The View from Afar

Writings by retired newspaper publisher Stephen Waters

The fabric of society

FAS00of14 Rome (NY) Sentinel 2015-10-03 October 3, 2015

The fabric of society is woven, one thread at a time, by each individual who learns what matters and why.

A series of fourteen articles about the fabric of society begins today to examine “What can I know?”, “How should I behave?”, and “How should I interact with others?”

When individuals grasp why, it is a testament to the individual, not to public schooling or social studies classes. Centralized schooling has come to exhibit supreme disinterest in history, principle, or the individual. Its different agenda has led it to over simplification cloaked in complex lessons of peripheral value.

History is a teaming sea of experience that cultures can put to the highest or lowest uses. Because it can be compromised, one must be careful as one extracts life lessons to live by. Today’s lack of moral seriousness is a defect that puts us at risk. Lack of moral seriousness occurs when people assume morality can only spring from religion or from shared cultural experience.

That kind of morality may work in a closed community, but gains no traction outside the small circle of believers.

The world is engaged, not in a clash of civilizations, and not even a clash of cultures, but with people who lack understanding about society with others. The “others” may be close friends and neighbors, or foreigners far away.

When people differ, we must understand how they differ and work where we can to find society together, and be ready to defend ourselves where we must. When individuals are nudged to deduce from their unique personal experience what matters and why, each can personally revalidate what is called “character”.

When you master character, character masters you.

Individual articles in the The fabric of society series:

  1. Educating individuals
  2. Individuals create society
  3. Individuals relate to culture through society
  4. Individuals mature using dynamic processes
  5. Individuals were haphazardly taught character
  6. Individuals use experience to produce character
  7. How individual character blossoms
  8. Individuals validate character
  9. Individual principles matter
  10. Individuals validate governance
  11. Individuals take responsibility
  12. Individuals find meaning
  13. Individuals find their place in society
  14. Individuals prepare for the future

Stephen B. Waters

In early 2021, with 46 years in the business, I retired as publisher of the Rome (NY) Daily Sentinel

After five generations of family ownership, despite an unsettled economy, we keep on. We understand that although we may own the newspaper, we hold it in stewardship for the community.

Across my career, so many other small newspapers were purchased by media chains, large newspapers sold their integrity, and broadcast news outfits fell back on superficial entertainment.

They put journalism in this country at risk. The best antidote is for individual readers to arm themselves to recognize the danger to their community, culture, and society itself.