Civilizations depend on responsible people. It is the people who come to work every day and do their best who keep a country running. It is the soldiers who advance to the enemy and return fire, who win wars. It is leaders who do the difficult things who leave their country better than they found it. It is the men and women who search their souls, who leave this world better people than they entered it.
In a declining civilization, there are few responsible people. There are many who will want a title, but few who will do the job. There are many who will shout, but few who will reason. There are many who will wave a flag, but few who will fight for a cause. There are many who would destroy, but few who will build. There are many who will lecture, but few who will do.
In a civilization on the verge of a moral catastrophe, the invocation of virtues and principles is met with contemptuous laughter. It is widely understood that irresponsible behavior is better, that decency is for weaklings and fools, that anger is the only true virtue that suffices to achieve all ends. Manners vanish like autumn leaves in a breeze. Moral compasses show nothing. Intellectual consistency ceases to matter. Men believe contradictory things at different hours of the day. Illusory victories are always being achieved even as real defeats follow.
Daniel Greenfield, Virtue and the Moral Fall of Civilization