The Right Opinion

Four More Years of Decline

By Cal Thomas · Nov. 8, 2012

Great nations and proud empires have always collapsed from within before they were conquered from without.

President Obama's re-election mirrors the self-indulgent, greedy and envious nation we are rapidly becoming.

Pollsters Michael Barone and Dick Morris got it horribly wrong. Both predicted a 300 electoral-vote win for Romney. It was President Obama who reached that mark.

The central message coming out of the election seems to be that we are no longer the America of our Founders, or even the America that existed during World War II, which produced our “greatest generation.”

Instead, the election validates the enormous cultural shift that has been taking place since the '60s when a countercultural bomb was dropped on society, producing moral fallout that continues to this day.

I am a child of the “greatest generation.” My parents believed I should learn to take care of myself. They would have been too embarrassed to ask for help, if they needed it. If they did, they would turn to family first, or to a friend or neighbor. There were fewer social programs then, so people mostly did without, living only on what they truly needed. It said something about your character if you refused to strive toward self-sufficiency.

In 2012, nothing appears to embarrass us. Snooki. Honey Boo Boo. Reality TV wives. Look at what is paraded before us as normal. Oppose the new normal and it's you who are the anomaly.

Young people are taught in public schools, at major universities, on television and in movies, that every life choice is acceptable and every tenet open to interpretation. In politics, some proclaim it is right to oppose the successful and envy the rich to the point where they must be denigrated and penalized for their success with higher taxes. No one has to be personally responsible. No education; no motivation; no life plan? No problem. The government will take care of you.

One thing Romney might have done better is to have featured more people who had overcome government dependence by embracing the values he was promoting. Example trumps philosophy and success should trump victimhood. Inspiration follows perspiration. But in our “entitlement” age even that might have been impossible to overcome.

Other signs of cultural decay are accepted with little notice. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 percent of babies born in America are born to unmarried women. Shrug. Abortion clinics continue to operate. Yawn.

There is no longer any cultural corrective because we have abandoned the concept of objective truth. Nothing is right or wrong, because that suggests a standard by which right and wrong might be defined. Personal choice is the new “standard,” which is no standard at all. One might as well develop individual weights and measures.

Politicians bid for votes, making promises they can't keep to voters who will believe anything, as long as it appeals to greed, envy and their sense of entitlement. This undermines our culture. This fuels our massive debt, weakening our economic power and America's standing in the world.

Standards used to be defined and mostly accepted, if not always universally practiced. Many grew out of religious principles. According to a recent Pew Poll, a growing number of people, especially young people, no longer believe in God or religion. In this, and in our increasing flirtation with socialism, America is becoming more like Europe. Government seems to be replacing God as the only acceptable “deity.”

So what is the answer? Should conservatives throw in the towel and say America, as passed down to us by previous generations, is no more? That was President Obama's announced goal four years ago when he promised to “fundamentally transform America.” He's doing it and sufficient numbers of us appear happy to let him. When they realize what they have done, however, it may well be too late to reverse course.



Ct-Tom in NC said:

Cal, You paint an unrelentingly negative picture. It pains me to admit that I agree with you. Yes, the things that have been, and now will be done, will not be easily undone. Once folks get used to being "given" stuff, it's hard to convince them that they should give it up. (See Greece, 2012.)

This is a very dark time for our country. I shall rest awhile, then pick myself up and renew the fight, but it is getting harder to carry on. You an I are about the same age and I consider myself blessed to have lived through what I believe were America's best days. I hope that there will be even better ones ahead, but I'm not sure that I believe it will work out.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Cal in In So Cal said:

Ya got that right, Cal. There was a time not so long ago when most folks here in this country had a sense of purpose - something we once called "values." Slowly but surely the notion that if it "feels good, it is okey to do" moved in and keeps on directing our lives. The sense of right and wrong is gone - replaced by the idea that we are all here to enjoy our good fortune in havng so much material stuff: The more the merrier! Add greed to the formula and you have a nation in decline - and dropping fast. It is just a matter of time. This last election proved that.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

The generation we have today is the "laziest generation". Don't ask them to have any moral values or work ethic. Those old things are "passe" and don't fit into their lives. It is better to sit on their sorry asses and let those who still believe in hard work, being responsible for the choices they make, and taking care of their own, and not depending on the government to furnish them a living. Shameless parasitic good-for-nothings with no pride in themselves or in the very country that sustains them.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 10:52 AM

sfj in Alabama said:

This is not my country any longer. It belongs to the god-less liberal vermin, welfare cheats, pornographers homosexual activists, racists and the "you owe me" crowd. If my wife passes before I do, I'll look for somewhere else to live because this country is going down the tubes. It will cease to exist in 25 years.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Janet Stumpf in Calimesa, CA said:

Speaking of declining empires. I recall watching Khrushchev on TV, pounding on his podium saying, "There is no need to attack the U.S., as they will be destroyed from within." For some reason this came back into my mind yesterday. Then I started to recall some things my parents told me. My mom was English and was in London during the blitz, dad was in the Air Force and stationed there. They mentioned what a liar Hitler was, and how he easily fooled the people. And only in the end, when nothing could be done did they realize they had been duped. My mom passed away a couple of years after obama was elected to office. She told me, to watch out for him, as this was just how Hitler started. And you know what, I believe her!

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 9:35 PM

patriot in China in Shanghai, China replied:


my Mom has repeatedly been saying this as well, how Hitler started and brainwashed the masses, took away to populous' guns, etc. We are bound to let history repeat itself (or some very close form of it).

Friday, November 9, 2012 at 9:03 AM

DeeDee Will in W.Oh said:

How do we combat the legions of people who have figured out the system of increasing free money and programs? For every child they have, they collect more money and don't work. And Obama sees them as a candidates dream. Court them and they will vote for him. They don't pay taxes, so who cares what Obama does, he is just what they need to get them more free money and stuff.
While we work and more money goes to taxes. Improvements on my home, I pay while they have found free improvements. Don't own a car, and are willing to take up space at a job you don't want to do. Well the government pays the taxi. They can only work 27 hours a week, no more because in order to receive welfare. Romney was right about the 47 percent. Believe it.

Friday, November 9, 2012 at 10:37 AM