Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline
by Robert H. Bork
Judge Bork’s assessment of American culture should begin with a warning to those who become easily depressed. The optimist, however, will be energized both by the glimmers of hope Bork observes and the way he dogs members of the “New Left.”
Bork begins by carefully defining modern liberalism as an evolutionary progression that now combines the seemingly contradictory characteristics of radical egalitarianism and radical individualism. There are also chapters dealing with today’s issues like: religion, feminism, multiculturalism, affirmative action, racism, political correctness, abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, crime, illegitimacy, welfare. However, this is not a collection of issue-oriented essays. All material is tied together with the theme of the subtitle. Here are two of my favorite passages:
“… multiculturalists have turned Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream into a nightmare. He asked that his children ‘not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,’ which as Bernstein says, is the ‘essential ideal of liberalism.’ But multiculturalists say, ‘Judge me by the color of my skin for therein lies my identity and my place in the world.'”
“The First Amendment begins quite simply: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…’ At the time, an establishment of religion was understood to be the preference by government of one or more religions over others. Sometimes this is referred to, inaccurately, as mandating the separation of church and state. The difficulty is that within the last several decades, the Supreme Court, at the urging of organizations such as the ACLU, has read the clause as though it commanded the separation of religion and society. It is one thing to say that government may not sponsor or support particular churches; it is quite another to say that wherever government appears, however passively, as in the ownership of parks, the symbols of religion must be banished.”
Perhaps the larger point of Bork’s masterpiece is this: because liberalism controls the institutions of our culture (i.e., universities and public schools, churches, entertainment, the courts, media) “conservative political victories will always be tenuous and fragile unless conservatives recapture the culture.” Bork believes there are “four events that could produce such a moral and spiritual regeneration: a religious revival; the revival of public discourse about morality; a cataclysmic war; or a deep economic depression.” He goes on to describe a religious revival he believes is underway through organizations like Promise Keepers, the Christian Coalition, and the Catholic Campaign for America.
© Copyright 1997, 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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