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Lamentations for a Nation in Decline

Laura Hollis on

One of the fascinating and inspiring things about the Bible is the light it sheds on humanity; not just the humans living at the time biblical books were written, but all humans.

Consider the Old Testament Book of Lamentations. The Jewish prophet Jeremiah has traditionally been considered the author of Lamentations, a series of long-form poems expressing great grief after the Babylonian destruction of the city of Jerusalem and its Temple in 587 B.C.

The author mourns Jerusalem, which was "once great among the nations" but "has now become a slave," plundered and mocked by those who once feared her: "Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease ... Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction ... The enemy laid hands on all her treasures."

Israel was not only sacked -- she was abandoned by her allies. "All who honored her despise her ... Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her."

Why had this happened? Because the Israelites abandoned the laws of God. "The Lord is righteous, yet I rebelled against His command." Worse, the people were led astray in this by their own leaders' weakness and venality: "The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin ... The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading."

Those leaders were also arrogant. "The kings of the earth did not believe, nor did any of the peoples of the world, that enemies and foes could enter the gates of Jerusalem. But it happened because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who shed within her the blood of the righteous."

 

These passages could well be describing the future of the United States -- or the West, more broadly speaking. Look how many of our political, economic and cultural leaders have abandoned the principles that were the basis for the success of Western civilization, the founding of America, and our country's incredibly freedom and prosperity. Right and left, we see how America's and Europe's elites have embraced deceit and depravity, selfishness and greed.

The current crisis in Afghanistan is a perfect example. Whether by ineptitude or worse, President Joe Biden's execution of the U.S. military pullout resulted in the collapse of the Afghan government. The inscrutable decision to remove military before civilians left Americans and foreign allies scrambling to escape the country in the ensuing chaos. Some Americans remain stranded, and many Afghans who helped us have already been executed by the Taliban. Afghanistan is now firmly in the control of Islamic extremists, and in possession of billions of dollars in military weapons, ammunition, vehicles and aircraft that our government inexplicably left behind.

If our politicians have sold us out, some corporate leadership is just as bad. Podcaster and journalist Saagar Enjeti released a video last week explaining how Western companies have their intellectual property stolen by Chinese joint venture "partners" and then used in the communist government's massive surveillance state. U.S. investors have lost billions of dollars when Chinese companies enter the U.S. market and go public, only to have the companies' assets, and those dollars, seized by the Chinese government. As Enjeti put it, "China weaponizes Western greed to steal technology and resources only to further their own authoritarian ends."

Our sports and entertainment industries are just as weak. Professional athletes give penitent speeches in Mandarin if they dare to defend the freedom of the Taiwanese, or else they refuse to criticize China's treatment of Muslim Uyghurs. Hollywood is quick to edit their films to suit Chinese censors.

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