Along with the racial crisis, the slippage in private and public morals speaks insistently to our national conscience. Recent issues of Look, reporting on “The Tense Generation” and surveying the relation of “Bigness, the Bomb and the Buck” to moral decline; Life’s exposé of party-crashing; book-length discussions such as Margaret Halsey’s bitterly indignant The Pseudo-Ethic, and Grace and Fred Hechinger’s eye-opening Teen-Age Tyranny—these state the problem.

The facts are familiar. No longer do we just read about what is happening in other places. The problem has come to our own communities. None of us, to be sure, is entitled to view the moral lapses of others, young or old, with any feeling of superiority; Paul’s word, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall,” is for every Christian. Yet we cannot shut our eyes to what is happening to moral standards in our country. And to continue discussion of the problem is obligatory.

The diagnosis has been made in frightening and authentic detail. For this public service, the mass media and the many others who have spoken out are to be thanked. But diagnosis, although the first step toward remedy, is not enough.

Of common-sense suggestions about what to do—a return to basic integrity, the practice of more self-restraint, no longer following the crowd but going the way of individual conviction—there can be little criticism. Nevertheless Look’s carefully researched article, “Morality U.S.A.,” to turn to a popular coverage of the problem, leads to some questions. These relate not so much to the accuracy of facts presented as to the analysis of their cause. Moreover, the soundness of the conclusion that is reached requires evaluation.

Three institutions in our American ...

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