The fate of a nation’s survival and the state of a nation’s morality are closely intertwined. Mess with a nation’s morals and you will soon see the end of that nation. The enemies of the West have long recognised this truth. As Stalin once put it, “America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”
The fate of a nation is intimately tied up with its moral and spiritual condition. Modern free and democratic nations especially must recover this truism. Certainly America’s Founding Fathers fully believed this. As President John Adams stated, “Without virtue, there can be no political liberty.” Or as he stated elsewhere: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” And again, “Statesmen may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.”
Benjamin Franklin put it this way: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Thomas Jefferson said this: “Can the liberties of a nation be sure when we remove their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people, that these liberties are a gift from God?” George Washington said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensible supports.”
And Abraham Lincoln expressed it this way: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Many others have noted this connection:
-“Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” (Alexis de Tocqueville)
-“There is no significant example in history, before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion.” (Will Durant)
-“History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.” (US General Douglas MacArthur)
All over the Western world we see the loss of freedom, the curtailment of democracy, the restriction of liberty, and the collapse of prosperity. And at the same time we see the West reaching its highest levels of secularism, immorality, loss of faith, and moral relativism. There is surely a connection here. This web site often discusses this connection and provides one example after another of our moral meltdown, our religious implosion, and our steep decline as nations. We are foolish in the extreme to omit the moral and spiritual considerations in our nations’ destinies.
Indeed, I just read moments ago this important observation from David Goldman’s important new volume, How Civilizations Die: “Our strategic thinking suffers from a failure to take into account the existential problems of other nations. We think in the narrow categories of geopolitics, but we need to study theopolitics – the powerful impact of religious beliefs and aspirations on world events.”
Quite so. We need a theopolitical frame of reference to go along with our geopolitical assessments. When faith and morality are in steep decline, we have a recipe for national decline, and these factors are every bit as important as economic or political ones. A great example of why the West is sinking big time can be found in a new article I stumbled across today. Mona Charen speaks of our “Moral Abdication”.
She rightly states that “The withdrawal from any kind of judgment is yielding a generation of moral cripples.” She mentions her son’s world history textbook which refused to pass any moral censure on practices such as child sacrifice. Her son had told her that his classmates also refused to make any moral judgments on such barbaric and reprehensible activities. She then discusses a book which recounts the results of a ten year study of a representative sample of Americans aged 18–23.
In Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood the authors, using in-depth interviews, concluded that “an alarming percentage of young people are highly materialistic, commitment averse, disengaged from political and civic life, sexually irresponsible, often heavily intoxicated, and morally confused. In fact, the authors contend, they lack even the vocabulary to think in moral terms.
“The products of a culture that dares not condemn even human sacrifice for fear of transgressing multicultural taboos, these young people are morally adrift. Six out of ten told the authors that morality is a ‘personal choice,’ like preferring long or short hair. ‘Moral rights and wrongs are essentially matters of individual opinion.’
“One young woman, a student at an Ivy League college, explained that while she doesn’t cheat, she is loath to judge others who do. ‘I guess that’s a decision that everyone is entitled to make for themselves. I’m sort of a proponent of not telling other people what to do.’ A young man offered that ‘a lot of the time it’s personal. It changes from person to person. What you may think is right may not necessarily be right for me, understand? So it’s all individual.’
“Forty-seven percent of the cohort agreed that ‘morals are relative, there are not definite rights and wrongs for everybody.’ It goes beyond cheating or failing to give to charity. One young man who stressed ‘everyone’s right to choose’ was pressed about whether murder would be such a choice. He wasn’t sure. ‘I mean, in today’s society, sure, like to murder someone is just ridiculous. I don’t know. In some societies, back in time, maybe it’s a good thing.’ The irony is that this supposed reluctance to make moral judgments is itself a moral posture.”
She concludes her piece this way: “Other world civilizations continue to express pride and even arrogance about their own histories. Those who resist the self-flagellation that travels under the name multiculturalism are accused of chauvinism. But the withdrawal from any kind of judgment is yielding a generation of moral cripples.”
She certainly has got that right. We now have an entire generation of moral pygmies in the West who are unable or unwilling to make any moral judgments – except to judge those who dare to argue for binding universal moral standards. And we wonder why the West is going down the gurgler so rapidly and so thoroughly.