This week's beheading of photo journalist James Foley, and the subsequent viewing of the final agonizing minutes of his life by millions of morbid voyeurs, has rekindled in me one of the aspects of a declining society. The coarsening of our culture has lead us, not kicking and screaming, but willingly sharing barbarism with each other, to the edge of the cliff overlooking the crushed and shattered bones of civilized society.
The ghoulish appetites of those on the Left, the Right, and in the center have lead them to believe that their taste for the macabre is warranted by the actions of an evil enemy. I have heard some say that we must view these types of atrocities on video to appreciate the real nature of our enemy. But anyone who has witnessed the murder of 3,000 Americans on 911, the beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl and contractor Nick Berg, the countless images of burned bodies hanging from bridges, and even the video and photos of our soldiers' bodies being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in 1994, and still does not understand the nature of our enemy, has a serious lack of moral outrage that will not be satisfied by any number of beheading videos.
The coarsening of America is not only illuminated by the morbidity present in the mindset it requires to voluntarily view the violent death of another human being, but has crept into our daily lives as well. The ease with which we as Americans accept crass and crude behavior is alarming to say the least. Behaviors that only twenty years ago would have been socially unacceptable, are now not only accepted, but in some cases encouraged.
The coarsening of which I speak goes beyond the mere curious and swerves headlong into the barbaric. It transforms the acknowledgement of evil in the world into the desire to witness the performance of evil acts. It has extricated evil from its dark and dreary hole in the earth and given it top billing on the brightly lighted stage of our public discourse. And it has darkened and devoured the part of man's soul where decency and decorum once lived in harmony with outrage and despise.
Individuals may choose for themselves whether they view videos of beheadings and the like, as for me, I respect life and death too much to turn it into a circus sideshow. There is a certain decorum present in death that allows for the dignity of the dying not to be viewed as a spectacle. This respect once existed as one of the tenets of our great nation, but sadly has been replaced by the sensational, which many times is also just lurid. Those who viewed the beheading of James Foley this week are not better informed about the true nature of our enemy, but they should be better informed about their true nature that would allow the justification for such ghoulishness into their lives.