President Ronald Reagan is famous for his one-liners. Some were funny, such as “there you go again.” Others were threatening, such as, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” It seemed like he was always going to say something profound when he spoke which helped make him one of the most liked Presidents in modern history.
There were two quotes in particular that are at play today. Both were warnings and both seem to be coming to fruition in ways many Americans likely didn’t think possible a decade or two ago. I know I didn’t. I knew it was possible for things to change over time and for the overarching sentiment of the nation to shift, but I did not anticipate we would be so close to them becoming a reality in my lifetime, let alone in such a short period of time.
Let’s look at the two quotes and how the warnings from President Reagan are not being heeded, thus setting us on a collision course with what he feared for America’s future.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”
When my son was in high school, I often asked him about the state of affairs with the youth of the time. He is a patriot and I always heard the doom and gloom from many parents who said the schools were indoctrinating their children into false belief systems and failed ideologies. Despite these reports, I never feared for his generation because they were just as appalled by 9/11 as mine was. They may not have been as cognizant of the geopolitical implications, nor were they as concerned about Islamic radicalization as the older generations who reacted to the attacks, but they still loved America.
In many ways, the leftist indoctrination was incremental. The internet and the rise of gaming technology had much more of a negative effect on his generation than any ideological pushes. But today’s younger generation is different. We see them doing things that make no sense. I don’t want to make blanket claims, but this isn’t the same thing as the standard generational condemnation placed on youths from parents who don’t understand. I do understand what this generation is seeing and doing. It’s not good.
This is a generation that is polling between 40%-55% in favor of socialism. Think about that. Such concepts were unthinkable to all previous American generations because they all recognized the fallacies of socialism based on what they were taught by parents, teachers, professors, each other, and most recently on the internet itself. But the fringe professors of the past are the mainstream professors of today. Even high school teachers have become so unhinged with their teachings that many, particularly younger ones, feel it’s necessary to instill a sense of hostility towards their own country.
What was once anecdotal is now so commonplace it no longer makes for a good headline. It’s expected. The gap in understanding about the nature of socialism, communism, and other radical philosophies in government have yielded a generation that no longer cares so much about their freedom. They are a generation of contradictions and enigmas; they don’t want to be told what to do yet they want the government to step in and get involved in everything.
How did this happen? How did we go from a generation like the one that grew up under Reagan and the subsequent generation that grew up through 9/11, both of whom loved and appreciated America, to the generation of today that is suddenly against everything signified by America’s actual existence? To answer that, we need to look at Reagan’s second great warning.
“If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
I don’t think I need to explain this one at all. If you’re a believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, one who practices a Judeo-Christian faith, then you are very well aware that our nation is slipping away from the religious foundation that not only built us but kept us improving as a country until recently. One can look at Roe v. Wade, gay marriage, or other political examples of the nation’s faith slipping away, but those are symptoms. The cultural shift away from the faith is the root cause of our nation’s moral distress.
One cannot be surrounded by sin and expect that it won’t creep into his house.
But the Biblical writers often told of challenges from within the church itself. We’re seeing this as the spirit of antichrist today manifesting in false teachers and dismal representatives of the Gospel. Ask today’s youthful generation to name a religious leader. The answers will vary but chances are strong they’ve heard of a prosperity gospel megachurch pastor or a corrupt televangelist. They see the greed that drives so many in false church and they believe this is what the faith is all about. They see Westboro Baptist Church, the priest sex scandals, and pastors telling their congregations they need a bigger jet.
If the “church” represents greed, bigotry, and sexual misconduct to this generation, why would they turn to it for their own understanding of life?
It’s not a stretch to generalize that this generation, at least a very large chunk of it, worship on the altars of climate change, transhumanism, and Hollywood morality. They cannot reconcile their strong beliefs against the persecution of the LGBTQ community and still find personal solace in a religious movement that is allegedly doing the persecuting.
I had a jarring conversation a few years back with a gay friend. We were up late one night talking about his beliefs. He knew (as all do deep down) that there must be a creator, but no argument I made for the truth of the Bible could convince him righteousness could be found there. This was my own shortcoming, something I’ve regretted ever since. I failed him by not being able to overcome the perception of hatred he felt was directed towards him by “church folks.”
We must all do better.
Reagan feared a generation that abandoned freedom and a country that abandoned faith. It shouldn’t be surprising that the greatest threat to our future as a nation is the symbiotic expansion of both of his greatest fears.