Our Collective Descent
Our Collective Descent

Our Collective Descent

Ok. Enough has been said and written about Miley Cyrus’ recent performance at the MTV Music Awards.

Well, almost. To once more recall that most “blessed” event, observers note that not only did Miley sing and bump and grind, but she also publicly “performed” acts of simulated oral and other to-be-determined types of sexual activity. If I were a Hollywood stargazer, my words would be these:

Truly unforgettable…With her highly choreographed display, the former Disney tween role model has now successfully transitioned to the next step of her career and joined the league which includes among others, Madonna and Lady Gaga.

In the end, what more can be said? With career paths being what they are, who’s to blame another for promoting herself in the public arena and ascending to new heights? You go girl!

But wait. Is this what our society has come to accept as ascending? Why, of course. Don’t you know that such progression means that we have come to accept virtually any activity that promotes our so-called freedom, personal identity, and inner self?

Want purple hair? Just do it.

Want to shack up? Just do it.

Want to breed with seven different women? Just do it.

Want an abortion? Just do it.

In the end, who cares? Not society. Not the president. And apparently, not even Mrs. Jones or you or me.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal (Work and the American Character, 31 August 2013), author Peggy Noonan reminds us of this sad reality by recalling the way “bored” youth recently killed a young Australian man and a World War II veteran. She notes:

We’re shocked. But we’re not shocked. And that itself is disturbing. We’re used to all this, now, this crassness and lowness of public behavior.

Years ago, I grew up in a neighborhood where moms and dads stood together. No, not side-by-side; but rather, in lock step. If it was lunchtime, and children were in the yard, all were fed. If hands needed to be washed, then get out the soap and hose. I even remember that when the street lights came on, they served as a collective signal that every mouse should immediately return to their house. In those days, parents insisted upon proper behavior for little Jimmy or Susie or Kurt. If a child was playing at Mrs. Jones’ house and violated the collective standards, then not only would they receive a polite scolding and be sent on their way, but she would also call their mother to explain the circumstances. And before she hung up, I am absolutely certain that those listening on party lines could hear Mrs. Godfryd say to Mrs. Jones: “Thanks for letting me know of this behavior…I’ll take care of it.”

But alas, that was then and this is now. Times have changed. We’ve washed our hands of past practices that were tried-and-true. We’ve ascended!

To characterize our present situation, perhaps it is wise to recall the brief words of Malcolm Muggeridge regarding author Duncan Williams’ book, Trousered Apes: Sick Literature in a Sick Society.

Here in England, [this] book began by being more or less bootlegged. Few reviewers noticed it (an honorable exception being C.P. Snow, who dealt with it at length), bookshops didn’t stock it, the trade and the literary establishment left it severely alone. The reason is obvious. ‘Trousered Apes’ (the title is taken from C.S. Lewis) is a cogently argued, highly intelligent and devastatingly effective anatomisation of what passes for culture today, showing that it is nihilistic in purpose, ethically and spiritually vacuous, and Gadarene in destination.

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Written by
Deacon Kurt Godfryd