What we’ve lost

Ehud Would at Faith and Heritage has posted another of his worthy essays  on the subject of ‘The Way We Were.’ He begins by citing a 2003 piece by Gary North, which appeared on Lew Rockwell.com

In that piece, North mentions a scene in the classic 1934 movie, It Happened One Night,in which passengers on a Greyhound bus have a spontaneous sing-along. I remember that scene. Oddly enough I recently saw another 1930s movie with a similar scene.  Coincidentally, I wrote a blog piece some years ago about the loss of our social cohesion and commonality, and cited as an example a scene from a 1943 movie, The Human Comedy.

In it, young men in uniform, on their way to be shipped out to the front, engage in a sing-along. The song they agree to sing is an old hymn, ”Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.” I found that very poignant in the context of the scene, where the young men, off to face possible death in battle, sing ”What have I to dread, what have I to fear? Leaning on the everlasting arms.” I thought of how a movie of today would never have such a scene, and would never include a Christian hymn, at least not in a positive light. And worse than that, is that a random group of soldiers or Americans in general would not be likely to know that song by heart, or to even be familiar with it — even in the Bible Belt of the South. Today’s churches most often shun the old hymns sung by generations of our forefathers in favor of bland, vague ‘love songs’ that may or may not mention Jesus, or God; these songs are called ‘praise songs.’ But in the world of 1943 America, most heartland Americans knew songs like ‘Leaning on the Everlasting Arms’, and not only knew them but would sing them unashamedly in public, as in that train scene. Such would not be the case today. We were a more closely-knit people then.

So yes, these scenes of communal singing amongst strangers on public conveyances were not some kind of quaint ‘Norman Rockwellization’ of the old days by Hollywood, but were not far-fetched at all. Americans in general had certain common customs and shared experience, a shared culture. We were much more a nation and a people then, in a cultural and social sense, because we were a people descended from common ancestors, with a common history, language, and religion. Now multiculturalism has destroyed that, and we are a grab-bag of peoples divided by mutual suspicion in many cases, or at least wary of ”offending” each other or some third party who may be eavesdropping on private conversations. People have been arrested for things said in private conversations.

The America of 2016 is very much a different country than the one many of us grew up in. I hear this sentiment expressed even by people who grew up in the 1980s, so it is not peculiar to the oldest citizens now.

One of the things that is most unattractive for me about much of the ‘far right’ of today is the utter cynicism toward the past that is on display amongst some of those under 40 or so. They are in agreement with the left that the old America is dead and gone and that the clock can never be turned back in any way, nor should it be. In fact many of them have accepted the left’s depiction of the pre-PC America as mostly a falsified, whitewashed (in more ways than one) memory of what was really an already-corrupt America, and that there was no idyllic America, no golden age. No, there is no perfect or spotless  era, but the America of old was definitely a happier and more peaceful and a safer time. Those who say otherwise are likely expressing ‘sour grapes’ sentiments, or else they are people who actually prefer the leftist-created ‘America’ in which there is more ”freedom”, freedom to transgress.

The left has destroyed our social cohesion in many ways, and it is not just in a racial and ethnic sense that they have undermined our country; it is in a social/ethical/religious sense. They have given us a post-Christian — no, anti-Christian replacement America, and many of the younger generations prefer this part of the Left’s reconstructed America. The past appears bland, homogenous, conformist, and boring to many of those weaned on the Left’s cynicism.

So even on the ”right”, the Left has succeeded in creating division.
In the religious sphere, the Left has subverted Christianity so that Babelist, multicult ‘churchians’ go to battle against their brethren who hold to the more truthful and more Biblically-grounded faith of our fathers. And sad to say, many of these politically correct Babelists are in denominations that were once known as ‘conservative’ and Biblically sound. The Southern Baptists spring to mind, and institutions like Bob Jones University, which has repented of it previous political incorrectness in opposing miscegenation.

I’ve gone far afield from the points made by Ehud Would in his piece; I do recommend you read it.

As for the popular view that looking to the past is useless and counterproductive, what about this:

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.”

However, the next verse says:

But they said, We will not walk therein.”

The more things change…

3 thoughts on “What we’ve lost

  1. You always seem to find the most applicable Bible verse, VA. That is where I sorely feel the lack of a Christian upbringing. Both my boys, having gone to Christian school, are very familiar with (and memorized a good deal of ) scripture. There’s a reason the original Americans regarded the Bible as the foundation to all knowledge and learning.


    • Thanks, Sheila. Well, it’s never too late to learn.

      I have to admit, though, that as I have been more lax in my Scripture reading lately that my memory is not what it used to be.
      Though rote learning and memorization are denigrated by today’s educational ‘experts’ I think they serve a good purpose especially with Bible memorizing — because these verses become part of you, and they come to mind at the time when they are needed. I suppose just reading regularly helps to establish those words in your mind and heart even if you don’t take up a memorizing practice as with ‘flash cards’ or whatever. It is worth it.


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