future of our society and nothing could be more important to the State. Make no mistake, I believe in the rule of law, but our society mirror reflects that destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. And moral mediocrity is the winner. 

There are no rights to be defended when body shaming becomes a societal norm and route to fame. We must begin defending, as well, our human obligation with the same vigour. It is the realisation that life organised legalistically, as we are vehemently championing, cannot defend itself against corrosion of evil. There is more to the fabric of a society than the law.

If we think so, then I dare us to kick the can down the hill. Let us see how far we can go as a people. The same gusto we use to condemn the police for any brutality act, we must use to remind every member of our society of their human obligations too. It cannot be one way in a model society.

Honesty and integrity

We cannot be quick to condemn when people who write defamatory, unsubstantiated things against others are apprehended and slow to remind them of their human responsibility while enjoying their freedom to write. Even in seeking fame, there is no substitute for honesty and integrity. Why are we allowing folks to gain fame by merely using unprintable words against comrades?

It is said that a society with no other scale other than the legal one is not worthy of a man either. The letter of the law is too cold and formal to have a beneficial influence on a society. We cannot weave the tissue of our society fabric merely on this scale. We must return to the junction and find our responsibility path to God and society.

This has grown dimmer and dimmer over time yet on this rock we must build our nation's fabric. We can enjoy our freedoms twinned with our human obligation - it is possible. Abandoning our societal values for the legal scale is the primal reason for abyss of decadence marooning our society at the moment.

In the words of Aleksandr: “The forces of evil have begun their decisive offensive, you can feel their pressure, and yet your screens and publications are full of prescribed smiles and raised glasses. What is the joy about?”

- The writer is chair of Association of Construction Managers of Kenya. [email protected]

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