From the Shores of Gomorrah: Remembering Robert Bork

It has been a couple of weeks since the death of Robert Bork, which occurred shortly before Christmas and didn’t really get the news coverage that Bork merited.
Bork died at age 85. In 1987, he became a national headline when President Ronald Reagan nominated him to the Supreme Court. He was a judicial conservative, a “strict constructionist.” He warned about the road America was embarking upon in neglecting its Constitutional principles, and saw doom and gloom ahead. He was grimly pessimistic about America generally, dreading modern liberalism’s grip on the nation. Liberalism, Bork insisted, was pushing America toward decline. We were headed to hell in a hand-basket. A decade after his failed confirmation, Bork authored a bestselling book tellingly titled, ”Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline.”
Bork had seen liberalism up close and full throttle—and at its open-throated angriest. During his unsuccessful confirmation hearings in 1987, he was plainly smeared. He was hysterically and unfairly portrayed by radical abortion feminists and the likes of Senator Ted Kennedy as an abuser and assaulter of women—a Neanderthal, a kind of political/cultural gargoyle. Liberals demonized Bork and railroaded his nomination, ushering in a whole new incivility and politicization to the judicial nomination process. Liberal journalists literally dug through Bork’s trash looking for anything to attack the man; they went to the nearby video store to find out what he rented.
Hmmm,” they rubbed their hands together hopefully, “any X-rated flicks, Judge Bork?”
Alas, that wasn’t Robert Bork’s universe. They learned that Bork had an affinity not for pornographic film but for “Fred and Ginger” movies.
Hah,” they hissed, “what a square!”
The left’s assault on Bork was unhinged, a precursor of behavior to come with later judges they disliked, particularly pro-life judges. Liberals were so nasty to Bork that the man’s name has become a verb: When liberals today vilify a conservative Supreme Court nominee, like a Clarence Thomas, we say that the nominee has been “Borked.”
The tributes to Bork at the time of his death revisited this sordid history. But none, to my knowledge, focused on the area where, sadly, I believe he was most prophetic—namely, his pessimism about American life and culture.
I never met Bork to discuss that pessimism, but a former Grove City College student of mine did. It was about 10 years ago. I was speaking at Ave Maria University School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My former student, Mark, was there. He was taking a class that semester with Judge Bork. He shared with me a dose of the usual Bork cynicism. Looking to buoy Bork a bit, my student optimistically told the judge that America’s future looked good because of promising demographics. He noted that committed evangelicals and orthodox Roman Catholics were having lots of children, whereas secular leftists were not. Surely, he assured Bork, this boded well for the culture, or at least the kind of culture Bork desired.
“No, no,” disagreed Bork. The judge conceded the positive demographics but noted that most of these evangelicals and Catholics send their kids to colleges dominated by these secular liberals, where all the ideals and values the youngsters learned at home and at their churches is rapidly undermined in four years—with the faithful parents unwittingly paying for the undermining. In short order, these conservative Christians support abortion and gay rights.
sodom-and-gomorrah“We’re doomed,” Bork assured my student. America was on the road to Gomorrah.
Unfortunately, I think Robert Bork was exactly right.
For today’s liberals, who call themselves “progressives,” support for abortion has morphed into forcing fellow taxpayers to pay for it—and they plainly smear those who think otherwise as favoring a “war on women.” Their support for gay rights has morphed into gay marriage—with accompanying vitriol slung at anyone who disagrees.
Robert Bork was a man ahead of his time.
Judge Robert Bork, rest in peace—far away from the shores of Gomorrah.

Dr. Paul Kengor


Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

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  • Amen

  • ctate

    Once again, Dr. Kengor hits the nail on the head with this article about Judge Bork. My husband and I have had similar conversations, re universities re-orienting their students cultural mores and values. Our young adult just graduated from Clemson University, and we can confirm that the progressive “brainwashing” is occurring there too, but perhaps to a lesser extent because of it’s locale being deep in the “bible belt”. She would come home on occasion to regale us with the great wisdom of this or that professor, regarding moral and ethical issues from soup to nuts. Each time we would calmly, sometimes not so calmly, re-orient her back to the child we raised, instilling and arming her once again with the morals and values we raised her with. As she would head back to school, armed with what we hoped were the sword of truth and the armor of God, we prayed fervently, because we knew she she would need to use these weapons to sustain her faith every day. We are praying still…

  • chaco

    I’m trying to weigh this narrative against the saying; “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” Sure, it’s not helpful to deceive ourselves into a false sense of security, but we must keep our eyes on “The light at the end of the tunnel”. Sr. Miriam, founder of “Mother of Israel’s Hope” (I think I’ve got thier name right), said to me; God Glorifies Himself through a “Remnant Church”. Another devout Catholic lady once told me that she could forsee a persecution of Catholics similar to that of the Jews. I hold to 2 “Tunnel Lights” ; 1) The Jews were before “The New Covenant” that includes The Holy Spirit & Church that “the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against.” 2) As long as we have free speech, enhanced by instant communication, it’s going to be quite difficult to silence the Truth. And don’t forget about all the disciples that left Jesus after He explained the Eucharist (Jn. chapt. 6). Even if we feel abandoned, it only takes a few friends to defeat feeling loneliness.