by Rod D. Martin
April 24, 1999
It’s only been a year since we were writing about Jonesboro.
I really didn’t want to write this column. I didn’t ever want to write another column like it again.
But that’s just the point. What was once an unheard-of topic is now becoming almost routine. Only the locations – and the stylistic bent of the murderers – seems to change.
A year ago, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee prayed that the day would never come when shock was not our reaction to horrors such as Littleton; yet even then the shock derived primarily from the venue of the killings. We have long since accepted the idea of gang violence – once again, kids killing kids – and our murder rates provoke barely a yawn. We have long since grown accustomed to the culture of death. Indeed, from our abortuaries to our latest box-office craze, we have embraced that culture, whether as a fun night out or as a cowardly but effective way to solve a “personal” problem.
Alan Keyes wrote well when he demanded this week that we look beyond the symptom to the spiritual sickness in our land. Post-Christian America revolves around precisely one of the inalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence: the pursuit of happiness. “If it feels good, do it” has left the realm of slogan and become the subconscious principle we live by. From Nike to Outback Steakhouse to your psychiatrist to – all too often – your preacher, the entire world tells us today that incessant rebellion is the only way to fulfillment, that the only absolute is that there are no absolutes, and that anyone who requires a standard thereby becomes your oppressor.
This is hardly a new philosophy; indeed, it is the oldest philosophy of man. But the evolutionists do not lie when they say man apart from God is an animal. By his nature he seeks only what gratifies himself, all the day long. And what usually gratifies him best is that which will deviate most from whatever authority is placed over him.
When the deviation becomes too great, the humanist claims the deviant is insane. This is the legacy of Freud, and necessary if the humanist is to confine dangerous people while still pretending there is no absolute right or wrong. But the depraved man is not insane: he is merely normal. He does whatever he wants, exactly like a peace-loving flower child. He, like every rebel, recognizes no legitimate authority above himself; therefore, who may say what he should want?
And who ought be shocked when he wants nothing more than to kill?
The Founders of the nation understood this all too well, and wrote about it prolifically. John Adams said: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” His generation agreed.
Our generation does not. Look at it’s hero: Bill Clinton. Just two months ago, all we scribes were writing of the dangers of a government which no longer values or abides by the rule of law. In Littleton, we see the dangers of a people similarly debased, now for some thirty-five years.
In the absence of private virtue, society collapses. It is a big thing, society; it takes a while to cave in. But cave in it does, as night follows day.
The Founders well appreciated what public policy could do to restrain evil. But they also knew that public order is impossible unless certain behaviors are constantly reinforced as “socially unacceptable.” Decades of degradation of the family and the individual through easy divorce, easy drugs, easy sex, and above all easy abortion produced Littleton. Why should anyone respect a schoolchild’s life when 38 million babies’ lives have been brutally snuffed out by one in five of all of the women in America? Where will children learn the values we call “decency” if not in a functioning home? How will those homes function if parents are not willing to commit at least to stay together, despite their own passing, irresponsible fancies? Shall a social worker, or a new gun law, be all that stands between us and the abyss?
C. S. Lewis said that “there are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.'” It becomes more painfully obvious by the day that “our way” is destroying our children and our very civilization before our eyes.