To the editor:
Cal Thomas’ melodramatic screed (Journal-World, April 1) claims major media have whipped “the crowd” into accepting unthinkable values. These just happen to coincide with Republican Party principles on issues like abortion and gay rights. His vision collapses into a laughable future with politicians taking oaths on People magazine and traffic laws being disregarded. One of the examples he cites for our “moral, social and political anarchy” is the fall of Rome.
Cal’s greatest pleasure seems to be in righteous indignation bolstered by invention, extrapolation and anarchism — the stuff of fiction writing.
Cal claims there are immutable, universal laws that must be obeyed. Never mind that the history of philosophical and theological thought has been plagued with questions about universals. In claiming that “supreme law” is above the Supreme Court he replaces the rule of law with edict. These edicts are somewhat ad hoc given the evolution of the Republican Party’s platform over time.
His choice of Rome as an example of moral decay is troubling. Gibbon cites many reasons for Rome’s collapse. I’d mention one major reason which was the collapse of the tax system. Roman taxes became a patronage system where the wealthy and powerful benefited with everyone else paying taxes. When the tax base collapsed and soldiers and governors couldn’t be paid, they joined forces with whichever warlord or tribe could pay them.
The Kansas Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity and the Brownback administration advocate a similar patronage tax policy. That just might be the source of the public’s dissatisfaction with your Republican values, Cal.