Is America Ancient Rome Redux?
It was during Augustine’s time that Rome was attacked by barbarians. Once-mighty Rome was reduced to being taken over by tribes from the north who could not be compared to Rome’s achievers.
Ancient Rome had, and America has, the Three M’s: military power, material riches, and moral corruption. Of the three, immorality undid Rome. Will it undo America? Is America Ancient Rome redux? As in the case of Ancient Rome, will there be the Decline and Fall of the American Empire?
Unless the “generic Christians” get back to the real thing, that is, real Christianity, America is in real danger of decline and being taken over by non-Christian elements. Americans are committing moral suicide, aided and abetted by amoral and immoral professors, television magnates, and self-serving politicians – the three “Wormwoods” serving their satanic “Uncle Screwtape.”1
Abraham Lincoln must have realized that weakness of too much freedom when he spoke at the Lyceum in Springfield, Illinois, in June of 1838:
“At what point should we expect the approach of danger? By what means should we fortify ourselves against it? Should we expect some transatlantic giant step out of the ocean and crush us with a blow? Never. All of the armies of Europe and Asia and Africa combined, could never, by force, take a drink from the Ohio or make a mark on the Blue Ridge, not in a thousand years.
“Then at what point should danger be expected? I answer: if it ever reaches us, it must spring up among us. It can never come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, then we ourselves must be its author and its finisher. As a nation of free men, we must live on through all time, or die by suicide.”2
It behooves us seriously to consider the words of Lincoln spoken some 176 years ago. America is prone to suicide and fratricide because of its freedom. There is just too much of it granted to the wrong elements. Freedom is given to the abortionists, to Hollywood movie-makers of sex and violence, to left-wing TV commentators, to the pornographic element, and it is precisely those groups who will eventually do in America. It is just a matter of time.
Some 23 (twenty-three) years after Lincoln delivered his speech at that Lyceum in Springfield, Illinois, a fratricidal war broke out between the American North and South. Now a war of morals is raging in America and the slippery slopes have become black ice, of which many Americans are not aware until they try applying the brakes. America is inundated with “Uncle Screwtapes” and “Wormwoods” who gnaw from within. These “Screwtapes” and “Wormwoods” are the abortionists, homosexual activists, pornographers, the cybersex and anti-Christian TV media that permeate this land and crisscross it from Maine to California and from Washington to Florida.
Unbridled freedom of the press and freedom of television broadcasting prolonged the Viet Nam War and cost thousands more American lives. The Vietnamese Communists were ready to surrender, but the left-wing American television purveyors kept their spirits up and the war continued. America won the second Iraqi War, but the left wing of American television broadcast photos of Iraqi prisoners being manhandled (admittedly wrong but largely exceptional), costing America the peace and generating much hatred for America, especially among the Muslims. When and if America decays, she will decay from within promoted by the decadent forces of the big three of abortion, pornography, and same-sex unions. If America permits these three aberrations to continue, she will be committing suicide. This “Culture of Death,” as Pope John Paul II aptly termed it, permeates American society. This Culture of Sin is weakening America from within, and her enemies will take advantage from without in an attempt to destroy her.
Quo vadis, America? Your choice is either the culture of death or the culture of life. Moral carpenters are urgently needed to repair the “American House,” as are moral exterminators needed to fumigate its immoral structure in order to rid it of televised, publicized, and politicized “Wormwoods.” For a nation to aspire to a high standard, its people must be righteous. The high moral plateau must be sought by those people, lest they be inundated with sin. It is the civil, physical, and spiritual duty of each of us to reach the virtuous high ground in order to avoid being flooded with the sinful debris flowing from television, magazines, and politics.
Any success these three outlets have is due to the people who view, read, and vote for them. No comedian, no magazine, no politician can long endure without an accommodating audience; and that audience is the American people, of whom at least 85% are registered Christians. The cult of profanity could not long continue if listeners closed their ears. Shakespeare noted in Love’s Labor Lost: “A jest’s prosperity lies in the ear that hears it, not in the tongue of him that makes it.” Goethe wrote: “Men show their character in nothing more clearly than in what they think laughable.” And the Latin aphorism tells us: “Quodquod recipitur in modo recipientis recipitur.” (Whatever is received is received according to the mind of the receiver.) There you have in triplicate why the profane comedian prospers. Without a receptive audience, he is nothing but another vulgar babbler, as are all the other promoters of the anti-culture.
By E.J. Kalinowski
1 See The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. 1942.
2 Lincoln did not foresee the atomic age with its intercontinental rocketry
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in “The Catholic Response” (Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas is Publisher and Editor)