Is that a whiff of brimstone in the air? I don't know, but I've an uncomfortable feeling that we're approaching the end times. Traditional moral beliefs, long-standing taboos, standards of all kinds - they're all falling. From respect for life to the work ethic, from the concept of modesty and personal dignity to a belief in the virtue of individual liberty; they're all under assault by the freaks, the perverts, the narcissists, the irresponsible and immature, the greedy and the vicious, the petty little self-appointed gods of modernism, socialism and every other vile "ism" that seeks to order our existence in accordance with the idiotic theories of half-wit politicians or the insane dreams of diabolical philosophes.
I mean, really, it's hard not to see the hand writing on the wall when one reads about zoo bordellos in Germany, an Oregon father using provocative photos of his own daughter to sell a car, naked protesters in Rep. Boehner's office, political litmus tests for foster parents in the UK, the election of Alan Grayson - and Barack Obama, for that matter...the list just goes on and on. It all reminds me of one of Wodehouse's observations: that maybe man really isn't God's last word on the subject.
Now, I'm no historical determinist. Things don't have to be this way. I believe in free will and the capacity of human beings to change themselves and their societies for the better. But there are critical moments in history - and this may be one of them - when people of virtue, intelligence, strong moral character and common sense, having become exhausted from striving against evil, simply withdraw from the public discourse and leave the field to the wicked and their pliable foot soldiers, the invincibly ignorant. The problem, of course, is that "it rains on the just and the unjust"; we cannot truly withdraw into our own personal little worlds when the great big world insists on intruding.