When Rats Jump on to Sinking Ships

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It is said that when a ship starts sinking, rats onboard have a sixth sense about what is going to happen and are the first to jump on to the nearest flotsam to save their lives. The analogy has often been used to describe the cowardly antics of those who flee lost causes.

We are witnessing a curious variation of this phenomenon that can be sensed in the national mood. Disorder has entered into events and a very many seem disoriented. People are exhausted with the unending, inconclusive national debate over social, fiscal and cultural issues. Some sense a futility in fighting over these issues and recommend throwing in the towel, making compromises, profiting from events, or letting things run their course.

Among those in the avant-garde sector of the public, there is a frenetic desire to get away from the structures of old. They claim we must abandon the social norms, fiscal controls and cultural standards that have long governed American society.

This can especially be seen in the national debate over legalizing same-sex “marriage,” where such figures seem to be tripping over each other in their rush to abandon principle and proclaim their newfound belief in… the “inevitable.” It can also be seen in the debate over socialist programs like Obamacare, or vast fiscal spending, where many are entering in line to receive their entitlements, or enrich their portfolios. In so many areas, rats are jumping ship.

It is a strange and tragic sight. The ship being abandoned still represents and incorporates elements of order in our society and economy. But what is the floating wreckage these rats are jumping on to? It is a nearby ship that is indeed sinking. But the panicked critters don’t seem to acknowledge this. Their instincts, even the most natural and elementary sense of self-preservation, have gone awry.

Doubtless, this is a strong analogy which probably should be nuanced and qualified. However, we might be forgiven for our rashness. The situation is dramatic and troubling. Effective leadership is lacking. This strong analogy has an element of truth and we can draw a lesson from it.

When we adopt a new social model where norms, principles and responsibilities are abandoned, we enter a sinking ship. It is a self-destructive process. Social norms are those enduring standards that correspond to our human nature and without them society becomes impossible. Without fiscal responsibility, it is only a matter of time before our errors engulf us. As history has so often proven, a morally decadent society contains within it a rotten core that will eventually crack open amid a storm.

It cannot be denied that much decadence is to be found also on our present ship. Such decadence makes our lives precarious and dangerous. However, what is downright chilling is that those who are now jumping ship are facilitating a radical change in our society, one that will make it much more socialist and morally decadent (a redundant distinction) than it is already.

What prompts these “enlightened” Americans to this suicidal course? Do they find the cramped and difficult conditions aboard our present ship too constraining, and — to borrow a scary, albeit deceitful label from eco-activists — “unsustainable”? Ironically, many who helped make the situation “unsustainable” are now moving their luggage over to a towering yet sinking ocean liner, which they claim to be more inviting and free of restraint. They are lured by the rowdy music on the slanted deck, where, tethered to their iPads, they can enjoy the latest app that measures the angle of descent. These erratic figures have what I call a restless spirit of frenetic intemperance that leads them to admit no restraints and scorn the cultural, religious, social and moral values that keep society afloat.

The result is a starling disorder that has descended upon us where we have lost and, worse yet, deliberately hidden the moral compass that we so need. It is a disorder which leads to a ship’s foundering. Someone needs to shout out and say the obvious: “Don’t follow these “enlightened” ones. They’re headed the wrong way!”

In my book, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here and Where We Need to Go, I discuss what we need to do to set things aright — a return to order. We need a reaffirmation of those norms, principles and responsibility that have always kept our ship of State afloat. This is something that can be done and must be done — lest we jump ship, onto one that is sinking beneath the waves.

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