It takes a lot to build a civilization, and though it is much easier to destroy a civilization, it takes a lot to do that, too.
But now we have four roots of evil that are guaranteed to do so.
No. 1: Victimhood.
The first is victimhood. The more people who regard themselves as victims -- as individuals or as a group -- the more likely they are to commit evil. People who think of themselves as victims feel that, having been victimized, they are no longer bound by normal moral conventions -- especially the moral conventions of their alleged or real oppressors.
Everyone knows this is true. But few confront this truth. Every parent, for example, knows that the child who thinks of him or herself as a perpetual victim is the child most likely to cause and get into trouble. And criminologists report that nearly every murderer in prison thinks of himself as a victim.
On a societal scale, the same holds true -- and being on such a larger scale, the chances of real evil ensuing are exponentially increased. One of the most obvious examples is Germany after World War I. Most Germans regarded themselves as victims -- of the Treaty of Versailles; of a "stab in the back" German government; of the British, Americans and French; and, of course, of the Jews. This sense of victimhood was one of the most important factors in the popularity of the Nazis, who promised to restore German dignity.
That millions of black Americans regard themselves as victims -- probably more so today than at any time in the past 50 years -- can only lead to disaster for America generally and for blacks specifically. While victims generally feel free to lash out at others, they also go through life angry and unhappy.
No. 2: Demonization.
The second of the four ingredients of this civilization-destroying witches' brew is demonization -- demonizing a group as inherently evil.
That is being done now with regard to the white people of America. All -- again, all -- whites are declared racist. The only difference among them is that some admit it and some deny it. The notion that whites are inherently evil has long been associated with Louis Farrakhan. But it has apparently migrated out from his relatively small following to many blacks, even those who might consider Farrakhan a kook. Former President Barack Obama, hardly a Farrakhan follower, described America as having racism in its DNA. That is as close to inherently and irredeemably evil as it gets; you cannot change your DNA.
In that sense, not only are whites demonized, but America is, too. Unlike traditional liberals, the left regards America as a moral cesspool -- not only racist but, according to The New York Times, founded to be so. The New York Times has created a history of America that declares its founding not in 1776 but in 1619, when the first black slaves arrived. The American Revolution was fought, according to this malign narrative, not merely for American independence but in order to preserve slavery, a practice the British would have interfered with. This "history" will now be taught in thousands of American schools.
The combination of victimhood and demonization alone is dangerous enough. But there are still two more horsemen galloping toward the looming apocalypse.
No. 3: A Cause To Believe In.
Most Americans throughout American history found great meaning in being American and in being religious -- usually Christian. Since World War II, we have lived in a post-Christian, post-nationalist age. Until very recently, Americans would have found the expression "for God and country" deeply meaningful; that term today, on the left, is risible and execrable.
But people need something to believe in. The need for meaning is the greatest human need after the need for food. Leftism, with all its offshoots -- feminism, environmentalism, Black Lives Matter, antifa -- has filled that vacuum. In Europe, communism, fascism and Nazism filled the hole left by the demise of nationalism and Christianity. Here it is leftism and its offshoots.
No. 4: Lies.
The fourth and most important ingredient necessary for evil is lies. Lies are the root of evil. Ironically, slavery itself was made possible only because of the lie that the black was inferior to the white. Nazism was made possible thanks to the lie that Jews were not fully human. And communism was built on lies. Lenin, the father of Soviet Communism, named the Soviet communist newspaper "Truth" ("Pravda") because truth was what the Communist Party said it was.
The New York Times, CNN and the rest of the mainstream "news" media are becoming our version of Pravda.
Objective truth doesn't exist on the left. The universities have already declared "objective truth" as essentially an expression of "white privilege." See what happens to a student who says in class, for example, that "men cannot give birth."
The public self-debasement demanded of anyone who differs with the left -- like New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees just did when he said not standing for the national anthem desecrated the flag and those who have died for it -- happens almost daily. The only difference between this and what dissidents underwent during Mao's Cultural Revolution is that the self-debasement here is voluntary -- thus far.
Last week, when this Jew saw a store in Santa Monica with a sign reading "black-owned business" so as to avoid being destroyed, it evoked chilling memories.
That's how bad it is in America today.
Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, published by Regnery in May 2019, is "The Rational Bible," a commentary on the book of Genesis. His film, "No Safe Spaces," came to theaters fall 2019. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.