by Robert Arvay
I was born in 1948, and my formative years were in the decade of the fifties, the era of television shows such as Roy Rogers, Father Knows Best, and Leave it to Beaver. Today, these television shows are considered hopelessly naïve, nerdy, and unrealistic. Worse yet, many people today vilify these cultural artifacts as sexist, homophobic and racist. They are, whether literally or figuratively, spat upon.
Fast forward to 2014.
Over the period of the past few days, I have repeatedly found myself in various social gatherings of people who might be described as a cross section of typical Americans. In doing so, I found myself mildly distressed to be reminded of the title of the book, Slouching Towards Gomorrah, a brief review of which is included below. Instead of slouching toward Gomorrah, I got the overwhelming feeling that we are living in it.
What is most shocking, however, is that I am no longer shocked. This commentary is not an overwrought sermon about fire and brimstone, but a conversation about gradually warming water, and a frog. I am not a preacher. I am one of you.
(Note in the margin: Sodom and Gomorrah, for those who may not already know, were the two cities destroyed by God in the Book of Genesis for their immoral behaviors. From the city of Sodom, we get the word, sodomy.)
Today’s television shows are quite different from those of the 1950s. Instead of upholding moral values of family, hard work and personal responsibility, many of them glorify casual sex, including homosexual sodomy. My critics might validly tell me that I do not know what I am talking about, since for the past five years or so, I have rarely watched any television shows except news, documentaries, and science channels. My wife and I found that we could not comfortably watch, with our grandchildren, even shows on the Disney-type channels, shows intended for small children. The shows are infused with acceptance of immoral conduct. My wife and I have also walked out of the last three movies we attended, disgusted by the vulgarity and anti-Christian bigotry, among other failings of the movies. So if the entertainment industry has recently returned to promoting moral values, I guess I’m all wrong, and will be happy to find that out.
What distressed me in the recent social encounters with various people is the casual acceptance they have of the so-called new morality. Unmarried couples living together are so routine as to get no particular notice. Mark me, these are nice people, not sex-crazed barbarians. Some of them are in their third or fourth (or more) so-called, committed relationship. Divorce is more common than thirtieth anniversaries. If a small boy demands to dress as a girl, he is not only permitted, but encouraged to do so, even by the schools. Gender Identity Disorder is no longer considered a disorder. The response to it is not to research what went wrong in the brain, and fix that, but instead to surgically mutilate the body, disguising it as something that it is not (the opposite sex). I find that I myself (paragon of virtue that I had thought I was, LOL) have slouched so far into the dysfunction of Gomorrah that I am sometimes surprised that I no longer find flagrant sexual innuendo in advertising to be noteworthy. Even in women’s magazines, depictions of nudity, actual or implied, are not uncommon. The articles are saturated with casual acceptance of what, in the 1950s, would have been widely condemned.
We are all, it seems, frogs in warming water, unable to express outrage over the destruction of our culture. There are exceptions, of course. Many of the citizens of Murrieta, California, took to the streets to blockade busloads of illegal immigrants who were being illegally brought into the city, not by gangsters, but by the government itself. Would that this overdue sense of urgency had occurred in 1986, when President Reagan signed the amnesty bill, on the promise that Democrats would help to stop illegal immigration, instead of subsidizing it.
The demonstrators in Murrieta belatedly recognize that the immigration policy of the government is destroying our culture.
Would that millions of Americans take to the streets to protest same-sex marriage, filth in entertainment, and corruption at the Veterans Administration. Unfortunately, such urgency arises only when the government has forced its way into one’s own neighborhood, by which time it is too little, too late, to change the policy. The horses have escaped the barn, and those horses may be those of the apocalypse.
I would write more, but others have written more eloquently than ever I could, and I now introduce some of them. Here they are, beginning with an anonymous reviewer (not me).
The following is a brief review of Slouching Towards Gomorrah :
[Begin] In this New York Times bestselling book, [the late, Judge] Robert H. Bork, our country’s most distinguished conservative scholar, offers a prophetic and unprecedented view of a culture in decline, a nation in such serious moral trouble that its very foundation is crumbling: a nation that slouches not towards the Bethlehem envisioned by the poet Yeats in 1919, but towards Gomorrah.
Slouching Towards Gomorrah is a penetrating, devastatingly insightful exposé of a country in crisis at the end of the millennium, where the rise of modern liberalism, which stresses the dual forces of radical egalitarianism (the equality of outcomes rather than opportunities) and radical individualism (the drastic reduction of limits to personal gratification), has undermined our culture, our intellect, and our morality.
In a new Afterword, the author highlights recent disturbing trends in our laws and society, with special attention to matters of sex and censorship, race relations, and the relentless erosion of American moral values. The alarm he sounds is more sobering than ever: we can accept our fate and try to insulate ourselves from the effects of a degenerating culture, or we can choose to halt the beast, to oppose modern liberalism in every arena. The will to resist, he warns, remains our only hope. [End]
Here is the prescient, almost prophetic 1920 poem, The Second Coming, by William Butler Yeats, from which Bork adapted the title for his book:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
A brief explanation of Spiritus Mundi is found at:
Spiritus Mundi, a “spirit world” of images and symbols that Yeats believed to have been traditionally available to the most perceptive people (like poets) throughout history. Although lots of smart-sounding people like to say that symbols always have to “mean” something specific, Yeats thought that the best symbols couldn’t ever be fully explained in words. They are “expressive” in a way that passes beyond ordinary speech. [End]
It is not any insight that makes me unable to express in words the eerie feeling I have, the feeling of living in Gomorrah—but once in awhile I get a strange sense that I am a time traveler, that I have stepped from a future century into today. As I walk among throngs of people, each scurrying about in his frantic activity of today, each failing to pause to reflect upon his eternity, I get the urge to tell them. I get the urge to warn them, today is not where your entire focus should be. You are already dead. This is the distant past.
This is history. Wake up. Reform your society. It is where your posterity shall live.
I cannot bring forth the words, for I, too, am a denizen of Gomorrah.
Robert Arvay is a Contributing Writer to The Patriot’s Notepad