Downtown Babylon


THE SOUTH AND THE CULTURAL REVOLUTION (first published in 2009 in The Free Magnolia)

“I’m in downtown Babylon, a long, long way from home.

I thought it was the Promised Land, but something’s wrong.

Here in downtown Babylon.”

Southern singer-songwriter Paul Thorn

“Downtown Babylon”

Perpetual Obscurity Records, Inc. 2002

Back in the 1960s, another singer-songwriter, Bob Dylan, told us “the times they are a-changing.” Dylan correctly observed that America had reached a critical point in its cultural development. We were entering the Twilight Zone of a post-Christian, post-republican America that had been churning on its erratic, destructive way since the late 19th century. The changes of which Dylan sang become known as the “Cultural Revolution,” now a five-decade-long tale of horror that helped destroy what remained of the old America and its Western institutions. Behold, the new Babylon.

There is a supreme irony in the national transformation brought about by the revolution of the 1960s. The generation that came of age during that decade—including Baby Boom presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush—sought in various ways to undermine “The Establishment;” now they and their younger successor Barack Obama have become “The Establishment.” The rotting corpse they inherited is indeed in large part the work of their own hands. Now that the ‘60s generation hold the levers of power in government, the media, big business, and other institutions, they seem clueless as to how to undo the effects of their own youthful lusts. Sin has it wages, even for nations.

Despite official reports to the contrary, the economy is in tatters; the rich thrive while the rest are heading toward penury; jobs are being exported out of the States at an alarming rate and the States themselves are broke; the debt bubble grows larger with each passing quarter; America is verging on Balkanization because of unchecked immigration and the elites’ commitment to multiculturalism, diversity, and tolerance (the Establishment’s Holy Trinity); American imperialism has provoked hatred and distrust around the world; what passes today for American culture is simply perversity glorified; the Constitution and Bill of Rights are ignored and the Founders vilified; Stalinist historical revisionism runs rampant, manifested in the outrages of political correctness (i.e. Cultural Marxism); the very physical health of Americans is abysmal (roughly one in five Americans is 100 pounds or more overweight) because of poor diet, lack of exercise, and a dependence on questionable medication; we are obsessed with sex, but it is dead and lifeless sex that produces no fruit; fewer than thirty percent of Americans say they attend church regularly; public schools are dens of iniquity and violence as well as government-run propaganda mills; fewer than fifty percent of Americans vote in any given election, a figure that suggests a deep-seated frustration with the current political system; neither of the major political parties is serious about ending government-protected infanticide; the major media has become little more than a mouthpiece for the Democrat/Republican regime; and many citizens (subjects?) have given in to apathy and complacency and no longer seem to care about the idea of self government. But the culture tells us to party on and not worry about the consequences.

These and other pathologies did not materialize out of thin air. Rather, they are the logical results of the triumph of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, which itself came from the Progressive Movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Bill Clinton was hailed as the first President from the Baby Boom generation that came of age during the 1960s. President George W. Bush was the second. Current President Barack Obama is a product of the tail end of the Baby Boom era. All three men are indeed products of their rebellious generation (as are many of us, though we don’t care to admit it). And all are committed, wittingly or not, to furthering the Revolution. So are their respective political parties.

But all living organisms, including nations, can bear only so much abuse before they simply perish. And unless radical changes are made quickly, America will die. Critics of the Cultural Revolution have correctly noted that, at base, it has always been a culture of death, and this is now reflected in the actions of the central government. From abortion to the bombing of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, and Libya, dealing death is what the U.S. government does best. Washington, DC, is simply mirroring the culture at large and most folks cheer it on.

Though the South has suffered the effects of the Cultural Revolution along with the other regions of America, it remains the healthiest area of the country. That is why the South’s culture, history, symbols, Christian faith, and civilization are under such heavy attack today. When the South goes, all traces of the old America will be gone. Southerners who still care have two options: 1) they can stay in the “Union” and try to resurrect a corpse (the other regions); or 2) they can leave and build on the good things remaining to them. Option number one is the real “Lost Cause.” If the South stays in the current American imperial polity the zombies who stalk the halls of the American Establishment likely will suck it under. If the South departs it at least will be rid of the walking dead seeking to pull it down to Hell.

Leaving the doomed ghost ship that is post-Christian America will necessitate that Southerners begin thinking “outside the box.” For a propagandized, comfort-seeking generation, this will not be an easy first step. But the alternative is to sink beneath the murky waves while embracing all those comfortable illusions about an idyllic America that no longer exists.

Bob Dylan of course was right. Times were changing in the 1960s, and they have continued to do so at a quickening, frightening pace. So Paul Thorn is right, too. We are living today in downtown Babylon. However, it is time we awakened to the fact that change indeed can be reversed; we can pick up our things and depart Babylon. We do not have to continue living in a real-life horror movie. It will take a courageous effort to right the South’s course, but we have no choice unless we too wish to join the ranks of the living dead.

Michael Hill

Killen, Alabama