1) An elevation of victimhood
In a weird reversal of how the world has worked since man was raised up out of the dust, it has become good to be a victim in America. In fact, many of the people held up as “victims” in our country are loving every second of their “victimhood.”
The best recent example of that phenomenon is Sandra Fluke. Here’s an unaccomplished 30-year-old student who went to Congress and demanded that other people be forced to pay thousands of dollars a year to subsidize her birth control. It’s like the set-up of a stand-up comedian’s joke, except that when people responded with the natural punch lines that featured lots of “She’s a slut” jokes, Sandra Fluke was treated like a victim. Next thing you know, she’s on TV, she’s treated like a heroine, and she gets a speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention. For a fifth-rate mediocrity like Sandra Fluke, her supposed “victimhood” was the best thing that ever happened to her.
Then there’s bus monitor Karen Klein. People felt sorry for the nice old lady who was bullied by kids on a bus — so much so that they chipped in more than a half million dollars to help her out. However, this was an adult whose job was to keep kids from being bullied. How many kids on that bus must have been abused because she was so completely unsuited to the job she willingly chose to take on? At the end of the day, she wasn’t a “victim” in any meaningful sense; she was just a failure at her job.
Does treating people like this as heroes strike anyone as healthy or good for the country? At best, victims should be pitied, not celebrated or rewarded.
2) A fascination with freaks, failures, and deviants
For many Americans, the easiest way to get your name in the papers, get people talking about you, and make money isn’t to be great at something, it’s to be a dirtbag. Make a sex tape, flash your vagina getting out of a car, or just behave like a jackass and everyone will be saying your name. If you don’t think that’s true, then why do you know who Snooki is?
It may have started with Oprah, Phil Donahue, Geraldo, Ricki Lake, Montel Williams, Jenny Jones and the rest of the trash tabloid hosts putting women on TV who didn’t know who their baby-daddy was, but it has devolved even further. Now, we have Jersey Shore, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Small Town Security, and other sub-normal mediocrities being put on the screen for the amusement of the masses.
When you reward bad behavior with money and fame, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get more bad behavior. Snooki may be a skanky loser, but I wonder how many young girls are thinking, “A skanky ‘loser’ with money, fame, and a TV show sounds pretty good to me!”
Related at PJ Media: Narrative Wars: Slap the Honey Boo Boos with Truthaganda
America is a country that was born in revolution and peopled by some of the most independent human beings ever to walk the earth. Our ancestors explored, conquered, and settled this nation under some of the harshest conditions imaginable, even in many places where “government” was more of a theoretical concept than a functioning entity. Now, the government educates your kids, gives you money and food if you don’t have a job, picks which toilets and light bulbs you’re allowed to buy, runs your health care, and takes care of you when you get old. Meanwhile, if you’re so stupid that you hit yourself in the face with an iron until you fracture your skull, you can probably get a lawyer to sue the manufacturer for not putting a warning label on its product telling you not to do that.
We’ve become a society where adults are encouraged to behave like children. As Mark Steyn has said, “A society of children cannot survive, no matter how all-embracing the government nanny.”
Sex is a healthy, normal, and good part of life. For that matter, so is water. But just as you can drown in a flood, our society is drowning in sex. It saturates our magazine ads, TV, and the Internet to such an extent that gyrating women in bikinis trying to sell us beer or teenagers having sex on TV barely even catches our attention.
It has gotten so bad that one scientific study failed after the scientists couldn’t find any men who hadn’t seen pornography. Hyper-sexualized Halloween costumes, nudity on the Internet and in film, and musicians wearing outfits that would have been considered risque for prostitutes fifty years ago have become the norm. Worse yet, we don’t know how to stop ourselves. Any time someone suggests that we turn the dial down a notch or two from acting like a society full of pimps and whores, you’d think it was a suggestion that we put everyone in formless robes and chastity belts. There should be some setting between Leave it to Beaver and a strip club that we can embrace as a country.
5) Indifference towards societal disintegration
Thomas Sowell had it right when he said, “Civilization has been aptly called a ‘thin crust over a volcano.’ The anointed are constantly picking at that crust.”
We seem to start out with an assumption that our culture is healthy, vibrant, and can’t be damaged by any of our societal tinkering. It’s hard to understand what would give anyone this impression when roughly a third of the population has been divorced; 73 percent of black children, 53 percent of Latinos and 29 percent of whites are born outside marriage; and 1 out of every 32 Americans is in prison or on parole.
Yet we slur Christianity, encourage gay marriage, talk up single motherhood, push deviancy in TV and movies, mock morality, and scoff at codes of honor. Throughout most of history, civilizations haven’t looked at attempts to stave off cultural rot as religious zealotry or prudishness; they’ve considered it to be simple common sense.
More from John Hawkins at PJ Lifestyle: