I don’t even know where to begin with Jim Gannon’s grumpy-old-man screed. I’m pretty sure the elders of every society have grumbled the same list of complaints about the decay of society since we first learned to speak. But I really take offense at many of the tired old tropes he trots out in this particular instance. Some are insulting, some misguided, others just flat-out wrong.
So let me just go ahead and plow straight into this “predictable liberal lament.” (Such contempt and tut-tutting opprobrium in that tiny little phrase!)
I really hope Mr. Gannon was kidding or being ironic about the 1950s being the “last normal decade.” Maybe through some rose-colored glasses, but I would never look back at the 1950s as any kind of ideal. Maybe for a middle-class white man, but not for many people who gained full shares of the American Dream in the decades that followed. Conservatives have consistently resisted the granting of any new rights to anyone, as though civil rights were a zero-sum game. Rights and liberty are not zero-sum; rights granted to one increase the liberties of all.
Rather than wade through the rest of his unsupported and unsupportable assertions, let me just point out that violent crime is at a decades-low point, teenage pregnancy likewise, morality has no relation to religion and there has never been a correlation established between video games/computer games and real-world violence. (Yet there has been a negative correlation established between pornography consumption and rape – another perpetual culture-warrior stalking horse.) Finally, those “millions of unborn children?” Unless those children were Mr. Gannon’s, those decisions are none of his concern.
You want a responsible, engaged polity? Stop relying on superstition and appeals to authority, and move toward fact- and reason-based discussions among citizens of equal standing. We are not Rome; Mr. Gannon’s analogy fails.