In the film, "Girl Interrupted,"
As 2014 ends, the stock market is at record highs but our traditional institutions and self-confidence are in decline.
These startling figures about the decline of the American family contrast with the year 1960 when 73 percent of American children lived in traditional families.
A major contributor to this trend has been the assault on marriage and other institutions by the Baby Boom generation. It was that generation that promoted cohabitation, no-fault divorce, hatred of the police (they called them "pigs" then, too) and disdain for the military and America, spawned not just by the Vietnam War but a life of relative ease unknown to their parents.
The culture bomb dropped by the boomers created fallout still being felt today. The two-plus generations born since the Sixties have been infused with the notion of entitlement, victimhood, envy and greed. Since the elimination of the draft, young people are no longer expected to serve in the military and so most of them pursue whatever goals they wish with no expectation they should give something back to their country. It's one possible explanation for why we can no longer seem to win wars.
History warns us what happens when empires refuse to teach known values that strengthen societies and help protect them from enemies intent on their destruction.
The late British diplomat Sir
All empires begin, writes Glubb, with the age of pioneers, followed by ages of conquest, commerce, affluence, intellect and decadence. America appears to have reached the age of decadence, which Glubb defines as marked by "defensiveness, pessimism, materialism, frivolity, an influx of foreigners, the welfare state, (and) a weakening of religion."
Decadence, he writes, "is due to: Too long a period of wealth and power, selfishness, love of money (and) the loss of a sense of duty."
Do these not define America at the end of 2014? Glubb says the 250-year average of empires has not varied in 3,000 years, but we don't learn from history because "our studies are brief and prejudiced." He means they are mostly about one's own country.
It will take more than a new