Watching Our Society Implode
February 18, 2013
By Alan Caruba
Listening to Obama deliver his State of the Union speech was painful, considering that he promised that his agenda would “not add a dime to the deficit” while spelling out twenty-nine new programs involving the expansion of government to further extend its tentacles into everyone’s life. And, of course, the only way to pay for this is more taxes.
If one were to try to identify the decline of the American society and system of governance, it would be tempting to say in began with the election of Barack Hussein Obama, but it began much earlier. I am inclined to believe it began in the 1960s when the nation’s educational system was taken over by the teacher’s unions and when education—a word that does not appear in the Constitution—became a federal government department in 1979, part of the legacy of Jimmy Carter, widely regarded as the worst President until Obama came along. Carter is also responsible for the creation of the Department of Energy.
One could go back further to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, elected four times. FDR vastly expanded the federal government, offering many of the same failed programs to the Great Depression that Obama has in his first term. They actually prolonged the Depression which ended with the advent of the nation’s entry into World War II. It mobilized America’s manufacturing sector and, after the war ended, was the basis for a booming economy in the 1950s. Even so, President Eisenhower famously warned against the “military-industrial complex.”
Americans, from the days of the pilgrims onward, were always concerned with the moral fiber of the nation. Despite the nay-sayers, it was and is a Christian nation, though it also offered tolerance to other faiths, incorporating that into the Bill of Rights. The Roaring Twenties preceded the Great Depression and gave rise to the changing role of women in society. The “flappers,” young women who were a cause for concern for their parents as they took to smoking, drinking in speakeasies, and in 1919 gained the right to vote.
The decline of societal norms takes many forms, the latest of which is the approval for women to serve in combat zones alongside men when their traditional role has previously been to provide support in non-combat functions. The military has been used for societal experimentation and now embraces open service by homosexuals. The integration of both has opened a Pandora’s Box of problems as women service members are subjected to rape or become pregnant due to consensual sex.
Consensual sex is as old as mankind, but handing out condoms in the nation’s schools or permitting underage girls to secure an abortion, often without the knowledge or consent of their parents, only encourages it. The Centers for Disease Control recently reported that half of all new sexually transmitted diseases occur among young people despite years of “sex education” in the nation’s schools. What passes for entertainment, films and television, are rife with the message that there are no limits or consequences to sex outside of marriage.
Though a distinct minority, homosexuals, lesbians, and transsexuals have attacked the central issue of society by insisting on same-sex marriage, a practice that has never existed throughout Western society, or any other. In a similar fashion, the Boy Scouts of America, arguably one of the finest organizations for instilling patriotism and many worthy skills, is under pressure to permit gay members and gay leaders. This, too, contributes to the decline of moral standards. A President who now openly advocates same-sex marriage and other measures affecting homosexuals is undermining a central pillar of our society.
At one point, Americans in an effort to address widespread alcoholism among the working class accepted Prohibition, lasting from 1920 to 1933, only to discover that a nation cannot change behavior by proscribing it. The Amendment that created it was repealed, but not until it had generated a new class of criminals who understood that Americans would drink, would gamble, and would frequent houses of prostitution, services provided by the likes of Al Capone and his associates. These days the concern is for the widespread use of illegal drugs and, in some states the use of marijuana has been decriminalized.
Despite the Second Amendment that ensures that citizens can arm themselves for self-defense and to act as a brake against a tyrannical government, efforts to restrict gun ownership and even the purchase of ammunition is yet another evidence of decline in common sense and an understanding of history in which citizens are vulnerable to a well-armed government. Why the Department of Homeland Security is purchasing millions of rounds of ammunition is cause for growing concern. In the end, Americans with any common sense know that no amount of law can deter the mentally ill who commit murder.
The interposition of government between citizens and their personal physicians and the provision of medical services represents the greatest threat to their lives and to the twenty percent of the economy in which such services represent. How morally challenged is it for the government to deny medical care based on a patient’s age or condition? That’s what Obamacare will do despite claims to the contrary.
The failure to reform the “entitlement” programs of the 1930s ignores the changed demographics of a society in which Americans now have an average life expectancy of 78 and who live well beyond that these days. Forty percent of the government’s expenditures are dedicated to these programs before a single dollar is spent on any other domestic and military programs.
Lastly, there is the absurd notion that humans have any control over the climate or contribute to natural events such as hurricanes, blizzards, forest fires, and drought. The criminalization of emissions of carbon dioxide exists only to exert government control over the economy and our lives. It has no basis in science.
Many, not all, Americans are experiencing a growing sense of the decline of our society. It is the decline of what used to be common knowledge. It is the decline of the nation’s moral standards. It is the expansion of government that only serves to harm the economy and with it a contraction of the opportunities that America offered to former generations.
We are witnessing an expansion of ignorance and of apathy. Those who worry about such things have ample cause.