Shame is the cultural glue that holds a society together. Shame is a necessary element for a free society.
In the past, people were ashamed to be on welfare and public assistance. This was a good thing. In the past, people were ashamed to have broken homes or illegitimate children. This was a good thing. In the past, people were ashamed of being fat. This was a good thing! These are all behaviors which ought to be discouraged in a healthy society.
We today decry "shaming" wherever it is found. We've come to think of shame as an evil which must be eradicated from society for the good of our self-esteem (Ego).
In truth, one of the primary causes for the decline of Western civilization is our fundamental lack of shame. If anything, we need more shame, not less.
Moral relativism has ingrained in us the notion that all paths are equally valid, that there is no such thing as an ideal society, ideal behavior, ideal man or woman. This couldn't be further from the truth... and we all know it, when we are honest with ourselves.
We've lost an understanding of what "tolerance" means. Anything which is not inherently bad, harmful, unhealthy, should of course be tolerated. But to tolerant bad, harmful, unhealthy behavior or individuals is basically irrational.
Antisocial behavior should not be tolerated. Obesity should not be tolerated. Poverty and dependence should not be tolerated. Poor parenting should not be tolerated. Laziness and passivity should not be tolerated. This is common sense, but we've gotten lost in the progressive fetish for bucking the status quo.
It is true that shaming can go too far, or be applied to the wrong behaviors. It is true that the opinions of the mob can be stupid or insane. This does not imply that shame should be eliminated entirely. Shame is one of the most fundamental and useful tools for keeping a society functioning efficiently and effectively.
Shame fulfills the function of controlling individual and group behavior without resorting to direct State intervention, and this is highly desirable for maintaining a free society. Any time we can collectively correct bad behavior, without the need for government decree and bureaucratic entanglement, we should celebrate. With the loss of shame has come the rise of oversized, excessively regulated government. If something is bad, we reason, it should be illegal, rather than shameful. This inverts the basis for civilization, removing the responsibility from the citizens themselves and handing it over to an elite to rule over us.
If you feel shamed, and you know in your heart the shame is justified, you should be glad; your brain is functioning correctly. You should be grateful that others have shown you the error of your ways and given you the impetus for change. Don't shame others for shaming you. Have the humility to admit your fault and thank them for directing you toward happiness and success.
Date of publication: April 17, 2016