For many conservatives, Herbert London, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has been a longtime favorite when it comes to analyzing the current health of Western Civilization. Here is a recent example of why that is:
There is a relentless driving sound in America. It is a pneumatic drill pounding away at the nation’s moral anchors. The mediating structures that maintained equilibrium are the targets.
Schools that once transmitted knowledge about the republic are now repositories of ignorance, even hateful ignorance about America’s “malignant” role in the world. The flag once a synecdoche of what our citizens believe and admire has been transformed into a symbol of evil. On top of the misguided and one-sided treatment of the past, is the dumbing down of the population so that very few Americans can find Egypt on a map or calculate 8 times 9 without a calculator. We spend more for less effect each year. Teachers claim they need additional funds, but attainment lags. It is an odd economic model in which new resources achieve predictably dismal results.
The family – the bedrock of the Republic – is in dire shape. Divorce is still at an all-time high level and illegitimacy is a staggering proposition of new births, e.g. 72 percent of black children are the products of out of wedlock homes. Gang leaders are surrogate fathers in many ghetto communities. This isn’t Boko Haram in Nigeria which kidnaps children from parental lairs; these are children ensnared by men who offer guidance and friendship. But the result isn’t so different.
Churches once established the moral parameters for behavior. They were a guide to right and wrong, the superego for young minds searching for existential truths. How quickly they have been submerged in the tidal wave of relativism. Truth is now what you want it to be and morality is a question of sentiment. The tablets of natural law frozen in the sphere of human existence crumbled like pie crust. Even the Ten Commandments have become the Ten Recommendations. If there is a God, he should be held secretly within the cavity of one’s heart. Public displays of religious sentiment have been largely banned through the avatars of church-state separation.
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