"David Letterman’s departure isn’t the end of an era," Daniel Greenfield writes at Frontpagemag.com. "The era of late night talk shows ended a while back. In Johnny Carson’s final week in the nineties, he played to an audience of twenty million. Lately, Letterman has been lucky to get 2 million. His final shows have played to around 5 million viewers."
For additional perspective on Letterman, you may want to turn to my comments on "O'Reilly, Letterman, and the Culture War."
Here are the first few paragraphs:
America today is fighting a two-front war for survival.
On the one hand, there is the war on terror -- or the war against Islamofascism, as some call it. This aspect of the war is brought home daily via news from Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and so on. We also see it inside our borders, after 9/11, played out in tactical give and take between political parties and talking heads debating issues such as homeland security, NSA wiretaps, civil liberties, and so on. In an age of nuclear and biological mass destruction, losing the war -- or even being less than vigilant -- can mean the deaths of millions of men, women, and children.
On the other hand, Americans are in the midst of a culture war. As the recent Christmas-Winter Solstice Season shows, there is even a war about whether there is a culture war.
On one side of the culture war are people who understand that this nation is founded upon the governing principle of independence under God. This position is clearly set forth in the Declaration of Independence, which is based on a framework in which there is a Creator from whom all human beings, by virtue of creation, are endowed with inalienable rights.
This particular worldview orientation is what dramatically sets the American experiment apart from ancient Greece, classical Rome, the French Revolution, National Socialism, Marxism, and the anti-Christian secularism that rose up in America in the 1960s.
On the other side of the culture war are people who reject this founding framework in favor of a concept of independence apart from God. This view emerged on the Western political landscape during the French Revolution.
Instead of a Creator God as the basis for human rights, people on this side of the struggle have come to see humanity as the product of an impersonal nature that has produced autonomous human beings who look to themselves (their choice, power, genes) or their groups (race, class, gender, party) or the impersonal natural order itself as the final reference point for human rights and identity.
Observers such as Bill O’Reilly, who was recently challenged by David Letterman on the Late Show, see the struggle as one between traditionalists and secular progressives. In O'Reilly's lexicon, traditionalists are people "who believe the country was well founded, does mostly good things, and has become the most powerful nation on earth by adhering to Judeo-Christian principles like generosity, justice, and self-sacrifice."
O’Reilly defines "secular progressives" as people who "believe that the USA is fundamentally a flawed country, which has caused considerable misery both within and outside our borders.The S-P's want drastic change and a new direction for America."
It is tempting to see these two fronts as separate struggles -- the war on terror over there, and the culture war over here.
But there is a unity: Ultimately the war on terror and the culture war are struggles against Western Civilization as rooted in the Judeo-Christian worldview.
Thinking of the struggle in this way, neither secularism nor Islamofascism can win without liquidating the Judeo-Christian worldview -- or, at a minimum, removing it as a legitimate voice in public life.
From the final paragraph:
". . . America is divided along cultural lines. But underneath the cultural lines are antithetical worldview divisions that we would do well to attend to.
Islamofascism is not secularism is not the Judeo-Christian worldview.
The more Americans understand the thoughtforms upon which their historic freedoms are founded, a verifiable worldview with the Creator at the center as opposed to an inadequate secularism or a kind of religio-fascism, the better prepared all will be to meet the challenges that already confront America early in the 21st century.
Chances of survival seem better if Americans remember who they are and how they got that way.