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Longing for a Return to Good and Proven


Arguably, the world is being turned on its head. Again. This happens from time to time. Remember the Roman Empire?

Rome’s fall was easy to see coming. Well, in retrospect. Internal corruption, moral deterioration, crippling taxes and a self-indulgent bread-and-circus atmosphere left Rome fatally vulnerable to decay from within and destruction from without. Sound like anything we experience today?

The Caesars’ power, the Colosseum’s majesty, the Pax Romana and legions of shield-carrying centurions all were reduced to memories.

Yet, in time from Rome’s ashes emerged the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Christian West, the prosperity, democracy and the rule of law and a lofty shared morality. Granted, it took centuries, but when Rome was reduced to rubble, who would have predicted such a turn around?

Something arguably as far-reaching as Rome’s fall began 55 years ago when the FDA approved the first commercially produced birth control pill. Things haven’t been the same since. An exaggeration, you say?

“The pill” initially was proposed by Margaret Sanger, founder of the nation’s largest abortion-providing organization, Planned Parenthood. However you measure the fallout of mothers having their babies in the womb stabbed, carved and variously dismembered unto death, then their body parts scavenged and sold for profit, it can be argued that the pill alone changed America even more.

Even though Americans have killed 56 million babies since abortion was blessed by the highest court, far more than died in the fall of Rome, the toll from the pill has been of greater cultural significance.

The separation of consequences from sex has grieved more people than even abortion’s 56 million mothers.

Doubt it? Let’s weigh the impact of an increasingly decadent culture on every child raised in the United States over a half century.

Is “every child” an exaggeration? Where do you put your children to protect them from the American cultural sewer? The pill and its unleashing of sexual appetites is in large part responsible for this constant assault on their morality.

Other related factors contribute, of course, such as systematic expulsion of religion from public life, and the woman’s movement freeing females from needing men for “meaning” in their lives. Fatherless homes spawn lawless boys and loose girls. But then Rome too was done in by myriad factors, from taxes to Visigoths.

Our recast culture now has school classrooms in which foul-mouthed violent rebellion is permitted, but prayer is not. Now we have countless millions of women complaining they can’t find men worthy of marriage, oblivious that free sex undermined the value of what once was a reward of matrimony. These trends are intractably intertwined with the pill’s sexual revolution, the impetus to removal of moral and practical limitations. Are you adding these up?

After sex became consequence-free recreation, it is no coincidence families began disintegrating, and increasingly are becoming superfluous.

The pill that removed practical restraints left only moral restraint to hold the line against free-for-all sexual expression. Progressives’ “freedom” campaign to feed sexual appetites without regard to consequence undermined religious restraint. How many couples do you know that live together without benefit of marriage? How many did your grandparents know?

Unmoored by morality, we drift. “I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy,” a visiting Chinese Fulbright scholar told Clay Christensen, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. Sometimes it takes an outsider to see the obvious.

Now we embark on another cultural sea change, in the wake of the Supreme Court jettisoning another tried and proven standard – marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The moral issue should be obvious. A half century ago it would have been. But the nation’s moral lens has been blurred by the pill, abortion and sexual freedom.

Is there hope? Sometimes little things provide a glimmer.

In 1964 when the U.S. was awash in significant social change, the era’s iconic Beatles had songs atop U.S. pop charts for three and a half months, longer than any popular artists before or since. Clearly, a new age had arrived on a wave of youth and change, thanks to exotic foreigners.

Then the unlikely happened. A 63-year-old, decidedly American artist whose best days were behind him unseated the Beatles atop the charts. Louis Armstrong broke the Beatles’ stranglehold with his Number 1 hit “Hello Dolly.” Who could have seen that coming?

Let’s not make too much of the analogy. It was only music. But the public longed for something old and familiar, something good and proven. Satchmo’s resurgence, coupled with the public’s retro sentiment changed our direction, if only for a while.

What’s this mean? Probably not much. But in small glimmers yours truly finds hope that the more things change, the sooner appetites long for what’s good and proven. Then maybe the current cultural downward spiral can be reversed.


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