Just as the Gods of Rome crumbled and decayed as the empire slowly faded, so too will America's Woke Gods. And the decline is already well underway.
The best evidence of this is the low libido corruption of President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Lazy criminals. Uninspired criminals. There are no grand gestures of corruption such as Alcibiades' affair with the King of Sparta's wife after he was ejected from Athens for his arrogance. Few, if any, corrupt leaders could muster the energy or will to carry out such intrigues, and thus, we are left with the petty, unimaginative, boring saga of Hunter Biden smoking crack with hookers.
We should be clear here that there's a distinct difference between the corruption of an individual and the corruption of a government or an institution. A corrupted government expresses some societal sickness that is beyond the common and eternal faults of man, collects them all, and then uses them to punish individuals. A government need not reflect the collected sins of its citizens. It should transcend and withstand the blows of individual corruption in its ideal form. Ancient Athens, for example, withstood the hijinks of Alcibiades.
That said, a corrupted man and his choice vices can tell us something about the state of things. Hunter's pathetic little sins—the easy ones, the ones that require no effort, the ones you can buy with little to no skill—express a culture on the decline because of how boring they are. Steinbeck put it well when he said, "It is a fact verified and recorded in many histories that the soul capable of the greatest good is also capable of the greatest evil. Who is there more impious than the backsliding priest? Who more carnal than a recent virgin?"
The degree to which the sins of our "elite" are impressive or scandalous is something of a barometer by which we can measure the energy of culture. As Micah Meadowcraft put it in his piece in The American Conservative that influenced me to write about this:
But the hookers, you say, isn’t that shocking? No. It’s the world’s oldest profession. The shocking thing about Hunter Biden is not what he’s gotten away with, with his money and his connections. It’s how little he seems to have tried. Smoking crack in a sensory-deprivation tank, transporting prostitutes across state lines; in that there is a total absence of imagination. The son of a U.S. president truly off the leash should be running his own cartel, carving out a petty kingdom in some jungle, building giant robots or cloning ancient birds.
Am I running covering fire for Hunter Biden trying to excuse his sins? No. Am I unimpressed by his faults? Yes. Spend any amount of time in the suburbs and you'll meet a handful of dudes who are capable of the depravity Hunter Biden has revealed to us.
It'd be far more interesting if Hunter were to, say, flee to Saudi Arabia and take up with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman where he'd charter a deal with Iran to secretly enrich uranium. In the meantime, he sleeps with the Crown Prince's wife which requires him to escape the country by the cover of night and seek refuge in Sri Lanka where, as the government collapses, Hunter uses the opportunity to inject himself into the fracas utilizing his connections to wrangle control of the flailing country and calling in boatloads of American beef and corn to feed the people, thereby establishing an American colonial outpost, and in turn, receiving the love and admiration of the Sri Lankan people.
Either that or, as Meadowcraft suggests, cloning ancient birds, reviving the Wooly Mammoth, or building strange and hypnotic monuments and structures.
The degree to which a person channels his depravity into corruption says something about that person's imagination. Presumably, you'd want to elevate the people with the highest capacity for good and those with the grandest imaginations to the nation's most distinguished positions. These should reflect the best of the best. That Hunter Biden and his father are corrupt says nothing unique, because men are and have always been corrupt, except in their lazy blandness.
As for the theoretical Saudi Arabia scenario laid out above: sure, the collateral damage would be stressful and you might harangue at his guile just as you do now on the revelation that he smoked crack with hookers. But, at least you'd have to grudgingly admire his thriftiness and wonder how he could pull something like that off instead of shrugging and saying, "I could be that bad too, but I know better."
Maybe Hunter's efforts in this theoretical scenario would motivate you to take the opposite side and inspire you to do something good on that grand of a scale because you are not predisposed to crack and hookers like a degenerate.