My typical modus operandi for writing a column is to choose a recent event, or one aspect of the never ending news cycle and try to offer a unique angle or insight. This week, despite the supercharged and frenzied array of choices from developments in politics and culture, I have no appetite for the norm — which is rather remarkable in a week when we find out President Obama seemingly bought back four hostages with a $400 Million ransom, the GOP Presidential efforts appear to be imploding, and the British are giving the rest of us dental hygiene advice. What I feel impressed to express this week is more nuanced, more vague.
I realized something in a moment of self awareness: I’m lonely.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not really lonely in the typical sense. I have a wonderful wife, amazing kids, a good circle of friends. It’s not a social loneliness, per se. It’s different. It’s a cultural loneliness that arises only in an environment of hostility toward much of what I’ve cherished my entire life, coupled with what looks like a mass exodus from reason. So overwhelming is the tsunami of messaging and information bullishly challenging long-held beliefs, many are questioning just about everything about life and their understanding of the world. Good people are getting swept up in it. It’s hard to watch the pull of external societal expectation yank people from the anchors of their deepest virtues.
Perhaps I sound indignant, but I’m not even immune. I laugh at things I never would have five years ago. Today’s “tame” entertainment contains messages and images that would have been controversial in the recent past. Indecency is so incredibly common, pointing it out seems fuddy duddy and even unproductive. To put it plainly, things are changing too fast, and too many don’t care a whit. And I’m seeking that figurative friend who grieves the loss of normalcy with me. I find myself hoping that for the foreseeable future I can maintain even a small cadre of allies who get it, and who get me, and I them.
I guess I’m seeking cultural kindred spirits to climb aboard whatever rickety raft we can find to navigate the rough waters that everyone knows lie ahead. Perhaps the pool of these potential soulmates is dwindling, but here’s how I know who they are: They will see what I see, as if we have the same eyes. I need to hear from these people to remind me that sanity still exists, even if it’s in pockets, and that we should continue to encourage one another and stay together.
I believe our adversaries move their agenda by creating this illusory feeling of cultural loneliness through shame, the language of isolation, and casting ridicule and spurious accusations at those who dare suggest we keep traditions that work. The ugly and insidious secret is that a content populace is difficult to control, so they manufacture discontent, making perceptions more pliable — so pliable, in fact, they will get many to believe confused grown men are actually women, that shredding and sucking from the womb a near full-term baby is only a “procedure”, and that a globe that isn’t warming actually is, catastrophically so. They get to tell the world anything — and I mean anything — they desire, and if people are emotional enough it becomes the new truth.
And that, right there, is what I grieve and what terrifies me. As over the top as it sounds, we are witnessing the rapid destruction of our culture, the annihilation of truth, and the death of virtue. I don’t know what to do to stop it. Perhaps we mortals can’t.
I just don’t want to be all alone to watch Rome burn to the ground.
Associated Press award-winning columnist Neal Larson of Idaho Falls is also the author of “Living in Spin.” He is a conservative talk show host on KID Newsradio 590am, 106.3 and 92.1fm, and also at www.kidnewsradio.com. “The Neal Larson Show” can be heard weekday mornings from 8:00 to 10:00. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.