Twilight in America

News: Commentary
by David Gordon  •  •  June 27, 2020   

Moral decay and the death of a republic

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Alas, it's twilight in America. It was axiomatic for the Founding Fathers that, if not girded with a virtuous and moral populace, republics quickly devolve into mob-rule (ochlocracy) and then, tyranny. Benjamin Franklin maintained that "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom." George Washington exhorted, "Virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government." James Madison noted that "To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people is a chimerical idea."


U.S. flag upside down on Thursday night in Minneapolis

(Photo: Julio Cortez/Associated)

Hence, given the advanced state of moral decay of America (and the Western Powers in general), absolutely no one should be surprised by urbania's now-rampant insurrection, chaos, vandalism, and plundering; nor should we be surprised by the growing whispers of revolution casting a pall over the land.

To be sure, we've witnessed the ascent of lawlessness in the last decade or so. But anarchy hasn't conquered with rifles and sabers, pitchforks and torches (although it has, at times, wielded them in our midst), as one might expect. Instead, aided, abetted, and even embraced by our elected leaders, anarchy has been ceded virtually all the ground that it has gained, which has enabled it to find what appears to be an indelible foothold in the nation.

It should go without saying that anarchy is repugnant to all members of a civil society. It should go without saying, therefore, that any lawless leader, any leader who fails to combat anarchy head-on, using all the powers of his office to subdue it and put it down like a rabid dog, should be run out of town on a rail, seeing his parasitical tenure as a political official come to a swift and ignominious end. But this is not the case anymore — because the moral compass of the American voter has gone haywire. And voter depravity trickles upward.

Political leaders who ignore or openly defy the duly enacted laws of their jurisdictions and the oaths of their respective offices are far from being universally reviled as the villains and knaves that they are (as justice would demand). Instead, to the ineffable frustration of men of good will, law-defying progressive autocrats are habitually lionized — turned into social-justice celebs — by their fawning and unscrupulous constituency, a constituency obsessed with transforming America into a socialist state by any means necessary, by hook or by crook.

Barack Obama refused on several occasions to enforce laws that were not politically palatable to him and his radical leftist ilk.

Examples of the disquieting pattern are legion. During his scandal-plagued regime as president of the United States, Barack Obama refused on several occasions to enforce laws that were not politically palatable to him and his radical leftist ilk. His Department of Justice famously refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (a law enacted during the Clinton presidency that prohibited federal recognition of same-sex "marriages") against litigation making its way through the federal courts, aimed at overturning the law. Note that, as chief executive, the president's primary role is to faithfully implement and enforce legislation.

The Obama administration also created, out of thin air (via executive fiat), the "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (DACA) program. Under DACA, the federal government suspended the deportation of illegal aliens brought to the United States as minors, despite the fact that our immigration laws do not allow for a presidential grant of de facto amnesty for those guilty of illicitly entering our borders. Such power is explicitly reserved to Congress pursuant to the supreme law of the land, the Constitution.

Pro-DACA protesters

And sticking with the theme of immigration momentarily, we have, of late, seen the meteoric rise of sanctuary cities and states — locales that thumb their noses at the U.S. government by refusing to hand over illegal aliens to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation in accordance with federal regulations. This policy of non-cooperation critically hamstrings the enforcement of our immigration laws, essentially rendering them a dead letter across large swaths of the nation.

Most recently, we've witnessed the bungling and corrupt Democrat mayor of Seattle, Jenny Durkan, allow a cabal of violent anarchists and Marxists (supposedly protesting George Floyd's recent slaying) to oust law enforcement from the city's East Police Precinct, after days of on-and-off skirmishes.

In the wake of the demoralized police force's surrender (which, of course, took place pursuant to the orders of Durkan), the protesters wasted no time cordoning off several blocks of the city to bar ingress to the police and other expelled city officials. Thus was born a nominally self-governing, dystopian urban island, which has since been dubbed "Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone" (CHAZ) by the adult juveniles who have appointed themselves its overseers.

The creation of CHAZ was an act of outright secession, and in its short and pathetic lifespan, it has been a conspicuous locus of murder, shootings, rioting, vandalism, and theft (predictable hallmarks of a township that has no law-enforcement officers).

The hapless citizens of Seattle who happen to reside within the borders of CHAZ have had to endure their treasonous mayor's shameless undermining of their civil rights and filching of the privileges they should theoretically enjoy as Washington State and Seattle residents — privileges for which they pay handsome taxes.

Police and firemen, for instance, have not been able to respond to emergency scenes. Public property has been defaced and rendered unusable. Business and home owners have had to look on helplessly as crooks have absconded with their personal property. Durkan, however, wants to demonstrate her "wokeness" on issues of racial violence and her contempt for the police, so she has not only abided CHAZ, but endorsed it, glibly predicting that it will be the hub of a "summer of love" (and by love, she must mean violent crime and drug overdoses).

What America needs is Christ.

Each of the foregoing purposeful acts or omissions by liberal members of the American political oligarchy represents a grievous offense against truth and integrity, against the laws that they (our "public servants") take solemn oaths to uphold, against their duties as guardians of the public trust, against the very fabric of civil society. Yet each act or omission was met with breathless plaudits and back-slapping from rank-and-file leftists. This signals the beginning of a horrifying new era. It's an era where the American institution is crumbling from within.

When a politician usurps power that he has not been granted, or when he knowingly and willingly refuses to take actions that he is charged with taking, he makes himself a dictatorial thug and a clear and present danger to the liberty of every member of the governed. When a leader appropriates power to himself that he has not been given, he breaches the foundational social compact between state and citizen, thereby sinning against the entire populace of a commonwealth.


CHAZ protester (Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images)

Needless to say, abuse of power should meet with harsh and universal condemnation. But observation shows that this is not the case, in practice. The Left openly celebrates when their leaders flout our laws to usher in Marxist policies. Because the Left is devoid of integrity. The Left is a mob, which James Madison defined as a group of people "united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community."

The mark of the wicked man is that his will dominates and shapes his intellect. And the mark of a man whose will shapes his intellect is that, for him, the end will always justify the means. A man who lacks integrity will always find a way of justifying the actions that he takes to achieve a desired result, even when the actions are themselves dishonorable or evil. He will bend and retrofit facts to align them with the narrative he's crafted. He will whitewash and rationalize and wriggle, so as to conform truth to his desires, instead of conforming his desires to truth as he should.

Hence, the morality of a nation is intimately linked with how faithfully its politicians will adhere to proper procedure (i.e., the rule of law) in implementing their policy agendas. Since, in moral theology, ends never justify means (as St. Paul instructs in Rom. 3:8), elected officials in righteous nations will constrain themselves to those actions that are within the scope of their allotted powers. On the other hand, they will ensure that they take any actions for which there is an affirmative duty, even when said duty clashes with their political convictions.

Anything short of mass-evangelization and mass-conversion represents the suicide of the republic.

Politicians who prove themselves to be anarchists or tyrants at heart by circumventing political rules or undermining checks and balances — either by act or omission — will be universally panned by an upright people, even by those who happen to ardently agree with the substance of the politicians' platform.

In the moral nation, the rule of law is seen as a standalone good, a thing to be desired in and of itself — for its own sake. In the immoral nation, however, the rule of law is impossible, because no one is willing to bind himself to correct procedure; rather, everyone flails away wildly, wielding any means necessary to realize his vision of political justice. And so, in the immoral nation, mobs are spawned, and anarchy ensues.

The paradigm of chaos that is metastasizing in America testifies unequivocally to the fact that we are a moribund nation, a people in the throes of death. This grim observation is corroborated all the more when one considers the fact that, far from championing order, many of our politicians (the Democrats) have embraced the mob and acquiesced to their modus operandi of thuggery and destruction, an M.O. that's alien to the processes for political change built into our system.

But our problem remains a moral one, not a political one. Take heed of the wisdom of our Founding Fathers: Attempting to right the nation through political discourse alone is fools' gold. What America needs is to rediscover the Gospel. What America needs is to re-forge her conscience. What America needs is Christ. Anything short of mass-evangelization and mass-conversion represents the suicide of the republic, as the untrammeled forces of darkness will fell a godless nation, one monument at a time.

David Gordon holds university degrees in political science, law and theology. He is co-author (with his brother, Tim) of Rules for Retrogrades: Forty Tactics to Defeat the Radical Left. Dave and Tim also co-host a YouTube show and podcast. Gordon is an associate copy editor at Church Militant.
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