ListeningBack“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within.”

Historian Will Durant on Rome’s decline, 1944.

What we are witnessing in the United States is the decline of Western Civilization. What we are living through may be America’s last great adventure, and the world’s last experiment, in relative liberty.

Durant went on to conclude, “The essential causes of Rome’s decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars.”

Sound familiar?

I walked the Washington Mall at the Glenn Beck rally; I spoke with Michele Bachmann; met Ted Cruz’s dad, Raphael; talked with Oliver North. . . In my 70s, I marched in protest with the Tea Party, the 9-12 organization. . . I showed up at IRS demonstrations. . .

No one would ever consider me a radical. I was a cop for 14 years, in Miami, Florida, and in Tulsa, Oklahoma; I served in the military 29 years, 13 of those as a Green Beret soldier. I was a school teacher. How much more “establishment” could you get?

“All that time as a cop and a soldier,” I confided in my wife Donna Sue, “and for what? For the liberty I fought for to be squandered? I don’t want to live in a society where we are punished for succeeding. I don’t want to live in a nation where half the population is “entitled” to what the other half earns.”

As a historian, I am writing a book on the history of collectivism, of what we call socialism. How it rises inch by inch until a free man becomes a serf to an all-powerful government.

“While democracy seeks equality in liberty,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville in the early 19th Century, “socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” warned Santayana.

And we are repeating it. I tell my children and grandchildren that they will live in tyranny.

So I cry against the darkness.

But mostly I write. Books such as A Thousand Years of Darkness: “What if the President of the United States was trying to topple the nation, and you found out about it?”

And Going Bonkers: The Wacky World of Cultural Madness: “America is being conditioned to accept, endure, and promote virtually anything (through political correctness). Sound off and you find yourself accused of intolerance. . .”

One of the “Big Five” New York publishers with whom I had published a number of previous books cautioned that I would never published again in New York if I persisted along this road. I was audited by the IRS two years in a row. The same years Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and hundreds of other “conservative” journalists were targeted. Call it intimidation.

“We will preserve for our children,” said Ronald Reagan in 1964, “the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness.”

So I march. I speak out. But mostly I write. Some people need to be offended with truth.

And then I listen. . . I listen to hear if anyone is listening back.

The Vietnam War ended years ago. Veteran Jack Kazmarek returns to Vietnam. Some memories are best left buried, some questions should remain unanswered. From The Return, by Charles W. Sasser. Available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and Kobo.com in e-book format.