Victor Davis Hanson // National Review
Cultural suicide used to be a popular diagnosis of why things suddenly just quit.
Historians such as Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee cited social cannibalism to explain why once-successful states, institutions, and cultures simply died off.
Their common explanation was that the arrogance of success ensures lethal consequences. Once elites became pampered and arrogant, they feel exempt from their ancestors’ respect for moral and spiritual laws — such as the need for thrift, moderation, and transcendence.
Take professional sports. Over the past century, professional football, basketball, and baseball were racially integrated, and they adopted a uniform code of patriotic observance. The three leagues offered fans a pleasant respite from daily barroom politics. As a result, by the 21st century, the NFL, NBA, and MLB had become global multi-billion-dollar enterprises.
Then hubris ensued.