Education at all levels is awash in cheating scandals, and liberals have worked themselves into a self-righteous dither as they bemoan the lack of integrity in students and teachers. For example, recently teachers and principals in the Atlanta public school system were convicted of fraud and taken away in handcuffs to serve prison sentences. Their crime? Giving students the answers on standardized tests and/or changing the answers once tests had been submitted. Even the most prestigious universities in the nation are not immune to cheating. A recent headline off the Associated Press wire read, “Unusual amount of cheating suspected at Stanford.”
There is no question that America has developed a cheating culture. As a college professor, cheating is the most common and persistent student problem my colleagues and I have to deal with. Using smart phones to Google the answers on tests, plagiarism, buying term papers on-line, photographing exams and texting them to friends, and purchasing homework from Internet sites are all common cheating strategies students use frequently. In fact, if some students put half as much effort into studying as they do into cheating they would become star students. When students are caught there is no shame and no remorse, except the remorse they feel over having gotten caught.
As interesting as the cheating phenomenon is, what is even more interesting—not to mention ironic—is to hear liberals hypocritically denouncing America’s cheating culture as if they had nothing to do with creating it. What liberals in their self-absorbed blindness either do not see or refuse to admit is that they are the culprits in the transformation of American society into a culture that admits of no set boundaries concerning right and wrong. Moral relativism is the bedrock principle of contemporary liberalism. It’s is how they justify their commitment to abortion, the redistribution of wealth, and the various other nefarious beliefs of the left.
Thanks to liberals, everything is now relative and individuals are encouraged to set their own parameters concerning morality and ethics. “What is right for me may not be right for you” and vice-versa has become mantra among contemporary liberals, and young people have eagerly internalized this self-servingly convenient philosophy. What young person would not be attracted to a philosophy that allows him or her to decide what is right or wrong? Hence, for students raised in the never-condemn-anything society created by liberals beginning in the 1960s, cheating is just another test-taking strategy.
Cheating students are hardly a new phenomenon. As long as there have been schoolrooms there have been cheaters. But what is new is the number of people who cheat and their attitudes toward cheating. Anyone who teaches at any level above elementary school these days is familiar with the problem. Many students in America would rather cheat than study, and they have no moral qualms about doing it. In the minds of cheating students, the practice is wrong only if they get caught and it is the getting caught that is wrong, not the cheating. In fact, there is no shame in getting caught. The attitude of students who get caught cheating these days is not remorse but a determination to refine their methods. Cheaters who get caught don’t stop cheating they just learn from the experience and refine their cheating skills so as to avoid getting caught in the future.
Writing for the Journal of College & Character, Amanda Weldy had this to say about cheating on campus: “…I find myself thinking of a largely unaddressed problem in our universities today: academic cheating. For the past three years I have become righteously indignant as I witnessed various methods of cheating: ambushing the T.A. for easy answers, appealing to an overly anxious helicopter parent for help on a difficult assignment, or allowing a well-intended friend to do the work for them. I think all of these forms of cheating, and they often involve plagiarism, are a threat to the integrity of those who unwittingly commit them as much as those who knowingly perpetrate them.” To the cheating methods pointed out by Weldy, one could add the covert use of smart phones and similar technologies during tests; perhaps the most common form of cheating these days.
So how did self-righteous liberals contribute to the cheating culture in America? The answer to this question is simple. They did it by taking God out of the classroom, public square, and American life in general and then replacing Him with such concepts as values neutrality and moral relativism. With God there is right and wrong and there is shame in knowingly doing wrong. His Word gives us the values we are to be guided by and the moral framework within which we are to live. But with values neutrality right and wrong are just philosophical constructs that cannot be pinned down. As soon as you claim something is wrong, advocates of values neutrality ask, “According to whose values?” Then they remind those of us who are obviously not members of the enlightened elite that what is wrong for one person may not be wrong for another. As to living within a moral framework, liberals aren’t real keen on that concept either. Their morals are relativistic—moving targets that change according to circumstances and self-interest. With liberals what is right is whatever they want to be right at any given moment in time and under any given circumstances.
It is not difficult to see how values neutrality and moral relativism would lead to a culture of cheating. In both cases, what makes something right or wrong is the self-interest of the individual involved. In other words, if I subscribe to values neutrality and moral relativism, what is good for me is good period. Rather a convenient view of morality is it not? Beginning in the late 1960s and continuing to the present students have been fed a steady diet of values neutrality and moral relativism by liberal elites who control the nation’s public schools, colleges, and universities and use them as vehicles for the force-feeding of their secular humanistic worldview. Now these same moral relativists are crying crocodile tears as they reap what they have sown.
Cheating is just another form of stealing and lying, both of which are proscribed in the Ten Commandments. But therein is the rub. The Ten Commandments and all other aspects of Christian teaching have been squashed by liberal elites who worship the false deities of values neutrality and moral relativism. What is that old saying? “You can’t have it both ways.” Liberals have used fear, intimidation, misinformation, distortion, and raw political power to remove any vestige of Christian values from American life. Liberal organizations such as the ACLU have used lawsuits or the threat of lawsuits to bully schools into eliminating Christian values, symbols, monuments, documents, prayer, and anything else suggesting Christianity from the classroom. Yet now liberals bemoan the nationwide plague of cheating scandals at all levels of education. Reaping what has been sown would not be so bad if the negative impact could somehow be limited to those who did the sowing, but life doesn’t work that way. Liberals created the cheating culture, but all Americans suffer from the negative fallout from it. Those who still believe in right and wrong are just as affected by the culture of cheating as those who subscribe to moral relativism. Unfortunately, those of us who still believe that cheating is wrong have become collateral damage in the left’s war on traditional American values.