The Murder of Civil Life
By Bruce Walker
June 29, 2009
The putrid comments by Letterman about Sarah Palin and her daughter, and the dethronement of Carrie Prejean for the vice of honesty bring home just how savagely civil life has been murdered by the Left. We no longer have a civil public life. It has been crushed between pinchers of enraged nihilism and fantasy causes. "Feminists" or the Ladies Auxiliary of Marxist Enmity (LAME) should be threatening boycotts of the CBS network or demanding the de-politicization of beauty contests, but that presumes LAME cares about women: its disciples care only about venting their private fury towards an empty life.
What has happened to Sarah and Carrie has happened to our whole social fabric. Decent people relating in normal lives have traditionally been able to share values: truth, learning, amusement, family, country and faith. These have been disappearing from our social lives; each strangled and then hauled off for a clandestine burial.
Consider what has happened to truth in modern life. Barack Obama invents stories about his relatives visiting Auschwitz - words that are made up out of whole cloth - and no one much cares. The descent began when Clinton lied about Monica and almost everything else, and has continued unabated. The very act of lying, once considered evil, is now considered proof of shrewdness. How well someone can "spin" truth is considered rather like how a tennis player or a baseball pitcher can spin a ball.
If truth does not matter, then the accumulation of truth which we call learning cannot matter either. Public education and academia are simply re-education. Children and college students are taught "facts" which round out political indoctrination. There was a time when education meant exposing growing minds to a universe of facts which supported conflicting opinions and grasping the thinking behind those opinions. The myth of the intolerant medieval university or old public school systems of America is evidence of just how little our modern totalitarians actually know: debate, controversy, cognition, and schools of thought were the norm, not the exception. The very term "schools of thought," no longer exists. In our murdered civil life, there is "the school of thought," surrounded by barbed wire.
Amusement too has died. In its place are spite, angst, degradation, imbecility, and madness dressed up as entertainment. Channel surfing, even when the surf is as long as the Pacific Coast, shows just how empty the once bright stage of entertainment has become. We loved Lucy, but not the untalented and unfunny women who came fifty years after her. Singers like Perry Como have been replaced by puerile, forgettable nebbishes. Once films like It's a Wonderful Life joined us into a common, happy heart, but now the vacuum we call "Hollywood" cannot produce anything better than bad remakes of old movies.
Families once were families. Fathers, mothers, grandparents, sisters, brothers, cousins, children - the glorious linkage of life which reproduction and its inventor, God, gave us. In many ways, family was the center of life. "Marry in haste, repent at leisure" was true wisdom. Holidays revolved around families. People grew up in families. Houses were homes, and homes were where the heart was. Now we haggle over the meaning of words like "marriage" and talk about the lives of unborn babies in terms of "choice." Family in our world, like in the totalitarian nightmares of Stalin and Hitler, has been crushed into a vague, weak, feeling and nothing more.
Once the overwhelming majority of Americans understood that the greatest blessing of their lives was simply being born in the land of liberty. Now vast numbers of our fellow countrymen actually view the chosen home of tens of millions of refugees as simply an ordinary nation or, depending upon how marinated they are in modern culture, view America as the primary source of misery and injustice in the world.
Faith, too, has been purged from our society. Faith in anything is considered suspicious unless it is faith in the bland materialism of the ant colony so some form of paganism with brutal, animal values. Transcendent moral ideals repel so many of us that the community of faith is almost an underground resistance in some dreary Orwellian regime. Expressing faith (ask Sarah and Carrie) is an invitation to the ugliest sort of mob lynch parties. The Shabbat candles must be kindled in the closet and the sign of the fish drawn in the dust with a stick.
Strip honesty, knowledge, amusement, family, country and belief from communal life and nothing much is left. That is where we are today. That is why the blathering television set and the chattering classrooms seem so utterly empty. That is why so many young people, born after the end of civil life, accept any dream world so completely. Civil life has died. More specifically, it has been murdered by those who find no meaning in life and no purpose for existence. They wish us to live as they do: desperately alone.
Bruce Walker is a long-time conservative writer whose work is published regularly at popular conservative sites such as American Thinker.