When is Enough, Enough?
So, if the left and its fellow travelers are successful in redefining marriage, opening up a Pandora’s Box, whither America? More to the point, what can be done to prevent marriage and family from being debased and destroying the society whereupon rests our liberties? Can anything be done?
If you read Paul Kengor’s recent American Thinker article (“From Communists to Progressives, the Left's Takedown of Family and Marriage”), you might have been struck by this passage:
America has entered a protracted phase of post-Judeo-Christian thinking, where individualism and relativism reign supreme, fostered by a steady stream of incredibly naïve parents who marched their children in wide-eyed cadence through the educational system at giant costs both financial and moral. Nothing short of a major religious revival will save it. This culture and country will redefine marriage, either this month or in the months and years ahead. [Italics added]
More than struck, you should have been disturbed. If Kengor is right, American society isn’t just on course to greater turmoil, but catastrophe. Judeo-Christianity is intrinsic to the healthy functioning of our society and the fundamentals of freedom. Individualism (the squalid sort, uninformed by reason and faith) and relativism unbridled are worse than Mongol invaders: submission exempts no one from destruction.
If the assault on marriage -- which is an assault on family, ultimately -- is triumphant, as Kengor believes, it means that society’s floorboards aren’t just ripped up but its foundations knocked away. If leftism, which employs puerile individualism and relativism among its tools to “deconstruct” society, is dominant for a “protracted phase” (a decade, generation, or more?) then the damage done to American society may be irreparable.
To borrow from Full Metal Jacket, America would be in a world of… excrement.
This prospect raises critical questions. If our society is so imperiled, when do discussion, debate, and attempts at resolution within the framework of the nation’s compact cease to matter? Or, let’s just put it in plain English. How do we beat our foes soon enough to avoid catastrophe, or if we can’t beat them, when and how do we cut bait? And if we need to cut bait, what do we do then?
Pope Benedict XVI, as Joseph Ratzinger, then a professor of theology, made what the Vatican Insider (La Stampa) called a prophesy. Ratzinger did so in the late 1960s, which was the tail end of the cultural and political upheavals that impact us to this day. The future pope was prophesying about the Roman Catholic Church, but his words should be of keen interest to non-Catholics; his points have far broader implications.
Ratzinger said he was convinced the Church was going through an era similar to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. “We are at a huge turning point -- he explained -- in the evolution of mankind. This moment makes the move from Medieval to modern times seem insignificant.” Professor Ratzinger compared the current era to that of Pope Pius VI who was abducted by troops of the French Republic and died in prison in 1799. The Church was fighting against a force which intended to annihilate it definitively, confiscating its property and dissolving religious orders. [Italics added]
Vatican Insider continued:
Today's Church could be faced with a similar situation, undermined, according to Ratzinger, by the temptation to reduce priests to “social workers” and it and all its work reduced to a mere political presence. “From today's crisis, will emerge a Church that has lost a great deal,” he affirmed. [Italics added]
Not that I wish to contend with a theologian-pope, but what’s menacing the U.S. and the West for fifty odd-years isn’t the challenges of societal “evolution.” Moving from the medieval to the Renaissance to the Enlightment was progress. Rousseau and the French Revolution were bad seeds (with lasting negative consequences), which Ratzinger alluded to.
What’s occurred in the West since, notably, the 1960s is retrograde. It’s deterioration. The primitive human impulse to impose upon and control others has broken its shackles and become emboldened. That impulse is mostly expressed on the left. Relativism is used by the left to clear the way for its Utopia. But relativism is a portal to nihilism. The left in its conceit is releasing an “ism” that isn’t easily recaptured.
Ratzinger believed that there would be a long process (“protracted phase?”) of suffering, after which will emerge a stronger, more spiritually centered church, “at which point humans will realise that they live in a world of ‘indescribable solitude’ and having lost sight of God ‘they will perceive the horror of their poverty.’”
Nor do I want to gainsay prophesy, but how many of us want to take refuge in catacombs while leftists and nihilists wreck America? Perhaps there isn’t anything we can do about Western Civilization. But what are we prepared to do to preserve liberty and society here? What can be done practically, if anything?
Are there alternatives, short of a religious revival, which Kengor says is needed to save marriage and family -- hence, the broader cultural?
If we can’t defeat the left and stop nihilism’s spread, do we resign ourselves to whatever devastation awaits the nation? Or, to reiterate, are there ways to separate ourselves out from our foes and preserve liberty, faith, and true society among our own?
Fay Voshell, in another excellent American Thinker article (“The Left Goes Insane”), wrote:
It may be that great thinkers of the Judeo-Christian tradition may rise up to destroy the insane leftist mental construct that will be, if not confronted and destroyed, the Moloch that burns the magnificent edifice of Western Judeo-Christian thought to ashes.
The “may” is “must.” There’s no cohabiting with pernicious worldviews. More than Western Judeo-Christian thought goes up in smoke. Our way of life -- and many of us -- will, too.
What Kengor and Voshell have expressed are desires for extraordinary intervention to change the nation’s dynamic -- to defeat and undo the damage being wrought by leftism and its companions. Kengor writes of a religious revival; Voshell hopes for great religious thinkers to rise up. Are we at a point in the nation’s life when the extraordinary is our last, best hope for recovery? Perhaps, but the old adage holds: “God helps those who help themselves.”
We must, as men and women of liberty and faith, read the times as best possible and determine our collective course in the face of perils. We’ve amply described the trouble. Isn’t it time to dialogue regularly about what can be done to turn the tide? And then act?
Leftists are deadly serious in their aims; they’re determined to win. They seek no accommodation with us. Western Civilization -- as expressed in the American tradition -- and our liberties are on the left’s chopping block. Leftists deny this, and over the decades have become expert at arguing that they merely want more justice, fairness, compassion, and equality. They use our system to game the system. The better among them may be deluded or simply naive; the worse are liars and destroyers. Regardless, results -- not intentions -- matter.
The question haunts: “When is enough, enough?”
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