The signs of disintegration are everywhere. Something dreadfully WRONG is happening to our peoples. We're rapidly losing character — losing our ability to blush, our sense of shame. Perhaps most sickening of all, we're learning not to care.
OUR SOCIETY is sick. We are no longer a "great" society, no longer even a "good" society. Our society is becoming evil. We have lost our way. We don't know what we stand for, where we're going, who or what we are. We have no goal. All you see around you today — the problems that concern people most — are but symptoms of a dread national sickness. The price-rigging executive, the turned-off, long-haired youth, the screaming hard-hat, the violent demonstrators, the sick killer — these are mere symptoms of a deeper malaise. We're just not "good" any more. We're losing our sense of what is "good." We're floundering in a mad sea of hate, where bickering, backbiting, name-calling, fault-finding, blame-placing and biased labelism replaces kindness, patience, understanding, and love. Why? What's happening to us? A president is burned in effigy, and a war criminal is a hero. The kids who scornfully ridicule the "establishment" for its "hang-ups" scream for the legalization of "pot," and the right to their own terrible hang-up. Lampooning the establishment for its habits, they demand legal permission to plunge into their own ever more degenerative habits. We seek to replace evil with evil, add poison to poison, pile abuse upon abuse, hoping all this constitutes a cure for our ills. Criminals are admired, and public protests cry out for their absolution and release. Sensational trials elicit sobs of sympathy for the accused, and calloused indifference toward the victims or the loved ones of the victims. We have lost our sense of values. We're not sure, now, what is "truth" or "right." And in this lies a more deadly peril for America than any other problem of our age. Still, in spite of the desperate need to recapture lost values and to rekindle the spiritual and moral principles we have trodden underfoot — perhaps the deepest sickness of all is our inability to care. Millions do care; but too many millions — far too many — do not.
People's "MIS" concern
Ask most Americans what issue concerns them the most. With almost bovine-like placidity, they'll answer "Vietnam." Why? They know the war is "bad." Somehow all the demonstrations have finally hit home. Millions of Americans, more "hawkish" toward American involvement in Vietnam only a few years ago, are being gradually brought around to the anti-war view which they scorned only months before. Surely, Americans are dying in Vietnam, albeit not anywhere nearly approaching the rate of those dying yearly on our streets and highways, or from heart disease, cancer, or any number of other diseases, but dying, nevertheless. So they want the boys home. Now. But it's apparently perfectly all right to maintain any number of troops in South Korea, in Europe, or other areas of the world where U.S. troops go daily about the business of helping the United States police the entire globe. The concern over Vietnam is highly illustrative of our lack of VALUES, and our wrong sense of PRIORITY! Of course Vietnam is a useless, no-win war, with an enemy granted sanctuary, where "victory" is not now, and never has been, the policy. This magazine has continually documented the hugely burdensome costs, not only in human life and property, but in the American economy, of the Vietnam War. And we have also continually said Vietnam will soon be paled into insignificance in the face of the really HUGE problems of the near future! Recent Gallup Polls illustrated once again our lack of perception — our wrong priorities. We become disturbed over terrible consequences. We are earnestly desirous of removing certain effects, while we are totally unconcerned with the CAUSES that produce those consequences — those effects. Look at the list of on-the-street concerns of most Americans. A recent Gallup Poll showed the first concern to be Vietnam. Then followed the economy, other international problems, drug addiction, crime and ecology. Then came education, and finally, at the bottom of the list (only 2 percent placed this as the most important problem facing the U.S.) came the morals crisis, and our spiritual poverty! Where went our sense of values? Are we so stupefied by sensationalized stories of the Vietnam war, so dull-witted by the more than five hours per day spent in watching television, so brainwashed by the continual hue and cry of the protesters, so mindlessly driven by our own fleshly appetites and desires that we can no longer see the plain CAUSE of our problems? For every effect there is a CAUSE. Things don't just "happen." Things are caused to happen. The Gallup Poll proves most of us tend to look to the effect of evil causes, and attempt to remove the effect. We seldom delve deeper, discovering the CAUSE of the evil effect, and strive to remove the cause. While we struggle mightily over the effects — rioting, demonstrating, worrying, legislating, voting, protesting, or even praying — we leave undiscovered, and undisturbed, the basic, underlying CAUSE of the effects we seek to remove! It is our lack of right education (placed second from the bottom as a concern of most Americans), our lack of understanding the TRUE VALUES of life — what we are, where we're going, what is our PURPOSE in life — that is a major CAUSE of many of our evils all around us. It is primarily our utter lack of contact with God, OUR CHARACTER drain that lies at the root of ALL our other problems.
America's Character Drain
Our people are growing sicker. Most of us have failed in our personal duty. Parents have failed in their responsibility toward their children; parents have failed toward each other; our homes and families are in a rapid process of disintegration; and we don't seem to care. We most desperately need to recapture sound, true values — and it MUST BEGIN IN THE HOME! Character is the result of motive. Motive is produced by having a GOAL. But America has no goal. There is no great cause toward which we unitedly press. There is no transcendental commission sacred to us all — no great, supranational calling, or mission, which inspires us and drives us on toward achievement. Even the great causes of the past — "Manifest Destiny," "White Man's Burden" — are suspect in our modern frenzy of destruction of all historical values. Because we have no GOAL toward which we all press — we lack unifying MOTIVE. Lacking motive, a driving, energizing desire to fulfill a purpose, we have no reason for building CHARACTER! Character is the ability to determine right from wrong, and then to force the self to choose the right. Character, then, demands SACRIFICE of the WRONG. But most of us aren't even sure what is "right" and what is "wrong" any more. Oh, we may have a fairly good idea, all right, but it's more "chic" and "modern" to give in to the siren song of ultra-liberalism, God-rejecting atheism and modernism, and the pedantic, scholarly disclaimers of creation, their ideas couched in vaguely titillating, scientific and intellectual phraseology which appears to smack of "education." It has become "fashionable" now to proclaim one's ignorance. So, lacking a deep and profound belief in our God, and His Commandments, we flounder in a nightmare of disagreement and backbiting, looking worriedly at the hugely dangerous problems in a world armed to its nuclear teeth, nit-picking, griping, complaining, name-calling and protesting — but never seeming to really accomplish anything. Today, Americans disagree about America. Millions don't know what America is — and millions cannot agree on what she should be. During the 60's, Britain worried over its "brain drain." Drastic economic sickness in the British Isles led thousands of promising young professionals — doctors, dentists, scientists, engineers — to seek out other, more rewarding places to practice their skills. Britain worried, naturally, over this flow of trained skilled professionals, seeing in this "brain drain" a threat to future British security. But for the past several decades, and especially during the 60's both Britain and America have been experiencing a serious CHARACTER' drain! Yet, neither seems really disturbed by it. It is placed LAST on a list of public concern. We're losing our capacity for outrage. We're the new "unshockables." Nothing seems to inspire in us that kind of righteous anger against evil, that indignation against sin, which once seemed a part of our societies. Today, we tolerate drugs, venereal disease, divorce, premarital and extramarital sex, and illegitimacy. Adultery is not only "tolerated" but openly ADVOCATED, even by members of the clergy. Our homes disintegrate, and our schools have become chaotic assemblages of confused children, subjected to overcrowded and archaic facilities, an avalanche of purely physiological and fleshly "knowledge" about sex, and ready availability of drugs — even down into the elementary grades. Only recently, one school board in a major city in Canada banned Ambassador College booklets against crime, drugs, and hippieism from its schools, falsely labeling the booklets "essentially a right-wing diatribe" and "John Birch Society material" which, in every detail, is a grossly hideous distortion and without the slightest basis in fact. Prayers are not allowed in school. Books against crime and against drugs are not welcome. Our motion pictures and various forms of entertainment grow more grotesquely violent — and we wonder what causes brutalities among our youth, and bizarre bloody "thrill kills" reminiscent of the most horrifying of the science-fiction and murder movies. The symptoms are there — they're all around us — but we don't like to admit our sickness. What we need now — and that most urgently — is a healing of the broken, lost SPIRIT. We need to begin — NOW — building strong, righteous CHARACTER. We need to stop the morals toboggan slide into nihilistic abandon, and totally reverse the present character drain into a dynamic buildup of CHARACTER. A nation will be judged — and its future will be determined — not by its GNP, or its stockpiles of nuclear arms, or the size of its industries and technology, but by its CHARACTER. Not only are we rapidly losing character, but we're losing the ability to discern our character loss. In 1968, it was determined that forty-two percent of all Americans held the view that the United States was a "sick society." Hopefully, even more than forty-two percent recognize this deepening malaise today. A spokesman for Gallup, who conducted the poll, said those who think the nation is sick offered reasons of two types, causes and symptoms, such as the amount of rioting and killing, lack of sufficient law enforcement, laxity of courts, breakdown in morals, shunning of religion, poor upbringing, lack of individual initiative, and general selfishness. The fifty-two percent who rejected the idea that their society is sick said only a "small number of individuals are to blame for crime," too much publicity is given to crime, and "society is no worse than it was in the past." They said the United States is no worse than other countries, and society is not sick, but merely confused. In another poll by the Long Beach Press Telegram, several people were asked the question, "Do we live in a sick society?" A model answered, "I don't know about other people; I'm not. If people are happy doing their own thing, that's up to them." An electrician's comment was, "There's nothing wrong with society as a whole." In answering the same question, "Do we live in a sick society?" a college student flatly stated, "I don't think so. Oh, you find an occasional dud in society, but generally things are just getting more modern." A laborer's view was, "No. Society is no different now than ever. If anything it's better..." Finally, an unemployed man asked. "What's wrong with it [society]?" Such delightfully uninformed euphoria may at least bring noninvolved tranquility to those holding such a hazy view — but the facts are otherwise. During the decade of the 60's, while population rose 11 percent, crime soared 122 percent! Arrests in 1968 for drug violations were over four times as high as in 1960. Arrests of youths increased during the same period 78 percent, while the number of persons in the age group rose only 25 percent. About fifteen-and-a-half thousand Americans were murdered in 1970, alone. Those who deny the grisly statistics are simply uninformed and living in their own dream world, where nothing is really true, until it touches their own personal lives. So, while our deadly character drain continues, millions play a childish game of "make-believe," pretending all is well, and we're not really much worse than we ever were. And this — this blind refusal to acknowledge our moral and spiritual poverty — is the worst sickness of all.
No Transcendental Goal
Our people don't know what they are — nor where they're going. We have no common goal. This is a time when history's strongest single nation should be leading the world out of its terrible troubles, showing the world how to live, the way to peace, the way to happiness, the way to the really good life, NOT just materially, but qualitatively. But instead of responding to this greatest of challenges and discovering the real SOLUTIONS to this world's problems, our people seem determined to degenerate into a loosely knit agglomeration of self-seekers, engaged in a last frenzy of personal entertainment, interrupted only by temper tantrums against our own obnoxious environment. We are losing CHARACTER. And character results from a strong sense of purpose — a goal. Unless a person is striving toward something, he'll lack the drive and initiative to forego debilitating, passing pleasures. Unless he is inspired by a great CAUSE, he'll lack the willingness to sacrifice for that cause. Character is the ability to determine the right from the wrong, and then to force the self to choose the right. But such a decision would never be made unless there were a desired result stemming from such choice. Today, our people have no grand, global, historical mission which they feel obligated to fulfill. We're not sure who, or what, we are, not sure what our p/ace in this world should be, and not sure what lies ahead. We have no great, supranational, transcendental GOAL that pushes us on, that unites us, that inspires us, that causes us to sacrifice. While millions comfort themselves, pursuing their own selfish interests, the nation disintegrates. Powerful forces within the nation seek protection from the very laws of the nation they seek to destroy. Disruptive elements seek to create chaos, disorder, and violence — and are met with elaborately careful handling by authorities and are studiously ignored by the majority. Millions hope that, if they pretend the chaos is not real, it will go away. Because our only goals are intensely personal ones — greater wealth, greater possession, greater fame or attention, more leisure time, more enjoyment, more "fun" — we fail to care for greater, national or supranational goals. A government that began enlarging American involvement in Vietnam under the catch-phrase "fulfilling our commitments" soon found itself plagued by a demonstrating public that neither recognized the meaning of the term "commitment" nor cared to learn its meaning, since being "committed" to ANY great cause or purpose beyond momentary pleasures obtained for self had become a concept beyond their sensual perception. Lacking a great, single, unifying goal as a people, lacking a deep sense of responsibility toward each other, and toward all mankind, we may soon find our world filled with enemies who will unite behind a common goal we seem determined to achieve for them, by default — that of our own destruction. For a time, a rich nation may indulge itself. It may be able, for a short span, to make its single goal and purpose the ever greater gratification of its own spoiled citizens. But only for a time. Then, finally, the enmities it will incur abroad, and the debilitating and enervating exhaustion it will experience at home, will bring it to disaster.
It's Not Too Late, Yet
It's not too late for America. But it's much, much later than we think! Unless something is done, and done quickly, to heal the spirit of our peoples — to unite us behind a common cause which has the stuff of GREATNESS, a challenge reaching to the stars for its all-consuming importance, a goal worthy of great individual and collective sacrifice — unless such a goal is captured by our peoples, and soon, then we are only writing another modern record of Sodom. We're another tottering Rome showing the decay of indulgence, stupidly failing to recognize the symptoms of our own sickness. We, engaged in this worldwide WORK over television, radio, and via the printed page, are bending every effort to WARN our peoples of their incredible lethargy, and their shocking character drain. We cry out for a healing of the HOME and FAMILY. (You should read, immediately, our free booklets on Your MARRIAGE Can be Happy, The Plain Truth About Child Rearing, and Modern Dating - Key to Success or Failure in Marriage) We cry out about the terrible CRIME that plagues us like a dreaded national disease (read our booklet on Crime) We strive to warn our peoples of the curse of DRUG ABUSE (read the free booklet titled New Facts About Marijuana). We try to continually deal with the ISSUES at hand, and to always see those issues in the light and perspective of carnal, selfish, self-seeking HUMAN NATURE. We recognize the massiveness of our problems and fully understand that only a deeply aroused, rededicated, inspired, concerted effort among hundreds of thousands, and MILLIONS, in their homes and families, in their private lives — an effort to BUILD CHARACTER, to REPENT of our terrible moral degeneracy and sins, to CAPTURE the SPIRIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS for our peoples — ONLY SUCH A TOTAL COMMITMENT BY ALL OUR PEOPLES CAN SAVE US FROM NATIONAL CALAMITY! We know this to be true. That's why Ambassador College is a character building institution. That's why the publications we send around the world, free of charge, continually urge our peoples — and all peoples — to understand the CAUSES of our many domestic and world problems, and to recapture the true values of life! We strive, through this magazine, and through TOMORROW'S WORLD magazine (devoted to more powerful, spiritual type articles than generally seen in The PLAIN TRUTH), to fulfill what we earnestly and sincerely recognize as a GREAT GOAL! Can there be any greater goal than the most urgent drive to HEAL THE SPIRIT OF OUR PEOPLES? Can there be any more desperate NEED, today? Imbued with the visionary purpose of spreading this message of wholesome, truthful, common sense to people, our young students at the three Ambassador College campuses come to know the meaning of sacrifice, and of purpose in their lives. They nearly all come to have a DEEP desire to become a PART of this great Work — devoting themselves in whatever way they can, whether by helping with writing, teaching, speaking, visiting other people, working in the Press, or Data Processing Center, or in the Physical Plant Department — being a daily PART of something in which they fervently believe. If you are a young person of college age, and you're sick of some of the hideous problems of this present age, then perhaps you might be "Ambassador Material." If so, you should write for our free brochure, This Is Ambassador College, or direct a letter to the Registrar, and enquire about admissions policies. Millions want to know, "But what can I do?" You can GET INVOLVED, first, by looking into your OWN life! First comes a deeply personal, honest, introspective appraisal of SELF. First comes recognition of your own needs. Then will come a desire to help other people experience the same drastic changes you can come to recognize in your own life. That's what Ambassador is all about. It's "boot camp" for life. It's the "West Point" for this worldwide Work, of which this magazine is only one sample. It's the place for young people to GET INVOLVED! If you're curious, really curious, about just WHO and WHAT we are, and WHY we're sending you these straight-talk, informative and challenging articles, then look deeper. Read our free subscription to TOMORROW'S WORLD magazine, and find out how character begins at home!