Just as a day has segments—dawn, morning, forenoon, noon, afternoon, twilight, night—so does a culture, institution, government or population. So…during which part of a day’s totality does the U.S. fit currently?
Twilight is the answer in this corner. That may seem unduly somber since twilight could be viewed as rather hazy, vague, threatening, unpredictable, the embodiment of an in-between-ness that screams “watch out.” During twilight, it’s possible to still see the physical environment fairly well in stages portending sunset but not nearly as well as at noontime or even forenoon.
Consider the dawn to be the inculcation of a Constitutional government in which the people are represented by elected officials (not career politicians), the recognition of the Judeo-Christian God as the standard-maker of the national morality, and the invention and placement of mechanisms, abstract and tangible, to maintain reasonable freedom, civility, the economy and national defense. Think 1789-1820.
During the nation’s forenoon, capitalism was established as the mechanism empowering people to invent and both make jobs and have jobs, realizing profits and wages, respectively. This doesn’t mean that all was peaches and cream, only that individual opportunity was available but largely in the South only on the backs of slaves. Think 1820-1865.
Noon came as the slaves were freed, railroads crisscrossed the nation and industry came into initiation auguring toward a wild fruition in following years. This represented a moral accomplishment—the freeing of the slaves—but also allowed for the ruthlessness endemic to competition, which nevertheless, created greater opportunities for individual accomplishment and, without unduly affecting life and liberty, made possible a greater pursuit of happiness. Concomitantly occurred the immigration masses. Think 1865-1920.
The nation reached its zenith during the afternoon, becoming the most prosperous nation in the world and moving toward becoming the mightiest military power. Individual inventiveness knew no bounds though the “big boys” did not wholly get their way as the labor union movement expanded and somewhat evened the playing field. Government, big business and the unions all managed a modicum of corruption, generally conceived of as the price of doing business.
Morally, the nation subscribed by Constitutional Amendment to prohibition of alcoholic beverages for 14 years, 1920-34—almost unbelievable now, when folks get uptight over cigarettes and consider booze as perfectly acceptable. Morally and ’way too long coming, women were given the vote…now, they’re taking over the nation in many ways.
The U.S. saved Europe from Germany in WWI and the world – even the defeated Axis – in WWII. Its military might was approached by the Soviet Union but not matched, with the Cold War the only war imaginable since the threat of mutually assured destruction was equally recognized by all. Post-WWII, the U.S., on the backs of the “greatest generation” and with a still functioning moral compass, became the envy of the world. God was still of utmost importance. Now, homosexuality is approved in the military and women consigned to combat—absolutely nuts during twilight-time.
Twilight began to set in about the time of the sixties not so much because of the loss of tangible excellence but because the “pursuit of happiness” third of “God-given rights” became a chase down the broad road to hell rather than continuing the rugged climb to the heights. The hippies came of age then as the children of the “greatest” rebelled. By the late eighties until now, they have run the show.
Manufacturing has been almost completely outsourced, thus the loss of good jobs. The cockamamie notion of “diversity” applies to everything though it connotes the opposite of togetherness (multiculturalism), which is what it’s supposed to remark. Morality is out the door—no right or wrong, just shades of gray—epitomized most recently by a president (grandchild of the “greatest”) who “evolved” in his sophistication to the point that marriage between two men is considered normal by him, never mind the perversion so approved—behavior so filthy as to make one vomit.
A nation living on borrowed money with never a hope of discharging debt indicates a president and Congress so feckless as to be considered worthless. A SCOTUS so impervious to the actual meaning of marriage—or at least the difference between it and same-sex-union—is part of the decline. The notion of the nuclear family as the fabric giving the society cohesion is out-the-door as old-fashioned and trivial.
At rock-bottom, as exemplified in the dismissal of marriage/family as not worth warm spit and therefore preserving, is the national turning-away from God, in whose embodiment is the recipe for sustaining the society. The mantra: “If it feels good, do it, the devil take the hindmost.”
It’s often mentioned that the nation is on the path traveled by the Greeks and Romans, who had it all and through their own debauchery lost it all. One can read Plato and Plutarch to get an understanding of the Greek depravity in which they lived and promulgated. It also applied to the Romans. One can look at Olde Europe to see the dissolution of the “progressive” nations, now followed by the U.S.
The decline at this point seems irreversible. The U.S. has been a grand experiment, now in its twilight. Night is coming. Its only salvation would be a spiritual awakening like the one threaded through the nineteenth century, i.e., a return to actual worship of the Judeo-Christian God and an ethic built on both biblical and logical terms.
And so it goes.