Well, hallelujah. The discussion about America and its place in the world and its decline is broadening. FOX News’ hour long “Surrendering America” being the latest commentary on what has become obvious in the past 5 ½ years. longer even. America is in decline. Some of it is due to social evolution, demographics, immigration both legal and illegal. Some of it is caused by politicos who blame America for many of the world’s ills. Whatever the causes, and there are several, the future of America and the world will be much different to that which we have grown up with and taken for granted.
America’s decline has been the subject of some good books over the past two decades. In 1996 Judge Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah,” describes the unfolding cultural events in America that seem to parallel William Butler Yeats’ 1919 poem, "The Second Coming";
The centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity…And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
Bork’s comment on the first page of his book responds to Yeats poem and, disturbingly, predicts the future of America in the coming decade and a half;
The rough beast of decadence, a long time in gestation, having reached its maturity in the last three decades, now sends us slouching towards our new home, not Bethlehem but Gomorrah.”
Bork describes American culture as moving away from spirituality as The Greatest Generation dies off, to one where a cultural breakdown occurs as “radical individualism” and “radical egalitarianism” compete against tradition societal norms.
He points out that both are “antagonistic to society’s traditional morality.”
Radical individualism because by its nature it seeks to be free from authority, meaning; ignoring standards, tradition and the law; aka anarchy.
And, radical egalitarianism because it necessarily pushes us towards a collectivism that uses the power of the state to suppress the inequalities that freedom always produces. The inevitable result being, as Winston Churchill observed, “…the equal sharing of misery.”
Bork lamented the loss of religion, and its morality, in our society. He doubted that there would be enough “secular moralists” in society to maintain civilized standards in America. Thus far, he is right.
I had the honor of meeting Judge Bork in the fall of 1996 in the Green Room of a Washington, DC television station. He looked exhausted and was coming off the back end of his book tour promoting “Slouching Towards Gomorrah” which I had just finished reading (for the first time).
What’s it going to take for the American people to wake up?” he was asked.
“I don’t think they’re gonna wake up,” he replied.
“What you’re saying then, is we’re essentially doomed,” I responded.
"What I’m saying," he looked up at me wearily, "is, we’re essentially doomed.”
I doubted him, then. I don’t doubt him now.
Bork ends Slouching by predicting,
…the coming torching of America’s intellectual and moral capital by the barbarians of modern liberalism.”
Although it isn’t all politics that is leading the American decline, it is accelerated by politics.
If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves. – Winston Churchill