How many of you remember the classic movie "Fiddler on the Roof"? In the opening song, "Tradition," the character Tevye explains how the Jews have balanced a sometimes precarious existence – as precarious as a fiddler perched on a roof – for one major reason: They follow tradition. Men, women, boys and girls all have their roles in life. Read the lyrics (here) or watch the video clip below to understand what each person's role was.
By modern standards, these roles seem impossibly narrow and archaic, yet they've worked for centuries. "Because of our traditions," explains Tevye, "every one of us knows who he is, and what God expects him to do."
The reason I recalled this movie clip was because of a recent column written by Chuck Norris on the subject of America's mental health. He examines the rise of despair among Americans, as well as increasing deaths by suicide, drugs, alcohol and the "sudden and unprecedented reverse of longer life expectancy in this country."
Norris quotes Princeton University researcher Angus Deaton, who noted "these deaths stem from hopelessness, where life becomes so painful that death or escape seems the only recourse." Deaton set out to learn what is driving this epidemic of despair.
"Further research over the last few years has revealed a lot of social dysfunction building up over time around the nation," writes Norris. "There has been a decline of religion and other sources of meaning. Many people have lost a sense of status and belonging."
You can see where this is going, can't you?
Progressives in America have spent the last three generations obliterating any semblance of the foundations that once upheld not just individuals, but society. Limited government? Gone. Faith? Gone. Church attendance? Gone. Marriage? Gone. Family? Gone. Traditional roles of men and women? Gone gone gone.
Where there used to be a strong foundation, progressives have replaced rock with air. Instead of the limited government the Founding Fathers set in place, they push an all-controlling government that removes fathers, work, motivation and other vital underpinnings. In place of independence and self-sufficiency, they push dependence and welfare (even for perfectly able-bodied people). In place of faith in a higher power, they urge self-worship. In place of church attendance, they urge social justice activism. In place of marriage, they urge hooking up with a succession of strangers. In place of family, they push abortion and career.
And of course, in place of the biological roles of men and women, progressives have done their best to "train up" children to suppress genetics, to question their gender, to flip biological imperative on its head.
And then we wonder why America is experiencing an epidemic of despair. If you take away all meaning, faith, motivation, purpose and biological roles, what's left?
I'm not just talking about the stereotypical gender roles featured in "Fiddler on the Roof." I'm also talking about something that plays a deep and significant part in personal stability, something liberals don't want to admit: Faith. Maybe Teyve was on to something. The gender roles in his village may seem quaint and archaic, but they served a purpose. As Teyve said, everyone knew their place and role in life.
Today people no longer know what their gender roles are. Heck, many people don't even know what gender they are anymore. Without a foundation beneath their feet, people are staggering around on shifting sand, buffeted by whatever the latest trendy fad may be.
This is what happens when people attempt to reinvent the wheel. They take the bedrock of society, decide it's not good enough, chip it away and try to replace it with something better. Then they refuse to admit their "better" bedrock is, in fact, quicksand. When people (and society) start to self-destruct from the resulting imbalance, more "better" solutions are introduced that only makes things worse. And so the cycle continues, and the despair worsens.
You can't argue that current generations have it tougher than previous generations, because they don't. Tougher than two world wars? Tougher than the Great Depression? Tougher than when medical care consisted of bloodletting and the four humors? Things were tough in the past, but people could count on the rock-solid foundations beneath their feet to see them through hard times.
No more. That foundation is gone.
This sense of purposelessness leads far too many people to ease their pain and sedate their despair through everything from marijuana to alcohol to political correctness to social justice activism. Worst, it leads too many people to identify themselves as a victim of anything and everything to give themselves a reason for existence.
Recent data indicate that 20 percent of millennials identify as LGBTQ and that they reject traditional gender labels such as male or female. Does this mean 20 percent of millennials aren't male or female? Of course not. It simply means an enormous swath of people are seriously disturbed, mentally ill or otherwise desperately trying to cling to something – anything – to give themselves a purpose and identity. Wimpy people enable this by actually addressing a burly dude with lipstick and a wig as "she."
In short, liberalism has turned us from a nation of strong, religious, independent citizens to a nation of whiny entitled victims who don't know if they're boys or girls or dogs or vacuum cleaners or Martians.
If you yank away the foundation of rock and give people nothing better to stand on – read that again: nothing BETTER to stand on – then people will tumble and fall into despair.
In an ironic twist, after the DNC adopted a platform that was "anti-God from top to bottom" in 2012, it is scrambling to fix its "God problem" ahead of the 2020 elections. Democrats realize "they've made a mistake by alienating the majority" of voters.
But they are still trying to re-create God in their own image by pushing the "queerness of God" and rejoicing in infanticide laws. This proves they still haven't emerged from the echo-chamber of the left-wing activists whose extreme views aren't shared by the rest of the nation.
Psalm 127: "Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain." Americans will continue living in despair until they let the Lord build their house on bedrock.