The Source of Our Moral Decay?
Like many senior citizens, I have been bewildered by the rapid degeneration of our American society. A half-century ago, we were a decent people and a benevolent force in global affairs. Even then, we had to contend with drugs, violence, pornography, and the materialism engendered by prosperity, but we somehow managed to keep these malignancies at sub-critical levels.
But by 1990, even though the threat of Communism seemed to be fading away, we had become aware that something was seriously wrong. Consider Michelle's famous "Pollyanna" monolog in TV's "Knots Landing":
People SHOULD be nice. Nice should be the norm. I hate it that I can't trust anyone! I hate it that I can't put my daughter on the front lawn by herself! I hate it that I have to lock my car, and that I have to worry about an alarm system in my house, and I can't send cash in the mail! That's not the way it's supposed to be...
This resonated in the minds of many as a belated tocsin that our American society had begun to decay.
Since then, things have worsened at an ever-increasing pace. Drug traffic has become so prevalent and profitable that drug cartels virtually rule sections of a neighboring country and have established a vast fungus-like infrastructure within our own. The institution of marriage has degenerated to the point where homosexuality, promiscuity, and date rape are "the new normal," half of all marriages end in divorce, and over 40 percent of our babies (the ones that escape abortion) are born to unwed mothers. Lying and cheating have become so commonplace that a substantial fraction of all resumes contain false entries and students routinely cheat on tests and buy term papers on the Internet.
I have no tangible proof, but I have come to believe that the primary source of our decay is the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. I contend that abortion is slowly killing us.
Abortion may be the moral equivalent of AIDS. Our bodies, though under constant attack from bacteria, viruses, and cancers, can normally keep most or all of these invaders at bay. The primary symptoms of the HIV virus, such as a week or two of fever or soreness, are so mild that they often go unnoticed. But AIDS eventually destroys the immune system, thereby allowing the already-present invaders and a host of new ones to ravage the body unchecked. Ultimately, the AIDS victim dies from one or more infections that otherwise would have been trivial.
In the same way, the death of some 50 million babies -- or rather, the hypocrisy and moral evasion required to allow those deaths -- has hardened the collective American conscience to the point where it can easily tolerate other moral degeneracies and ignore their obvious destructive effects on our society.
As might be expected, this moral AIDS has had a particularly virulent effect on the practitioners of abortion. The horrors described during the trial of Kermit Gosnell -- the beheadings and snippings of spines to kill babies that survived abortions -- sound like things done in concentration camps. The attempts of the media to ignore or downplay these deeds are reminiscent of the Nazi efforts to hide their "Endlösung". Even more horrible is the contention that Gosnell's clinic is merely the most recent of many such cases.
This is not the first time that we have suffered from such an infection. Starting in the mid-seventeenth century, the institution of slavery had a similar poisonous influence. For two centuries, the American public managed to ignore or rationalize this monstrosity until they were ultimately forced to pay the price of 620,000 deaths in a horrible war .
Ancient examples of the effects of child-sacrifice -- which is essentially what abortion is -- are not encouraging. Carthage was one of the most progressive and technologically advanced civilizations in the pre-Christian world. It was in many ways preferable to its rival, Rome, except for its quaint custom of having parents throw their babies into the fire as a way of begging favors from their gods. Scholars disagree as to how prevalent this "peculiar institution" was in Carthaginian society, but it was certainly a major reason (or excuse) that Rome cited for obliterating its rival.
If I am right, then our battles against violence, drugs, sexual deconstruction, and other forms of moral degeneraton are merely symptomatic treatments. Until we end the horror of abortion, we will continue to decay -- or perhaps it is already too late.
If once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination. Once begun upon this downward path, you never know where you are to stop. Many a man has dated his ruin from some murder or other that perhaps he thought little of at the time.
- Thomas de Quincey, in "Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts"
Contrary to the proclamations of many preachers, I don't believe that God ever actually punishes. It is rather that He has instituted moral laws, more subtle, but as inexorable as the laws of physics, that cause evil actions to automatically entail equivalent retributive consequences.