- Saturday, August 27, 2022

Civilization isn’t self-renewing. It takes work and will. In America, we won’t do the work and no longer have the will.

The signs of imminent collapse are all around us:

1. A ruling class that’s opened the floodgates of uncontrolled immigration — and damn the consequences

2. Crime without punishment

3. Elites that mock the values on which our nation was founded

4. Supporting barbarians at the gates

5. Refusing to procreate in sufficient numbers to maintain our population.

A shocking video from Texas shows Border Patrol agents calmly unlocking a gate that had previously been secured by the Texas National Guard, to allow dozens of “migrants’ to enter the country. The president’s open border policies are hugely successful, with more than 2 million Welcome Wagon encounters so far this year, compared with 1.27 million for the same period last year.

Flash mob looting is the latest innovation in crime. In Los Angeles on Aug. 19, a mob, organized on the internet, descended on a 7-Eleven, cleaning out everything from snacks and cigarettes to lottery tickets before police arrived. In some cities, cops have given up trying to enforce the law for minor offenses, knowing that tender-hearted prosecutors will put those arrested back on the streets soon after they’re booked.

A recent editorial in the University of Virginia student newspaper demanded that Thomas Jefferson’s name be removed from the school he founded. It makes sense, in a perverse way. Since we no longer believe in rights endowed by the creator, why should the author of the Declaration of Independence play any part in higher education?

Communist China unleashed a virus that killed more than 1 million Americans. Now it’s exporting fentanyl — a drug that’s become the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 45. There is no accountability for China’s attacks on our sovereignty. We’ll continue to enrich the world’s largest totalitarian state with trade whose profits will be used to expand its military. We’re even allowing Chinese companies to buy American farmland — an estimated 35.2 million acres so far, up 60% from 10 years ago. How do you say “death wish” in Mandarin?

Healthy societies have growing populations. The U.S. fertility rate is the lowest ever recorded — 1.78 children per woman during her childbearing years, with 2.1 needed just to replace the current population. Fewer and fewer Americans are choosing to marry, and more and more who do have decided not to have children. Elon Musk calls population collapse “the greatest threat to civilization.”

But it’s what we call homelessness — the squalid encampments that dot our urban landscape and what issues therefrom — that symbolizes the decline of our civilization the clearest.

Novelist O. Henry called New York City “Baghdad of the Hudson.” Kabul on the East River is more like it.

Last week, a homeless man and convicted sex offender coldcocked a random victim in the Bronx, punching him in the back of the head and leaving him with a skull fracture and brain bleeds.

A few days later, a passenger on the New York subway was stabbed in the stomach by an aggressive panhandler.

In 2020, there were more than half a million homeless in America, half of them living outdoors. It’s estimated that one-quarter have a serious mental illness, and a third are substance abusers. The former may be delusional, but we’re the ones who are crazy for putting up with them.

With the denizens of the pavement come crime, vermin, disease, used needles and feces. In San Francisco, reports of human waste in public places increased from 5,547 in 2011 to 28,084 in 2018.

That we tolerate their presence, living as they do, is proof that we have lost even a semblance of a survival instinct. Our greatest fear is to seem insufficiently compassionate. The United States of America has been replaced by the Republic of Nice — and it’s killing us.

To incarcerate those charged with major crimes who can’t make bail wouldn’t be nice. To deny that America is uniquely racist isn’t nice. Securing our borders from crime, poverty, disease and drugs isn’t nice. Stopping the homeless from defecating on our streets isn’t nice.

That we’re blithely throwing away a civilization that took millions from all over the world centuries to build is apparently inconsequential. Our relentless drive for niceness is all that counts.

Historian Will Durant observed, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within.” In America, the wrecking balls are working overtime.

• Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer and syndicated columnist.

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