Last Hope to Save the Culture?

I think we have, in our hands, an achievable way of changing America in a way that will seem as sudden and earth-shaking as the 1960s civil rights revolution or the 1989 anti-Communist revolution.

But first I think it’s important to give some context. What needs to be saved about the American culture in the first place? The family.

A nation is only as strong as its foundation, and for a society, its foundation is the family: Children, mothers and fathers. But in America, all three are threatened as never before.


  • We kill 1.6 million children a year by abortion.
  • A child sex abuse scandal continues to spread across our public schools and other institutions while the media and courts refuse to give sustained attention to it anywhere except in the comparatively small abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.
  • About 9 out of every 10 children 8-16 years old have viewed pornography online.
  • In our hookup culture nearly 1 in 3 teens is having intercourse, mostly with people they don’t consider their boyfriend or girlfriend.


  • Women are routinely treated as objects of pleasure in our advertisements and entertainments  — Beyonce at halftime at the Super Bowl, for example.
  • Pornography is by far the biggest money-maker in the entertainment industry; polls say 2 out of every 3 young men you meet spend hours each week looking at it. This dramatically affects the way they treat women. Pornography is our culture’s most common expression of the female.
  • According to the U.S. Justice Department 1 in 3 adult women in America has been the victim of rape or physical assault at some point in her adulthood.


  • Fathers abandoning their families is a national epidemic — their failure to help is the leading cause of poverty in women, and contributes to a whole host of problems, as James Dobson and Kurt Bruner point out in Fatherless.
  • Men’s entertainment — from rap to metal to video games – is filled with crassness, violence and misogyny. Whether it’s hip hop culture or Oscar comedy, objectifying and demeaning women is mainstream
  • Videogames have become the national pastime, for men especially. About 3 out of 4 gamers is 18 or older, spending an average 18 hours a week playing video games. Whether you think this makes men “shiftless, boring wimps” or contributes to violence, or not, it at least makes virtual violence  the centerpiece of our culture’s self-expression of masculinity.

So, with a tidal wave of anti-family sentiment that powerful, what could possible reverse the course? Only a sea change.

I argue over at the National Catholic Register (“The March for Life Lesson We Can’t Afford to Ignore”) that the significant victories we are experiencing in the right to life are capable of bringing about just such a sea change.

  1. Embracing the right to life will mean stopping the slaughter of infants.
  2. Embracing the right to life will pull the rug out from under the sexual revolution which has done so much damage to women.
  3. Embracing the right to life will mean forcing men to take responsibility for their actions once again.

Now, I know there are very good arguments for why my position may be wishful thinking, and expecting too much. They just may be right. A culture like ours, in which the basic fundamentals of family life have been so systematically destroyed, may be unfixable.

In that case, the consequences will be severe. God won’t punish us in some mystical way. He won’t have to. He will punish us the way he punishes gardeners who don’t water their gardens.

  • Our population will not replace itself, making our crushing debt crisis an imminent threat instead of a future worry.
  • People who live sexualized childhoods will suffer in their self-esteem and their ability to form mature attachments, and their sexual maturity, worsening the cycle in the next generation.
  • A nation of broken families will suffer economically, and a culture inordinately devoted to entertainment instead of self-mastery and value-production won’t snap out of that quickly.

That’s “the hard way” out of our mess: To be brought inch by inch to our low point until we look around, startled that we have gone from the world’s only superpower that unfortunately scored poorly on math tests to a has-been nation that aborted its future but was too busy on our smart phones to notice that it was gone.

But we might not need to learn this one the hard way.

I remember saying at a party once, “I don’t get why people don’t wake up to reality and reject this stuff!”

To which a woman responded incredulously, “Tom, you and nearly every person in this room has done just that.”

Indeed we have. And as we saw at the last March for Life, our numbers are growing every year.

I believe that if we focus on the right to life — if we focus on the “killing babies” plank of this twisted anti-family agenda — we can win this. Evil’s greatest victory in our time is that parents are willing to kill their kids. But the greatest threat to evil in our time is that of course they won’t keep doing that.

If we redouble the efforts we have made to compassionately and fearlessly defend life and help mothers, we absolutely can win this.

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes, author of The Rosary of Saint John Paul II and The Fatima Family Handbook, is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Kansas and hosts The Extraordinary Story podcast about the life of Christ. A former reporter in the Washington, D.C., area, he served as press secretary of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman and spent 10 years as executive editor of the National Catholic Register newspaper and Faith & Family magazine. His work frequently appears in Catholic publications such as Aleteia.org and the Register. He and his wife, April, have nine children and live in Atchison, Kansas.