What is becoming of the nation’s conscience?Do you ever have reminders from your conscience when you are doing or even consider doing something wrong? I do, and sometimes wonder exactly where those reminders were formed. My mother was the main one I assume. Farm Dad was probably outside when most of the teaching was done — church, later, and good friends did some of it.
By: Bernie Hughes, Superior Telegram
Do you ever have reminders from your conscience when you are doing or even consider doing something wrong? I do, and sometimes wonder exactly where those reminders were formed. My mother was the main one I assume. Farm Dad was probably outside when most of the teaching was done — church, later, and good friends did some of it.
One such good friend, Red Elk in Poplar, Mont., many years ago gave me an illustrated definition that I’ve never forgotten. He said your conscience is like a tin can lid cover, cut out with tin snips and buried inside you. When you know you are doing something wrong it turns and those sharp, ragged edges cut, hurt and cause you to stop. But unfortunately, if you keep doing wrong, that lid will finally cut its way, a path, and spin rather freely.
He said Adolph Hitler was such an individual in his passion for killing Jews. Red Elk would say “those people become bad people; stay far away from them.”
Red Elk is long gone, but his definition of conscience has stuck with me. I know the feeling whenever, my actions, if performed, would hurt other people. That is the very worst kind of ignoring conscience. One of my reasons these days, I have three signs on my car bumpers that say, “War is not the answer!” Why, oh why, have we got into so many wars in the past few years? It was wonderful news to me when the public rose up and gave our president serious rebuttal for considering one recently.
Some quotes from individuals of substance about conscience:
“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent” — Edmund Burke.
I’d add each of us in our democracy.
“Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it” — Albert Einstein.
“There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts” — Mahatma Gandhi
“There is nothing more dangerous than the conscience of a bigot” — George Bernard Shaw. Lincoln freed the slaves, and Civil Rights Law was conscience driven but it hasn’t rooted all bigotry.
Is there any cause today for our conscience to turn and hurt. One is the wide use of drones and the many innocent people we’ve killed and called, by a conscience hiding, understated term known as “collateral damage.”
Even more recent is the shutdown of government, which shut down tours of national park and museums, and the National Institutes of Health. This caused the furlough of nearly three fourths of the staff. About 200 patients who would have been admitted are turned away including about 30 children, most of them with cancer, Director. Francis Collins has most recently reported.
Do you feel that unpleasant turn of conscience that Red Elk explained to me?
Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at bernie3024@