While Democrats and the major media blame the NRA, Republicans and “bump stocks” (something almost no one ever heard of until last week) for Stephen Paddock’s horrific Las Vegas massacre, more thoughtful voices are looking deeper.

On Fox News, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham discussed the nature of Paddock’s “pure unadulterated evil,” while Tucker Carlson wondered aloud: “Shootings like this did not occur when we were kids. What has changed? What is this about? Why are we seeing this?”

So far, all we have is lurid clues about Paddock. ISIS claims he was a convert, but it provides no evidence. He had tons of high-end firearms. His father, a bank robber on the FBI’s most wanted list, was diagnosed as “psychopathic” and “suicidal.” A high-stakes gambler, Paddock took an anti-anxiety drug known (rarely) to cause aggression, and one Vegas prostitute says the 64-year-old “enjoyed violent rape fantasies.” And so on. Obviously Paddock had, whatever the reasons, given his life completely over to evil.

But regardless of what we ultimately discover about Paddock’s “secret life” and specific motivations for committing such an unthinkable crime, the more important question for us is: Why is so much extreme chaos occurring in what was once a vibrant, unified and essentially happy nation?

By “extreme chaos,” I don’t mean only the frequent terrorist attacks and mass shootings, horrendous as they are, but other equally disturbing signs of a troubled and, dare I say, disintegrating culture – including today’s completely unprecedented and ever-expanding epidemic of opioid addiction,widespread depression (one in four middle-aged American women takes antidepressants), a rising suicide rate and precipitous increase in violent crime in our major cities – not to mention the growing political madness ripping our nation apart.

We are wrenched along from one crisis to another: One week it’s a movement to violently tear down or deface our nation’s monuments (not just Confederate statues, but monuments commemorating everyone from Columbus to Jefferson to Lincoln!) and, by extension, disavowing and erasing our own history. Then it’s on to relentless attacks on the First Amendment – and since the Las Vegas massacre, on the Second Amendment. And all the while, one major political party pathologically refuses to accept the results of the last presidential election and is hell-bent on overturning it any way it can.

But back to Stephen Paddock. “He was just a guy,” Paddock’s brother Eric plaintively told the Daily Mail. “Something happened, he snapped or something.”

Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock (Photo: Twitter/Eric Paddock)

Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock (Photo: Twitter/Eric Paddock)

Let’s take a few steps back and seriously consider why so many people in today’s America are “snapping or something.”

In my 2015 book, “The Snapping of the American Mind: Healing a Nation Broken by a Lawless Government and Godless Culture,” I focus considerable attention not just on what is happening in American life today, but why.

While chronicling the radical and bizarre transformation of the buoyant, hopeful America of my youth – a nation where mass shootings, terror attacks, rampant opioid addiction and similar evils were rare or non-existent – I pause in the middle of a chapter exploring our nation’s multiple addiction epidemics to ask a few fundamental questions. I think they’re relevant right now:

What is it about our contemporary society that is driving astronomical numbers of us, young and old, to suicide, drug abuse, addiction and other compulsive, self-destructive behaviors?

Let us reason together.

Do you think telling children, in a multitude of ways as today’s culture and education system consistently do, that God does not exist has no effect on their mental health and happiness?

Do you think the legalization of marijuana in state after state, creating a celebratory atmosphere around pot and other drugs, doesn’t contribute to drug dependency, not to mention growing psychosis – especially when today’s marijuana is known to be many times more potent than in decades past?

Do you think aborting almost 60 million American children in the four-plus decades since the Supreme Court legalized it in 1973 – and the not-subtle message this sanitized slaughter sends throughout society about the lack of sacredness of human life – has no effect on people’s mental health? …

Do you think, in the Internet age, that ubiquitous graphic images and videos of intimate body parts and hard-core sex – images that intrude and are indelibly burned into the minds and souls of tens of millions of young and old alike – does not awaken and feed a very dark nature, and exacerbate all manner of personal, relational, marital and mental health problems?

I continue on in this vein, citing other benchmark “achievements” of the left, which has managed to successfully de-Christianize American culture over the last couple of generations, thereby destroying the cohesion, shared identity and common values that once comprised the lifeblood of our civilization – all in the name of radical “freedom.”

In “Snapping,” I basically prosecute the case that “the left’s wild celebration of sexual anarchy, its intimidating culture of political correctness, and its incomprehension of the fundamental sacredness of human life, is, whether intentionally or not, promoting widespread dependency, debauchery, family breakdown, crime, corruption, addiction, despair and suicide.”

For decades, the left has been subverting America’s schools and colleges, the news media, the entertainment industry and so on – which is probably why public faith in many of these institutions is so low right now. Meanwhile, in the Age of Trump, every time those on the left reflexively accuse well-meaning Christians and conservatives of being “racists” and “fascists,” every time they publicly disrespect the American flag and national anthem, every time they militantly deny the most basic high-school biology – and absolutely insist that you do likewise or you’re a hateful bigot – they further rip apart the fabric of our civilization. But there is a big price to pay for all this.

Get David Kupelian’s culture-war blockbuster “The Marketing of Evil,” its sequel “How Evil Works,” and his latest “The Snapping of the American Mind: Healing a Nation Broken by a Lawless Government and Godless Culture,” all at the WND Superstore. Autographed, e-book, and audiobook versions also available.

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You see, the left today is literally promoting pathological thinking. For example, in the influential Atlantic cover story, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” the authors – one a liberal academic and the other a conservative – cite evidence that colleges today are actually fostering mental illness. Explaining that “vindictive protectiveness teaches students to think in a very different way,” the authors point out that “[a] campus culture devoted to policing speech and punishing speakers is likely to engender patterns of thought that are surprisingly similar to those long identified by cognitive behavioral therapists as causes of depression and anxiety. The new protectiveness may be teaching students to think pathologically.”

Concertgoers in Las Vegas during a shooting in which more than 50 people were killed

Concertgoers in Las Vegas during a shooting in which more than 50 people were killed

‘A spiritual border wall’

Stop and consider the values that held sway in America when such “chaos” as we are experiencing today was rare.

Yes, America was unified, strong and optimistic, but not just because our society had a set of common beliefs. Many awful societies of the past and present strictly enforce common beliefs – North Korea is a prime example. And when Mao Zedong tried imposing an atheistic utopian belief system on China, he succeeded in becoming the worst mass murderer in world history – 45 million people killed in four years. That’s an average of more than 30,000 people killed every single day for four years!

No, America is very different. The Judeo-Christian values that long comprised the moral consensus of Americans, and of Western Civilization – rooted in the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount – served to encourage everything good, decent and noble within our very flawed human nature, and to discourage the darker side of our nature.

Those particular values, therefore, constituted a powerful wall around America – a fortress, a spiritual border wall if you will. In fact, the left’s suicidal obsession with open borders – resulting in recklessly inviting into our national home people with ideologies, loyalties and cultural pathologies utterly hostile to our own well-being – provides a striking metaphor: For the left has likewise torn down the moral-spiritual wall of Judeo-Christian values that once helped guard our nation and her people from great evil overtaking them.

It’s often observed that those on the left fail to consider the long-term, real-world implications of their agendas. They want to ban guns, legalize abortion, tax the rich, redefine marriage, ignore biology, raise the minimum wage to $15, leave our borders wide open and so on – apparently oblivious to where they are thus leading us. What, then, are the true implications of abandoning America’s core biblical values?

Let’s pause to consider the oft-quoted line from Dostoevsky’s classic novel, “The Brothers Karamazov”: “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.”

The radical left – that’s what we’re talking about here, not traditional “liberals” – is basically godless. But evidently the left didn’t learn much during the mega-violent 20th century, during which it was responsible for the deaths of 100 million people, sacrificed on the altar of the left’s atheistic utopian religion, which Churchill insightfully described as “the gospel of envy.”

Make no mistake: The radical left worldview that has been ascendant in modern America – not just the rebellion against fundamental biology, morality and economics, but its efforts to obliterate our constitutional rights, tear down our history, repudiate the basic “self-evident truths” of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and violate the Ten Commandments – is not only godless, it is arguably insane.

Stay with me here. To catch a glimpse of the insanity to which I’m referring, all one need do is peer all the way to the end of the long road down which the left has been leading us, and behold what lurks there.

If there truly is no God, no transcendent meaning to life, no objective right and wrong, no heaven and hell (as John Lennon imagined) and no ultimate consequence for living an evil life rather than a good one – then, my friends, we are living in an entirely materialistic universe devoid of actual meaning or purpose. That would mean you and I are just energy and matter – one of 7.6 billion similar entities on planet Earth, each a conglomeration of trillions of cells, each of those composed of molecules, in turn composed of atoms composed of particles orbiting other particles, some atoms with a greater number of particles orbiting greater numbers of other particles in nuclei, and some with fewer.

In other words, just energy, matter and numbers – that’s all we ultimately are in this materialistic world of total rebellion against God and meaning.

Within this nihilistic worldview, a person like Stephen Paddock, who for whatever reason decides to shoot hundreds of human beings, is arguably just changing the form and configuration of their energy and matter from one form into another. Not that Paddock consciously thought this way; demons controlled his mind. He was extremely angry at whatever had gone wrong in his life and wanted revenge – and, probably, also to be remembered as a notorious mass-murderer.

Friends, this is a dangerous realm into which the left is ushering us, this place where there is no objective meaning, no absolute right and wrong, no good and evil, no moral and immoral, no male and female – where everything is relative and means whatever you choose it to mean, all because you demand ultimate freedom. Because when nothing means anything, even murder is reduced to rearranging matter and energy in other people from one form to another.

Does this sound insane? It certainly should – because it is exactly the insanity that allowed atheistic communists like Cambodian dictator Pol Pot to slaughter between 1.7 million and 2 million of his own countrymen while trying to create his utopia.

This is the pitch-black, soulless mathematics behind “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.

I am not saying the left or anyone or anything else other than Stephen Paddock himself was responsible for his terrible crime. But I am saying the difference between the America of my youth and today’s perpetually angry, conflicted, addicted, self-hating, immoral, guilty and essentially godless culture – in the midst of which many horrific terrorist and mass-shooting attacks somehow keep occurring – is largely the handiwork of the left.

Remember this: When you kick God out of your life – or out of your society – what you have left is not “nothing” (let alone “freedom” or “progress”). Since we human beings exist in a moral-spiritual realm that absolutely will not permit a vacuum to exist, when we eject God, something unspeakably evil whooshes in and starts to become our god – that is, to inspire and think and act through us.

Clearly this was the case with Stephen Paddock.

Finally, let’s learn from what Nobel-prize-winning author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, imprisoned in a Soviet gulag for daring to criticize that nation’s socialist paradise, said toward the end of his life:

Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

Get David Kupelian’s culture-war blockbuster “The Marketing of Evil,” its sequel “How Evil Works,” and his latest “The Snapping of the American Mind: Healing a Nation Broken by a Lawless Government and Godless Culture,” all at the WND Superstore. Autographed, e-book, and audiobook versions also available.

Follow David Kupelian on Facebook