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“NJ girl accused of setting fire in attempt to kill family”

“Karzai probed on insider killings”

“Fan suing Dallas Cowboys over ‘burned buttocks’”

“Pa. mom vows to keep giving lunches to needy kids”

These are just a few headlines gleaned from various news outlets last weekend. At first blush, one might say that they are completely unrelated. On the contrary, I believe they are very well-related. They all reflect the degree to which America has fallen, culturally speaking, morally and in stature.

In the case of the first one, we have a 15-year-old girl who doused her family’s home with gasoline and ignited it on the night of Aug. 18. Her name has not been released because she is a juvenile, but she’s been charged with two counts of aggravated arson and six counts of attempted murder. Mental instability here is a given, but factoring out severe mental pathology (such as schizophrenia), it’s likely that this is an instance of another irate, maladjusted teen acting out.

“Acting out” has, of course, taken on a different meaning than we knew five decades ago, but we’ve seen increasing numbers of parents and families harmed by spoiled, neurotic young relatives in recent years. Whether it’s a high-profile murder plot like that of the Menendez brothers or a crime of passion, we can see that our youth have become more and more entitled, opportunistic and predatory. Why? The advent of liberal attitudes resulted in cavalier sexuality, promiscuity, divorce and out-of-wedlock births. This has produced weakened families and gross dysfunction therein.

The second headline relates to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta questioning Afghan President Hamid Karzai last week on the rising number of attacks in which Afghan security forces have turned their guns on American and coalition troops. There was a time when those with anti-American sentiments, whether radicals overseas or people who mug tourists for a living, thought twice about bringing harm to one hair on an American’s head, for fear that the Marines would storm their shores in short order.

That time has long passed, as administration after administration and Congress after Congress have seen fit to grab their ankles for every backward gang of Third World primitives who rattled their sabers. There have been exceptions to this brand of foreign policy, but the general direction we’ve taken has most assuredly diminished our standing in the world. The administrations that were the worst offenders have all been those of liberal Democrats: Carter, Clinton, Obama. … Oh, my.

Then there’s the girl with the burned butt, a Dallas Cowboys fan who is suing the team and owner Jerry Jones over burns she says she received on her behind because of their “negligence.” Apparently, in 2010 this young woman planned to attend a scrimmage at Cowboys Stadium on a day when temperatures were reportedly more than 100 degrees. She sat down on a dark-colored surface outside an entrance and received the burns.

Whether or not there was any negligence involved (since we don’t know all the details), my point is: Until recently, people knew that allowing their body parts to contact dark surfaces, or surfaces that conducted lots of heat on extremely hot days, was a bad idea. They also would be singularly embarrassed to admit that they’d been injured as a result of doing so, let alone suing to put the medical expenses on someone else’s dime.

So, we’ve not only gotten more litigious, we’ve gotten stupider as well. When corporate entities are sued because of overheated coffee (or buttocks, for that matter), the cost is always passed on to the consumer, by the way. It’s simple economics. It is also how trial lawyers helped to drive up the cost of medical care to the point where Americans were willing to accept government intervention. Voila! Obamacare.

The case of Angela Prattis, the woman who feeds needy kids in a makeshift dining room at the end of her driveway in Pennsylvania, is perhaps the saddest and most frustrating of all. The township council ordered Prattis to end her efforts, ostensibly due to zoning concerns.

Here’s where I remind people that it doesn’t take a communist in the White House to weaken the fabric of communities. The legalistic adherence to zoning ordinances is the product of progressive thought at the local level. In bygone days, morally grounded lawmakers and administrators would have simply ignored the ordinance, considering the public good. If some kid got sick on Prattis’ food, or the kids caused a public disturbance, it would be on her.

Objectivity can be difficult, but let’s give it a try. While we’ve had resurgences of conservatism here and there, it is undeniable that over the last 60 years America has become more liberal in the aggregate. While liberals continue to deluge us in the entertainment media, the press and in the political arena with the need for more liberalism, the results speak for themselves.

America is in decline. Liberals may deny it, and socialists may think it’s just great, but in the end, they’ll be the losers, along with the rest of us. Only there won’t be a big, bad America – no monolithic enemy – to blame the ills of the world on anymore.

Perhaps, like in Orwell’s “1984,” the government will simply make one up.

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