In the year 49 B.C., Julius Caesar moved his forces into Italy over a small insignificant stream called the Rubicon. In so doing, he violated the law that forbade generals to move troops out of their assigned provinces.
Caesar realized the seriousness of his decision by declaring “The die is cast!” The result was a brutal three-year civil war. The expression, “crossing the Rubicon,” came to mean a major decision that becomes a point of no return.
America Crosses a Rubicon
At some point this past month, America crossed a Rubicon that dramatically changed things. As a consequence of that subtle decision, we no longer seem to follow the internal logic by which things were predictable. We saw a loss of cooperation that is making the country ungovernable. Horrible things, once hidden, are deemed acceptable to the public.
All this changed rather abruptly. I am not saying that it was an earth-shattering change, but it was important. I do not know exactly what single event triggered this situation. All I know is that it happened.
Perhaps it was the wild applause of legislators for the New York abortion law that makes provisions for the killing of the baby all the way to birth. Maybe it was the irrational and rabid mistreatment of the Covington boys after the March for Life. It may well have been the shutdown deadlock. It could even have been some insignificant fact not unlike that small Italian stream.
Whatever it was, something fundamental was shaken. It is as if we crossed a Rubicon. There is no going back. The die is cast.
A Disorder That Comes From No Common Goals
Of course, America has long suffered from disorder. My thesis is that two types of disorder now afflict the nation. The first is old and the other new.
The first disorder involves the structure of most modern liberal governments, including our American one. We tend to stress the greatest possible diversity of goals and thus allow people to live according to their desires and whims. Some of these goals are good and, when shared by most people, contribute to the common good and prosperity of society. Others are not good and introduce disorder and confusion in society.
During times of consensus in our history, there were enough shared good goals to allow for prosperity and governability. However, when society breaks down, as ours has now done, we see disorder that leads to violent clashes of goals and opinions.
Disorder Inside a Rational Framework
However, this kind of disorder still operates inside a rational liberal framework. It is still a system that, while favoring processes of decay, still follows a certain logic that allows for heated yet civil debates, or compromise. The desired goals of this disorder appear beneficial, thus allowing bad goals to masquerade as good ones. Thus, abortion has always been framed under a women’s “rights” banner. Socialism is a system that pretends to have a concern for the poor.
This first kind of disorder is really a counter-order. The breakdown of this liberal counter-order has polarized us and made America difficult to govern.
A New Disorder Explodes
America is crossing a Rubicon that leads to the generalization of a second disorder of an entirely different and darker nature.
If the first disorder represents a system resembling processes of decay, the second disorder can be compared to an explosion. The slow, methodical processes of decay follow rules, instant explosions allow for none. This disorder is unpredictable since the explosion tears through everything in its path with unplanned intensity. Inside this lack of framework, no civil debate is possible since goals are ethereal and fluid. The new disorder is not a rational counter-order but illogical chaos without any determined course. It explodes upon the scene breaking all the old rules and respecting no one.
Thus, we are now seeing many things that represent this second disorder. It manifests itself in the denial of reality and truth. There is the rejection of logic and even the suppression of compassion. We see a destructive desire not to cooperate even when the common good is clearly at stake.
These manifestations of disorder are starting to dominate. Never have they shown their true face so clearly. Never has the debate degenerated into such low terms. It is the explosive power of chaos that has entered into the scene. It is crossing over the remaining moral barriers and entering into the mainstream with unexpected fury.
That is why many Americans watched and reacted in horror as elected officials erupted in applause and laughter after New York legislators approved a barbaric law that makes provisions for abortion until birth. We listened in disbelief when the governor of Virginia unapologetically described the process by which a new-born infant might be allowed to die. Many understood the implications for all who defend morality when witnessing the media lynching of the Covington Boys whose only “crimes” were facial expressions deemed offensive.
We now see people taking passion and hatred to such extremes that they no longer can mask their rage. They no longer respect reality and truth and are willing to affirm whatever their fantasies dictate. They will demand the right to present science as fiction and fiction as science to advance their agendas. They will subject innocent children to Drag Queen Story Hours at libraries everywhere to force the acceptance of the ideology of delusional males. We now see the open promotion of Satanism that represents all that is contrary to Christianity.
This spirit of chaos is found everywhere. It encompasses all those who hate order—especially moral order. It prevents people from thinking in terms of the common good because so many now hold little in common with others. They do not recognize the existence of an objective good, or a God that is Goodness itself. In these conditions, the nation becomes ungovernable.
We have crossed a Rubicon, and a die is cast. It does not mean the fight is over, but only that it has intensified. Not only have the rules changed but there are fewer of them. However, the unmasking of disorder in all its hideousness does produce reactions by those who are shocked by chaos’ brutal face. The new situation can also trigger more intense longings for a return of a moral order by those who grieve for the nation and truly love God.