At year's end, people typically make predictions on the coming year or reflect on the year just passed. This year has seen both positives and negatives. The fight for Civilization, Freedom, and Faith has seen some tremendous gains.
On the positive side of things, we've seen Britain break from the EU. We've seen the Jihadist threat from ISIS and Al-Qaeda getting very well handled by Allied forces. Russian humanitarian assistance to Syria, Iraq, Donbas, and North Korea have prevented some serious disasters; Chinese economic and technological gains have created numerous jobs and raised living standards in many parts of Asia and Africa. A growing global network on the Internet has been exposing crimes and corruption in high places; most notably thanks to Julian Assange.
Here on the homefront we weathered an extremely divisive political year. What the incoming Trump Administration is going to do remains to be seen; but the challenges facing us domestically are formidable. The last time our country faced these kinds of problems was 1980---a period of economic decline; our nation still divided from Vietnam and Watergate; the Communists via the former Soviet Union gaining ground internationally; the Iranian Hostage Crisis; energy shortages---the incumbent President Carter then even spoke openly of a national malaise.
It is difficult to compare 2016 with 1980. Reagan and Trump both had populist-conservative message and both had backgrounds in the media; but Reagan had a lot more political experience. Still, Donald Trump is largely a product of the 1980s; but it's an open question of how closely his politics parallel Reagan's.
The most interesting aspect of 2016 vs. 1980 is that Reagan had much more material to work with. Our current national crisis is different than previous ones in that our problems today are cultural and spiritual ones which cannot be solved by political means alone. The Government can do some proactive things and encourage solutions to our problems; but the ultimate solution today is going to have to come from within.
For the last three decades, Americans by-and-large have allowed the Cultural Marxists--- and increasingly, the Radical Right to define our culture. The breakdown of the family; our worse-than-useless public education system; and our equally worthless mass-media have led to a society suffering from a malaise far worse than President Carter spoke of. We've rested on the laurels of our forefathers while our economy has imploded; our infrastructure near collapse; and our international prestige in decline.
To put this perspective consider that, in 2016, almost half of Americans are functionally or wholly illiterate; drug addiction and drug-deaths are outpacing homicides. The recent CDC reports show that almost 2/5 of Americans are morbidly obese; suicide rates are up; and we have infant mortality rates near 3rd-world levels---which doesn't include abortion rates which are also off the charts. And all the while, schools, media, and politicians tell us that we are still exceptional; and that these things are simply the new normal.
These things are all symptomatic of a culture that has lost faith; faith in itself as well as religious faith. The problem facing us in 2017 is how to restore that faith.