Hurtling Towards Gomorrah

The words Sodom and Gomorrah have become standard terms in everyday conversation, even though referring to events which occurred many thousands of years ago. What took place back then, as recorded in Genesis 18-19, was some pretty nasty stuff: perverted sexuality and gross immorality. Such evil called down the just judgment of God.

The sin of sodomy is still occurring of course, as are other blatant cases of immorality and rebellion against God. Of interest is the fact that the Apostle Paul uses sodomy as the one sterling example of men in callous rebellion against God, and that which calls down his wrath (see Romans 1:18-32).

So what took place way back then – and even today – is no small thing, and this behaviour is the epitome of sinful, fallen man’s propensity to gross evil and defiance of God. There are of course plenty of other sins and evils which are also incurring the judgment of God, and one can ask just how much longer the West has before it too meets the same fate as Sodom and Gomorrah.

This website obviously is full of examples of our racing toward Gomorrah. We seem to be on the same path to self-destruction as these cities were. And I have certainly not been the only one warning about this. Many other voices have issued clarion calls, although most seem to fall on deaf ears.

Image of Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline
Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline by Bork, Robert H. (Author) Amazon logo

One such cogent and perceptive alarm came in the form of a 1996 book by American law professor and judge, Robert Bork, who passed away late last year. His volume was a powerful warning and wakeup call to not just fellow Americans but all Westerners. Entitled Slouching Towards Gomorrah, it remains a very important volume indeed.

In fact, I have just pulled it off the shelves, blown off the dust, and reread lengthy portions of it. It is not only just as vital a read today as it was 17 years ago, but probably even more so. Most notably, the slouching he was so concerned about has now turned into a full-fledged hurtling.

We are racing to oblivion, and each new day gives us further ominous examples of this. So it is worth revisiting this incisive volume, and offering a smattering of quotes from it, in the hopes that if you have not yet read it, you will do so – and that if you have already read it, you might reread it again.

There is so much solid meat and sensible material to be found here, that I can only feature a few tantalising bits from his introduction and conclusion. He begins by saying that his book is “about American decline. Since American culture is a variant of the cultures of all Western industrialized democracies, it may even, inadvertently, be a book about Western decline. In the United States, at least, that decline and the mounting resistance to it have produced what we now call a culture war.”

The trouble with all this decline is, with “each new evidence of deterioration, we lament for a moment, and then become accustomed to it. . . . So unrelenting is the assault on our sensibilities that many of us grow numb finding resignation to be the rational, adaptive response to an environment that is increasingly polluted and apparently beyond our control.”

So who or what is the culprit here? “The enemy within is modern liberalism, a corrosive agent carrying a very different mood and agenda than that of classical or traditional liberalism. That the modern variety is intellectually bankrupt diminishes neither its vitality nor the danger it poses. A bankrupt philosophy can reign for centuries and, when its bankruptcy becomes apparent, may well be succeeded by an even less coherent outlook.

“That is what is happening to us now. Modernity, the child of the Enlightenment, failed when it became apparent that the good society cannot be achieved by unaided reason. The response of liberalism was not to turn to religion, which modernity had seemingly made irrelevant, but to abandon reason.”

He continues, “Modern liberalism is powerful because it has enlisted our cultural elites, those who man the institutions that manufacture, manipulate, and disseminate ideas, attitudes and symbols – universities, churches, Hollywood, the national press (print and electronic), foundation staffs, the ‘public interest’ organizations, much of the congressional Democratic Party and some congressional Republicans as well, and large sections of the judiciary, including, all too often, a majority of the Supreme Court.

“This, it must be stressed, is not a conspiracy but a syndrome. These are institutions controlled by people who view the world from a common perspective, a perspective not generally shared by the public at large. But so pervasive is the influence of those who occupy the commanding heights of our culture that it is important to understand what modern liberalism is and what its ascendancy means.”

He reminds us that any culture can slide into hedonism, unbridled individualism, and decay, but things like religion, law and morality have helped to keep that in check. But with so much recent increase in affluence, prosperity and technology, boredom has resulted, leading to even more thirst for hedonism and pleasure.

“With the time and energy of so many individuals freed from the harder demands of work, the culture turned to consumerism and entertainment. . . . Sensations must be steadily intensified if boredom is to be kept at bay. A culture obsessed with technology will come to value personal convenience above almost all else, and ours does.

“That has consequences … impatience with anything that interferes with personal convenience. Religion, morality, and law do that, which accounts for the tendency of modern religion to eschew proscriptions and commandments and turn to counselling and therapeutic sermons; or morality to be relativized; and of law, particularly criminal law, to become soft and uncertain.”

For the next 300 pages he offers us plenty of examples of how all this is playing out in so many areas. That makes for incisive yet discouraging reading. But he concludes with at least a hint of hope: “There is ample room for pessimism, but there may be room for hope as well….

“The imperative question is whether there is any possibility of avoiding the condition of Gomorrah.” He continues, “We must, then, take seriously the possibility that perhaps nothing will be done to reverse the direction of our culture.”

He finishes this magnificent tome with these words: “I end where I began, contemplating burnt books. Though I did not suspect it then, the charred law books on the sidewalk in New Haven were a metaphor, a symbol of the torching of America’s intellectual and moral capital by the barbarians of modern liberalism. We have allowed that capital to be severely damaged, but perhaps not beyond repair. As we approach its desolate and sordid precincts, the pessimism of the intellect tells us that Gomorrah is our probable destination. What is left to us is a determination not to accept that fate and the courage to resist it – the optimism of the will.”

I for one do not and will not accept that fate. I will continue to fight. Will you join with me?

[1194 words]

19 Replies to “Hurtling Towards Gomorrah”

  1. Bill, I heard the tail end of an interview with Peter Hitchens, the brother of atheist Christopher Hitchens. Peter was discussing drug use and rampant hedonism and saying that the governments would be able to get away with a lot of things with the culture of increasing drug addiction in the West. The ABC interviewer was a bit hostile which made me sit up and listen. I googled Peter and was amazed at some of his viewpoints and changes in thinking from Left Wing to conservative as I’d never heard of him.

    Jo Deller

  2. I googled New Haven burnt books but couldn’t find anything – can you give a link (that is a superb quote you finish with).

    Lachlan Dunjey

  3. Ah, but you have to read the book Lachlan! It has to do with the radical Sixties. It comes from p. 1 – the very opening words:

    “One morning on my way to teach a class at the Yale law school, I found on the sidewalk outside the building heaps of smoldering books that had been burned in the law library. They were a small symbol of what was happening on campuses across the nation: violence, destruction of property, mindless hatred of law, authority, and tradition. I stood there, uncomprehending, as a photograph in the next day’s New York Times clearly showed.”

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  4. What a joke the much touted Fact Check at the ABC has become. Comments on Prime Minister Tony Abbotts’s robust defence of marriage – sneeringly called ‘traditional’ marriage – have been edited. Mine has disappeared.

    Over to you, ABC.

    Antonia Feitz

  5. Jo D “I googled Peter and was amazed at some of his viewpoints and changes in thinking from Left Wing to conservative as I’d never heard of him.”

    Just one small comment in response in case you are not aware. We should not mistake Peter Hitchen’s “conversion” to “conservative” as meaning sympathy with or membership of the UK Conservative Party, which is every bit as culturally Marxist and as ‘lefty’ and liberal as the Labour party. The latter promoted and glories in Same Sex marriage as one instance.
    He is highly critical of all three parties, and indeed our whole political system of governance – and rightly so IMO!

    Graham Wood, UK

  6. Hi Graham, that’s true! I mean conservative as it is generally understood i.e.” holding socially traditional values and ideas”.

    I hope Peter Hitchen continues to criticise and make others think.

    Jo Deller

  7. I have just ordered the book from Amazon. It costs £0.01 (plus postage).

    Alan Williams, UK

  8. Hi Antonia, a couple of my posts didn’t make it on the ABC article either. No wonder the online realm gives the perception that everyone backs SMS. Censorship is part of the strategy – silence the naysayers. They block our voices at every turn.
    Matt Patchon

  9. In response to your challenge if others will join you, I am reminded of what is written on the tombstone of Fanny Crosby: “Aunt Fanny, she hath done what she could”. Count me in. I will do what I can.

    Alison Stanley

  10. “As in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah” awaiting the coming judgement of God. There appears no going back but rather an acceptance and legalizing of that which is an abomination to God. Given that the world is ripe already for judgement I wonder how much further the world can continue to decline and rebel against a Holy and righteous God. Where is the red line? My thoughts are surely its “the corruption of the innocents,” the children. Its one thing for mankind to participate in vile affections so that they might receive in “themselves” that recompence of their error, with God giving them over to a reprobate mind so that even while they have the knowledge of the judgement of God that their sin is worthy of death, they continue; but surely it is another even worse when we see a movement of mankind towards the destruction not only of their own selves but of “others” the innocent children. Its almost as though man is not sufficiently satisfied with their own debauchery but wants to bring the last moral stance down as well. The children will be the last unless the judgement of God does not intervene before this.

    Paul Wilson

  11. One way to fight back is to continually comment on Facebook or online news sites such as the SMH, The Hoopla and other site to support those who speak out against gay marriage, paedophilia, attacks on Christians and so on.

    I do this constantly and find other people supporting those who do as well as nasty attacks on those who do – which does nothing to further their “cause” at all.

    Strength in numbers.

    Jo Deller

  12. Paul, I fear that the ‘innocents’ (the children) are already suffering. Our laws now allow millions of them each year to be killed whilst still in the womb off their Mothers. Every time I hear of another innocent child being killed, my heart breaks – how God must be breaking His heart!
    Joan Davidson

  13. If anyone wants to know why there is something rotten in the state of Britain one only has to see the list of the members of Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth 11′ Privy Council -and to see who is not part of it.

    The Privy council is made up of left wingers and Marxists, but allow me to pick out the Lord Justice, Judge of the International Criminal Court and Judge of the High Court of Justice, Sir Adrian Fulford, [1]

    He is a homosexual who boasts that “Pink Law will not be an anomaly but rather the shape of things to come.” [2,3]

    At the moment he is flexing his legal muscles, dealing with those who commit crimes against humanity in the International a Criminal Court in the Hague. But this is mere preparation for dealing with the real criminals and terrorists, the Christians. [4]


    David Skinner, UK

  14. I saw on Facebook a new law being discussed about people being prosecuted for touching a baby bump of a pregnant woman. I commented on the situation that that was a punishable offence and not killing the actual baby in the bump.

    Jo Deller

  15. I have just dusted off my copy of this book and wanted to see if BM and CW had ever addressed it. They have! I find that this book has helped me to understand myself a bit more….. Bill, I appreciate your columns.

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