I had a friend with an odd sense of humor. As he greeted guests at the door, he would yell over his shoulder to his wife, "Put more water in the soup!" Of course, there was always more than enough food. It was his way of bringing a smile to his guests' faces. But for some people, putting more water in the soup isn't a joke — it's a fact.
No, I'm not talking about desperately poor people, who must really water down the physical nourishment of their families. I'm talking about well-to-do people who have no need to do so, yet who continually water down the intellectual and spiritual nourishment of their nation and their civilization. I'm talking about people who for decades have been watering down the education, the civic pride, and the religion of everyone's family.
If you start with really rich, thick soup, you can water it down considerably, and it will still be nourishing. Only after an extreme degree of dilution will you reach a point that the soup can no longer sustain life. It's the same with education, civic pride, and religion. If you start with really rich material, it can withstand a good deal of dilution before it is no longer nourishing to the mind and spirit.
That's what we did in America specifically, and in Western civilization generally. Check out a high-school textbook or exam from the early 20th century. You'll think you are looking at material for the first two years of college today. The standard of reading and writing was so high that current university students would have difficulty meeting it. Obviously, science has advanced greatly since those days. But knowledge of English literature, history, and American government has regressed considerably.
But it's not only the factual content of the lessons and textbooks that has suffered. The whole point of view has changed. The object used to be to educate young people to be proud American citizens who felt an obligation to contribute to their nation. The method used to be to acquaint young people with the great men and women of the past, so they would feel grateful to those who had gone before and be inspired to make their own contributions.
But now, the object is to indoctrinate students to be "citizens of the world." Of course, this carries no obligation to contribute, much less to serve their nation, or to fight to defend it. Being a "citizen of the world" carries no obligation other than breathing. In reality, it expresses the narcissistic idea that students are doing the planet a favor merely by living on it. Why would we expect these students grow into adults who feel obligated to support and defend their nation or their civilization?
What is true for education in general is also true for religious education. A generation or two ago, many children went to parochial schools, and most attended Sunday school. Yes, many of the lessons seemed to go in one ear and out the other. But speaking from personal experience, I can say that more of the lessons sank in than I was aware of at the time. And even if specific details of religious history and practice may have evaporated from our memories, a basic frame of reference remained.
We were taught that a just God knew us and cared how we acted and how we treated our fellow humans. We carried that idea with us the rest of our lives, whether or not we were aware of it. But all that's in the past. Now kids are taught that one person's idea of right and wrong is no better than anyone else's idea. They are taught that there are no transcendent values, or even permanent values. They are taught that persons, and cultures, each determine their own values — which we have no right to criticize.
So it's hardly a surprise when people say that we have no right to criticize Sudan for enslaving and murdering blacks, or for practicing female genital mutilation. Who are we to judge? Indeed, when a courageous woman named Ayaan Hirsi Ali was to be given an honorary degree for her work on behalf of victimized women in Muslim nations, leftists protested — so the university withdrew the invitation. Academic freedom? Are you joking? Diversity? Yes, you must be joking. "Diversity" really means diverse people expressing uniformly leftist opinions. "Diversity" means uniformity. Orwell was right.
And it's hardly a surprise when an increasing majority of high-school and college students not only cheat, but also admit it openly, with no sense of shame.
Author and talk-show host Dennis Prager reports that when he asks high-school students which they would save from drowning, their own dog or a person they didn’t know, about one-third say the dog, one-third say the person, and one-third don't know. But even those who would save the person, almost without exception, refuse to say that those who would save the dog are wrong. Even the kids who made the morally correct choice have been so brainwashed not to be "judgmental" that they can't criticize those who made the opposite choice.
If you doubt this, go to a college lecture on history, political science, or literature. Close your eyes. You’ll have to open them again to remind yourself that you're not listening to a political speech by an anti-American, European socialist. It's no wonder that students come home from college filled with anti-American ideas.
Or go to a mainstream Protestant church, a liberal Catholic church, or a Reform Jewish temple, and listen to the sermon. Close your eyes. You'll have to open them again to assure yourself that you're not at a meeting of the left wing of the Democratic Party. It's no wonder that these denominations are losing members, and those who remain have few deep beliefs. They have turned hot, rich, nutritious soup into lukewarm, insipid, unnourishing dishwater.
So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth. –Revelation 3:16, NIV
These are the same people who insist that we say "happy holiday" instead of "Merry Christmas" and call Christmas trees "holiday" trees. What holiday? There are no Hanukkah trees, Kwanzaa trees, or Ramadan trees. They want to remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, "In God we trust" from our coins, and chaplains from our military. They want young men and women to go into harm's way without spiritual support. Now that would be an achievement to be proud of.
Many liberals admire Western Europeans, especially the French, and think that we should be more like them. But most of Western Europe has a birth rate below replacement levels. In a few generations, Western Europe will cease to exist. It is filled with beautiful cathedrals, though they are largely empty of worshippers, but the mosques are full. The night sky of French cities is reddened by fires set by the Muslim underclass. Why should we emulate people whose civilization is crumbling even as we speak?
Western Europe added so much water that even a soup enriched by two millennia of culture and religion is no longer able to sustain life. Before we put more water into our soup, let us heed this lesson. Instead of watering down our soup even more, let's heat up the pot and boil away some of the water. And let's add some healthful ingredients that will nourish the minds and spirits of the next generation.
When my friend said, "Put more water in the soup!" he was joking. But what we've been doing isn't funny at all.
Written by David C. Stolinsky, MD
Dr. Stolinsky is a retired medical oncologist and co-author of Firearms: A Handbook for Health Professionals, published by The Claremont Institute. For other articles written by Dr. Stolinsky, check out our search feature on this website.
The photos used to illustrate this article appeared in the original article posted on www.Stolinsky.com. Copyright ©2016 Stolinsky.com.
This article may be cited as: Stolinsky DC. The decline and fall of toilet paper or How to assess a civilization. January 7, 2016, www.Stolinsky.com. Available from: http://haciendapub.com/articles/put-more-water-soup-david-c-stolinsky-md