Can repairing the moral fiber of our nation lead to the survival of America?
An Apology to the Next Generation
In March, 2013, the always-reliable CNS News reported that, per the most recent data available (2008) by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 19.7 million new venereal infections in the U.S., which brought the number of existing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the U.S. to 110,197,000. To put this in perspective, those 19.7 million new STIs in 2008 vastly outpaced the new jobs and college graduates created in the United States that year or any other year on record, according to government data. By way of contrast, there were 1,524,092 bachelor’s degrees awarded in the 2007-2008 school year, per the National Center for Education Statistics (this is ratio of STIs to bachelor’s degrees of 13:1, or 6:1 in the 15 – 24 year old age group); meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated the number of people employed in the country actually declined by 2.9 million during that year. The report noted the number of workers that year dropped approximately a million (146,273,000 to 143,369), while the average in the post WWII era is an employment increase of 1.3 million per year. In other words, the number of STIs for the most recent data far outstrips both the university degrees and the average job increase the US has historically seen. While gun crime is down (much to the chagrin of the gun grabbers) – apparently bad people would rather steal your money via computer than via a gunpoint robbery – the US prison population is now the largest in the world, both in absolute terms, as well as a percentage of overall population, with approximately one out of every 30 U.S. citizens somewhere in the penal system, if you include probation and similar in the totals. According to the New York Times, with 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners, with 2.3 million behind bars; totalitarian China, which has four times the population, has 1.6 million in jail. There are 751 people in prison per 100,000 in population. No other nation comes close.
In fact, according to The Daily Crux, there are more black people in prison as a result of the drug war today than there were slaves in 1850.
I needn’t continue the litany of woes – you already have the broad outline, most likely, before even reading this. This real issue is the etiology of the problem. And despite the liberal handwringers who come up with yet more control-freak solutions as a “resolution” such as having the police stop 10 year old girls selling lemonaide on the street corner (yes, literally), we were told the solution over 200 years ago, by someone who founded the whole system, John Adams, who simply wrote “Our Constitution is made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Of course, this analysis is too simplistic and common-sensical for the average, “sophisticated” MSNBC viewer. But of course, history is replete with cultures that experienced systemic failure, due to ignoring the obvious. The fall of Rome, or the defeat of Montezuma by Cortez, are just two examples that litter history.
The decline of the American republic (no, not democracy) has a lineage that goes back to the very beginning – writers will discuss the Whiskey Rebellion, the First Bank of the United States soon after that, some of Lincoln’s abuses, some wars of expansion, etc., but special un-merit goes to the 20th Century, with such un-luminaries as Woodrow Wilson and FDR. However, superceding them all, the top vote-getter for the Apollyon Award (this word, from the Greek Ἀπολλύων, meaning “the destroyer”) has to clearly be my own generation, the Saul Alinsky worshipping Baby Boomers – those who venerate safety over liberty, money over morals, and expedience over ethics. It is our generation that, as CS Lewis put it, made “… men (and now boys) without chests (hearts, morals) and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate, then bid the geldings be fruitful.” My Boomer generation is the one that maintains there are no absolutes, and then – in the words of Captain Louis Renault to Rick Blaine in the movie Casablanca – they are “…shocked – SHOCKED – to find that gambling is going on in here.”
Is it any wonder that my generation is the generation where Jon Corzine “lost” $1.6 billion dollars? Where a Bernie Madoff could operate, undetected, for years? Where people simply wink at the utter scam/tragedy of Fast and Furious or BenghaziGate?
The declension in our society has – in my mind at least – a very specific time and date: Specifically, Bill Clinton on the Arsenio Hall show when he was first running for president – you can watch it here:
Lost to antiquity now, but this – for lack of a better word, antic – was a major turning point in his campaign at the time. And here is the key point: Why in tarnation would people vote for someone just because he was (and I use this word sardonically) “groovy?” That is a reason to vote for someone as the leader of a country? But perhaps more importantly, the Bill Clinton era, when the Baby Boomers were in their prime, exemplifies the exact period when the very common retort to all the corruption in the Clinton administration was “ethics don’t matter anymore.” I remember this phrase being repeated by leftists like a yogic mantra. And in fact, perhaps it was. You are now seeing the result of why ethics do, in fact, matter.
As a matter of fact, the answer to “ethics don’t matter anymore” is yes, they do (as opposed to the polar opposite, “Yes we can.”) This is not to minimize the very real failings of the first President Bush. That isn’t the point. The point is that my generation had no problems voting the future direction of their country based primarily on image. I am clearly not saying that image was not a factor in other elections; I am saying there was, in my observation, a sea change in the very basis whereby society conducted itself – and specifically, this period was where ethics became something just short of a parlour joke that the intellectual snobs (the same ones now living in gated communities) could sneer at. I doubt George Washington could have won with the rabble you see on this YouTube video of the Arsenio Hall show. The sad fact is that mine is the same generation that said “It’s only sex” about Monica Lewinsky, when in fact it was about perjury by the highest lawgiver in the land. My generation is the one that said “It’s the economy, stupid,” when in fact the economy – as we are finding out now – is something that has at its very core trust (and if you don’t believe that, just go ask some Cypriot who had his bank savings “confiscated,” or perhaps someone who had their saving “re-hypothecated” by the Jon Corzine run MF Global….or perhaps you could go talk to someone who had their life savings evaporated by Enron’s lead financial whiz, Jeffery Skilling, whom Eric Holder is now attempting to let out of prison early). The rule of law, which was horribly damaged during the Clinton presidency, is the very basis on which we are able to conduct business. As a matter of fact, the Baby Boomer generation, with their relative ethics, their self-absorption, their me-firstism, has – if I may put it graphically – urinated in the very well they – and the succeeding generations – have to drink out of.
The issue is not lack of morals, or the red herring of hypocrisy. I struggle myself, as do you – and every other human being on the planet. Rather, the real issue is that my generation refuses to admit that there is even a rational basis for ethics at all. Rather than admit we are – dare I even say it? – sinful (maybe I had better use “imperfect” than use such a linguistically anachronistic term), my generation has made an art of denying there even exists a yardstick by which to measure. We are indeed a generation that goes all-in for situational ethics (except, of course, for those occasions when it affects my pocketbook!) CS Lewis covered this whole issue admirably in his short book, The Abolition of Man, but unfortunately, this book today is little read, though that needn’t be true for you.
In sum, this is my apology to the next generation. It will no doubt be lost down the digital drain in which our culture is swirling. It is my corporate admission that my generation, above all others perhaps, has illustrated exactly what the Bible warned about, “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature,” (Galations 6:8 in the perhaps soon-to-be-banned-as-hate-literature New Testament ), with the predictable result, as the Old Testament warned, “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up ( Hosea 8:7).
Metanoia (you’ll have to look that word up, but I’ll help – see the definition here) is possible for you, the next generation. Don’t let it slip by – the hour is late.