Carroll County Times Opinion

Chris Roemer: We are unwinding everything those who came before us fought to create | COMMENTARY

There is no dearth of books to read or movies to watch that imagine a future dystopian American society. Many of these books and movies are starting to appear remarkably prescient.

In some, criminals run amok in a anarchical world causing mayhem and destruction wherever they go, with no one to stop them. Others portray a tyrannical government with technology that gives it total control over the flow of information, and the ability to closely monitor its citizens.


If we were able to somehow transport people who lived a century ago into the world in which we live today, I believe even more than being amazed by the technological advancements humankind has made over the past 100 years, their overriding emotion would be one of disgust. They would be appalled at the immorality and lawlessness that have infected nearly every aspect of modern life.

We like to think of America’s Wild West as a metaphor for lawlessness, but while there may have been “no law west of the Pecos,” even in the Wild West, people worked to bring civilization and law and order to their towns as quickly as they could.


First sheriffs were hired, then police departments. Prosecutors perused justice on behalf of the people, and circuit judges traveled many miles administering that justice in a way that maintained public safety and the confidence of citizens.

Today, we are unwinding everything those who came before us fought so hard to create.

The world has changed.

Back then, if you didn’t work, you didn’t eat. People weren’t too proud to earn a paycheck anyway they could to ensure their stomachs were full and they had a roof over their heads.

If you looted or rioted, you were dealt with harshly. It didn’t matter why you were angry. Whatever the reason, you had no right to destroy private or government property.

Charity was in the hands of religious and civic organizations. The government had yet to become the behemoth it is today intruding into every aspect of our lives, and doing everything it can to help people avoid the natural consequences of their actions.

My grandparents died a long time ago. I can’t imagine what they would think if they turned on the TV today — the profanity; the sexual promiscuity; the utter lack of civility.

Religion is denigrated, sin celebrated and common sense scorned.


The world has been turned on its head. We have gotten used to, and ever more accepting of, what once was considered odious.

Activist prosecutors now refuse to prosecute. Progressive judges refuse to keep criminals off the streets. Police are maligned and criminals are held up as heroes or victims. Immigration laws are flouted by cities and states who have decided they just don’t like those laws, and the president enables a culture that actually rewards migrants for entering the country illegally.

And an unborn child has become a “thing,” with abortion considered to be nothing more than a medical procedure akin to an appendectomy.

In the midst of an historic crime wave, the D.C. City Council just overrode Mayor Muriel Bowser’s veto of a new criminal code that , among other things, reduced from 15 years to four years the maximum sentence for convicted violent felons who go on to commit additional crimes with a gun. I’m sure those who habitually commit violent crimes in our nation’s capital appreciate what city council is attempting to do on their behalf.

Bail reform has been a disaster wherever it’s been tried, yet instead of learning from the mistakes of others, Illinois just became the first state to implement that train wreck statewide.

It’s what happens when one becomes addicted to ideology rather than truth. Out of necessity, facts that contradict one’s ideology are quickly discarded, or ignored entirely, to avoid the pain of any resulting psychological dissonance.


Which is what makes President Joe Biden’s incredible, if abnormal, ability to hold conflicting points of view simultaneously and over time without experiencing the slightest bit of dissonance, almost enviable.

It may also be the definition of a sociopath, but I’m not sure about that.

When I was young, America was struggling toward a more perfect future for all people. Somewhere along the way, that noble goal was hijacked by those who have taken us to a place few back then could ever imagine possible.

But here we are, and I shutter to think where we go from here.

Soon enough I will put aside the tent of this body. It will be future generations who are condemned to live in the dystopia we are creating for them today.

Chris Roemer is a retired banker and educator who resides in Finksburg. He can be contacted at