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The decline in moral standards—which has long concerned social analysts—has at last captured the attention of average Americans. And Jean Bethke Elshtain, for one, is glad.
The fact the ordinary citizens are now starting to think seriously about the nation’s moral climate, says this ethics (伦理学) professor at the University of Chicago, is reason to hope that new ideas will come forward to improve it.
But the challenge is not to be underestimated. Materialism and individualism in American society are the biggest obstacles. “The thought that ‘I’m in it for me’ has become deeply rooted in the national consciousness,” Ms. Elshtain says.
Some of this can be attributed to the disintegration of traditional communities, in which neighbors looked out for one another, she says. With today’s greater mobility and with so many couples working, those bonds have been weakened, replaced by a greater emphasis on self.
In a 1996 poll of Americans, loss of morality topped the list of the biggest problems facing the U.S. and Elshtain says the public is correct to sense that: Data show that Americans are struggling with problems unheard of in the 1950s, such as classroom violence and a high rate of births to unmarried mothers.
The desire for a higher moral standard is not a lament (挽歌) for some nonexistent “golden age,” Elshtain says, nor is it a wishful (一厢情愿的) longing for a time that denied opportunities to women and minorities. Most people, in fact, favor the lessening of prejudice.
Moral decline will not be reversed until people find ways to counter the materialism in society, she says. “Slowly, you recognize that the things that matter are those that cant’ be bought.”
36. Professor Elshtain is pleased to see that Americans ________.
A) have adapted to a new set of moral standards
B) are longing for the return of the good old days
C) have realized the importance of material things
D) are awakening to the lowering of their moral standards
37. The moral decline of American society is caused manly by ________.
A) its growing wealth
B) the self-centeredness of individuals
C) underestimating the impact of social changes
D) the prejudice against women and minorities
38. Which of the following characterizes the traditional communities?
A) Great mobility.
B) Concern for one’s neighbors.
C) Emphasis on individual effort.
D) Ever-weakening social bonds.
39. In the 1950s, classroom violence ________.
A) was something unheard of
B) was by no means a rare occurrence
C) attracted a lot of pubic attention
D) began to appear in analysts’ data
40. According to Elshtain, the current moral decline may be reversed ________.
A) if people can return to the “golden age”
B) when women and mean enjoy equal rights
C) when people rid themselves of prejudice
D) if less emphasis is laid on material things
36. D 37. B 38. B 39.A 40. D
In the 1960s, medical researchers Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe developed a checklist of stressful events. They appreciated the tricky point that any major change can be stressful. Negative events like “serious illness of a family member” were high on the list, but so were some positive life-changing events, like marriage. When you take the Holmes-Rahe test you must remember that the score does not reflect how you deal with stress—it
only shows how much you have to deal with. And we now know that the way you handle these events dramatically affects your chances of staying healthy.
By the early 1970s, hundreds of similar studies had followed Holmes and Rahe. And millions of Americans who work and live under stress worried over the reports. Somehow, the research got boiled down to a memorable message. Women’s magazines ran headlines like “Stress causes illness!” If you want to stay physically and mentally healthy, the articles said, avoid stressful events.
But such simplistic advice is impossible to follow. Even if stressful events are dangerous, many—like the death of a loved one—are impossible to avoid. Moreover, any warning to avoid all stressful events is a prescription (处方) for staying away from opportunities as well as trouble. Since any change can be stressful, a person who wanted to be completely free of stress would never marry, have a child, take a new job or move.
The notion that all stress makes you sick also ignores a lot of what we know about people. It assumes we’re all vulnerable (脆弱的) and passive in the face of adversity (逆境). But what about human initiative and creativity? Many come through periods of stress with more physical and mental vigor than they had before. We also know that a long time without change or challenge can lead to boredom, and physical and metal strain.
21. The result of Holmes-Rahe’s medical research tells us ________.
A) the way you handle major events may cause stress
B) what should be done to avoid stress
C) what kind of event would cause stress
D) how to cope with sudden changes in life
22. The studies on stress in the early 1970’s led to ________.
A) widespread concern over its harmful effects
B) great panic over the mental disorder it could cause
C) an intensive research into stress-related illnesses
D) popular avoidance of stressful jobs
23. The score of the Holmes-Rahe test shows ________.
A) how much pressure you are under
B) how positive events can change your life
C) how stressful a major event can be
D) how you can deal with life-changing events
24. Why is “such simplistic advice” (Line 1, Para. 3) impossible to follow?
A) No one can stay on the same job for long.
B) No prescription is effective in relieving stress.
C) People have to get married someday.
D) You could be missing opportunities as well.
25. According to the passage people who have experienced ups and downs may become ____.
A) nervous when faced with difficulties
B) physically and mentally strained
C) more capable of coping with adversity
D) indifferent toward what happens to them
21. C 22. A 23. A 24.D 25.C