Herbert London: The Grinding
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.
Institutions that taught loyalty and sacrifice for one’s nation are now laboratories on sexual integration. Women must be placed in combat positions in the military and homosexuals treated as if their sexual orientation is the same as everyone else. Common sense is on vacation. Should a general stand athwart this movement and say this is not sensible, promotion will not be considered and his career rendered nugatory. Silence follows the sociological avalanche.
Where is this grinding taking us? The direction ahead is clearly marked to the Yellow Brick Road to Nowhere, a nowhere that does not resemble the America of the past – a place where fools rush in to tell us of national greatness in the midst of despair and desperation.
History has already told us about this grinding. When the highest order for all forms of life resides with government, when laws are upheld or withdrawn like candy bars, humanity is soon in the vise of lobotomized existence. Is it merely coincidental that there is a government sponsored campaign to legalize marijuana across the country? A stoned citizen is not likely to be rebellious. He probably doesn’t realize his Constitution has already been fundamentally altered.
I hear it day and night. The pace is alarming and there isn’t any reprieve. My prayer is that the grinding will stop one day, but I am not sure that is good either. Does anyone else hear it? You don’t have to listen too closely to get its resounding sound. It is all around you.
Herbert London is President of the London Center for Policy Research, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America). You can read all of Herb London’s commentaries atwww.londoncenter.org
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