OPINION: The Fall of Civilization

I am concerned that so many well-meaning citizens, with conservative instincts, feel the need to apologize for loving their nation. Or if not to apologize, then to add so many hyphens, asterisks, and qualifications, so as to render totally useless the notion of their patriotism.

It needs to be made perfectly clear, in these divisive times, that the purpose of this work is to set the record straight: The United States of America is the greatest nation to ever grace the annals of history.

At the time of this writing, Western civilization is grappling with the greatest challenge of its short reign. This challenge does not come from any outside threat, nor from fear of military occupation or economic upheaval, but from a civilization wide debate over whether or not it has the moral right to exist.

Its detractors can be found taking to the streets — burning, looting, pillaging, and tearing down monuments to our history and heroes. They can also be found in the press — harping, lying, doxing, and smearing anyone who dares resist their commandments. But the source of their claims, undoubtedly, comes from Academia, where the “intelligent” elite take advantage of the taxpayer’s generous contributions in order to remake our institutions into the instrument of a radicalized political left hellbent on ushering in a new age.

The core of this debate originates from the emergence of postmodernism as a governing philosophy. Postmodernists argue that the politics of the present can be completely explained by inequalities in the form of class, race, and gender disparities. They further argue that the only way to advance as a civilization is to correct these disparities, as quickly and directly as possible, by attacking “privilege,” “racism,” and “misogyny” wherever they can find it — and they find it everywhere.

The status quo, as they have made it, has become a tyranny of the mob. Anyone who disagrees with their tenants is publicly condemned, harassed, stalked, intimidated until they apologize, or society rejects them, or both. It is a culture that seeks to cancel opposition and stifle open and honest debate.

This new governing philosophy does not plan to bring people together for common solutions to mainstream issues. Its aim is to extract reparations for all manner of misdeeds, while ignoring its own faults, to punish anyone who doesn’t fit neatly into their complex network of victim-hood classifications. This is the single most destructive emerging philosophy since Karl Marx’s ideology kicked off the 20th Century with class strife and ignition of Communism.

The fabled former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, once declared, “if we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find we have lost the future.” A quote this powerful should ring eternal through the ages and anyone keeping up with modern times knows this to be true.

The sad nature of mankind is that we are a tragic species. From our inception, we failed to ward off even basic temptations at the Garden of Eden. Since that time, all of human history has been a string of horrors, atrocities, death, and chaos. Despite our flawed and pessimistic nature, we have an advanced civilization, not by brooding over the past, but by championing the future. We must make a point to get back to that, because returning, instead, to the age-old hunt for grievances will tear the Western world apart. For that reason alone, we must reject postmodernism.

But we must also concede that the angst, the anger, and the confusion that fuels this destructive philosophy are justified and rational. How can we not? Society is breaking down, at the individual level, causing our people to suffer in ways that we haven’t seen since the fall of Rome.

Former white house adviser, Pat Buchanan wrote in his book, Suicide of a Superpower, that, “there has been a precipitous decline in the character of our people. We are not the people our parents were. We are not even the people we used to be.” Our culture has certainly changed over the last 100 years. In fact, our culture is virtually indistinguishable from even the last 20 years.

This change, not for the better, has resulted in a society-wide demolition of the coherence of our communities and values, the strength and prevalence of the nuclear family, and the independence of the individual. In short, the value of American citizenship, and indeed the citizenship of the Western world, is in a place of rapid decline, and this horror leaves us with nowhere else on earth to look to for leadership.

Across our political discourse, the institutions that made the West the most powerful civilization in history are under attack.

In 2018, The New York Post published an article titled, “Faith is no longer a virtue in America.” The article highlights several key points about the direction our culture has taken in recent years. In one instance, it points to an encounter with Joy Behar, co-host of The View, in which she criticized Vice President Mike Pence for expressing his Christian faith in public.

In her criticism, she declares, “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness if I’m not correct . . . hearing voices.” After her remark, the audience broke out into thunderous applause. The Christian faith is not only losing its revered status among the American public, but it is also now considered an undesirable trait among our cultural elite.

The Pew Research Center also studies this change in our nation’s demographics, reporting in 2019 that 65% of Americans identify, broadly, as Christian. This is down from 81% in 1990 and 75% in 2015. The Christian faith is declining faster than previously known and this is a very recent change. At this rate, Christianity will be a plurality, rather than a majority, religion in the next decade.

But this decline shouldn’t surprise you. Our worship leaders — priests and pastors alike — have abdicated their duty to serve the community. Today, you are more likely to see the church taking controversial stances on contemporary political issues than you are to see them fostering the growth, health, and well being of the American family.

Controversial pastors, like Joel Osteen, can be found watering down the faith and using the donated proceeds on immaculate homes and expensive cars. This madness is rewarded by today’s culture with a TV show and millions of followers on social media. Meanwhile, the bedrock, rank, and file of the Christian faith, is struggling to find money to build wells for fresh water in poor communities in Africa or rebuilding homes after earthquakes in South America. The good work of honest Christians is shunned and ignored. It’s just not sexy enough for cultural elites like Joy Behar to bother reporting.

As this institution of Western civilization fails, it should be no surprise that the family is in decline also. In 2019, the Pew Research Center reported that 23% of children were born into single-parent households in the United States of America. This was also the highest rate of single-parent households found in any nation on earth.

The Pew Research Center also reports that in 1960 the percentage of children raised in single-parent homes was only 9%. Likewise, the percentage of children raised by both of their birth parents in a stable household has fallen from 73% in 1960 to 46% in 2015.

This level of displacement of the nuclear family is of biblical proportions. The idea that 1 in 4 children in this country is raised without a solid foundation should concern you. This isn’t just some number used to make an argument. It’s a statistical measurement of an entire emerging demographic that is dramatically more likely to commit crime, drop out of school, and perpetuate their cycle of broken families and abuse.

But the biggest change, by far, has been the dramatic and systematic devaluation of the American citizen — the individual. As we speak, postmodernists are hurriedly putting together next year’s liberal arts curriculum in our K-12 public schools. It features the arts, theater, band, and creative writing courses that all promote postmodernist doctrine in the classroom.

Notably, this curriculum will not feature a single moment of personal finance education and, if it is mentioned at all, it is only mentioned in passing. CNBC reported in 2015 that an incredible 75% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. The same article also highlights that families making in excess of $100,000 per year also struggle to make ends meet.

How is this possible? Conservative radio personality, and financial guru, Dave Ramsey has made a career out of helping Americans figure out their finances. On his show, he often points to his own research that shows 75% of Americans don’t do monthly budgeting and have no idea where their money is going.

The individual, no longer embracing faith, having no experience with building a healthy family, now also has no idea how to manage money. And the result of this failure of our public schools, our academics, our media, and our government, has been a colossal growth in consumer debt that threatens to destroy the financial solvency of America at any waking moment.

Dave Ramsey once famously declared, “Debt is not a tool; it is a method to make banks wealthy, not you. The borrower truly is a slave to the lender.” In the wake of the Coronavirus, the effects of which will not be fully known for decades, we are already seeing this dramatic reality play out in real-time.

For months now, Americans, living paycheck to paycheck, having been forced to remain in their homes, unable to work, and to provide for their families, are now feeling the full force of their failure to budget and to set aside emergency savings. The inevitable result of this will be massive defaults on all manner of personal loans but mortgages will be most affected. Landlords, unable to collect rent for months at a time, will face imminent foreclosure and their tenants, no longer current on their bills, will face imminent eviction.

The failure of our institutions has been brought bare before us. Helpless families everywhere cannot call to the church for aid, because the church is looking inward while America looks away. Struggling individuals cannot look to families for help or comfort, because families have been dismantled for decades. This leaves the American citizen alone, with no one to turn to but a government that has already failed them by encouraging and funding the destruction of their families, communities, and individual sovereignty.

This is a civilizational crisis that must be confronted and corrected. But, in searching for the solution to these issues, we must remember that it wasn’t America or her ideals that failed us. We still live in the greatest nation to ever grace the annals of history.

My contention is that in an America where postmodernists are actively seeking to divide our people along political, racial, gender, and class lines, the only way forward is to reject that division and to find a common national identity that unifies us. Embracing the spirit of our founders, we cannot allow ourselves to become a people that, out of desperation, worship the state, but, instead, we should strive to build a state that worships its people — all of its people.

We must make it the singular focus of our government to promote national unity, empower the individual and maximize the value of American citizenship, not only to save our people but to set an example for the world.