Remembering Sanity and Certitudes
Contrary to what many people believe, the American Empire is still alive, but not well. Sex-change mutilation of children, an unchallenged invasion of its southern border, smash-and-grab theft rings running wild, taxpayer-funded drug-injection sites, violent criminals back on the streets the same day as being arrested, politicization of the law, crackdowns on free speech, drag shows aimed at children, a war against police, men competing in women’s sports … the list goes on.
Watching the moral decay of modern-day America makes me feel blessed to have lived during a time when the country was a symbol of stability, freedom, and goodwill that people around the world admired. Now, as America continues its downward cultural spiral, I find myself increasingly saddened by the fact that none of my children will ever have the opportunity to experience the America of my youth.
There’s no question that computers, smartphones, and all the other space-age technology we take for granted today are wonderful tools. Without question, they make life much easier and much more enjoyable. However, as with everything in life, there’s a tradeoff. Actually, there are many tradeoffs, but the most glaring one is America’s loss of certitudes.
It would be impossible for today’s youth to understand, or even imagine, the innocence of a much younger America. In the fifties, there was no such a thing as political correctness, and heterosexuality was a biological axiom. Commentators reported the news, not their opinions. And institutions of higher learning, professional sports, and government agencies were generally held in high esteem.
Then, along came Elvis who laid the foundation for the sexual and cultural revolution, culminating in Woodstock in 1969, and things have never been the same. But those of us who were raised with solid Western values tended to ignore the steadily increasing base behavior of the hippies, because we were too busy getting ahead in life.
Finally, by the turn of the new century, American youths had become so overprivileged that they took the good life for granted and became bored, so bored in fact that they became true believers in every half-baked social cause. Every law, every institution, every certitude became a protest target.
Today, entitlement is the religion of choice, and the number-one product America produces is grievance. The in-vogue collective demand of spoiled suburban kids is for more “equity and diversity,” with setting fire to cop cars being the preferred way to express their anger.
As to the left’s obsession with diversity, it sounds noble, but in actual practice diversity does not produce good results. This is especially true of diversity of values, which are anathema to any stable civilization. There was relatively little diversity of values in the era of the greatest generation, and the result was that America was a prosperous and generally peaceful place. Whether an American was born in Italy, Haiti, China, or India, he assimilated into American culture because he wanted to be an authentic American.
I’m not advocating that everyone should think alike. What I am saying is that when a large majority of a population believes in a generally accepted code of conduct, it results in a more peaceful, more civilized, more stable nation. Within a society’s generally accepted code of conduct, however, it’s fine for everyone to think their own thoughts and have their own opinions. But to maintain a peaceful and prosperous society, the best foundation for those thoughts and opinions is a broad-based consensus regarding values and certitudes.
That said, as much as I appreciate the life-saving benefits of modern medicine, as much as I love computers and smartphones, as much as I like having knowledge at my fingertips via the Internet, I would give them all up for the country I grew up in — a country with a mostly sane population grounded in objective certitudes.
Perhaps someday the American Empire will rise from the ashes of decadence and make a comeback that will take it through another long period of societal sanity and life-giving certitudes. Stranger things have happened, but under the best of circumstances that day is a long way off.
In the meantime, it’s up to sane people who believe in objective truth to carry on the fight against the wicked barbarians from within who are intent on destroying the certitudes that made America the strongest, freest, most civilized nation in the history of the world. It’s a daunting task, to be sure, but the alternative is worse. Much worse.
Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.