America Has a Boundary Problem

I couldn’t believe the riots at Penn State after Joe Paterno was fired.  I really do not get how anyone could support him after basically ignoring sex crimes against defenseless children.  After all, we’re talking about felony rape of a child in a Penn State locker room shower that should have been reported to police right then and there!  Joe Paterno should have made the call and he didn’t.  That one phone call could have stopped many other children from being molested. 

According to a new national poll, only 51% of people think Paterno should have been fired—Pathetic.  Maybe this is part of what’s wrong with America these days.  45% of the people polled in Pennsylvania think firing Paterno was the wrong decision.  Outrageous!  I bet they would think differently if the rape of their child was brushed under the carpet.  This is stunning proof America has a problem with boundaries.

Today’s guest writer, James Howard Kunstler, lays out this argument in a brilliant, but stark, essay called “Rudderless.”  I couldn’t stop reading it after I started.  I hope you feel it was just as thought provoking and insightful as I did.  —Greg Hunter–



By James Howard Kunstler

Guest Writer for Greg Hunter’s 

The Penn State football sex scandal, and the depraved response of the university community at all levels, tells whatever you need to know about the spiritual condition of this floundering, rudderless, republic and its ignoble culture.

For nine years, head coach Joe Paterno covered up a grad student’s report of having witnessed former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky anally raping a ten-year-old boy in the athletic department’s shower room. The grad student, Mike McQueary, didn’t bother to call the police. He was later hired as Paterno’s defensive coordinator. Two other Penn State administrators were informed about the rape and let the incident slide, after which Sandusky went on to a lively career in serial child homosexual rape. For many years after the witnessed incident, he was permitted regular access to Penn State’s gyms, fields, and locker rooms, while cherry-picking victims from his own foundation, Second Mile, for needy children.

The intersection of America’s fake warrior culture of football with the nation’s fake moral and ethical culture is instructive. It has many levels, like a convoluted freeway intersection of on-ramps, off-ramps, and merge-ramps.

First is the pretense that college football is a character-building endeavor. Rather it’s an odious money-grubbing racket that chews up and spits out quasi-professional players who, with rare exceptions, only pretend to be students. It corrupts everyone connected with it. College football is little more than a giant conduit for vacuuming money out of alumni, hawking brand merchandise, and generating TV revenues. At Penn State, the racket sucked in about $70 million a year net profit. All over America, the old land-grant diploma mills pay their coaches million-dollar salaries, while academic adjunct professors can’t even get health insurance. At SUNY-Albany, the flagship campus of New York’s system, they got rid of the department of foreign languages, but the football team plays on. Meanwhile ordinary students rack up tens of thousands of dollars in unpayable college debt via a related racket in which free-flowing government-backed Sallie Mae loan money prompts colleges to boost tuition rates way beyond inflation rates.

Then there is the merge-ramp between religion and football. Was I the only person revolted by video of the phony “prayer” session held in the Penn State stadium just before Saturday’s “big game” with the University of Nebraska? Players from both teams led by Jesus-shouting cheerleaders affected to “pray” for Jerry Sandusky’s rape victims, an exercise that was joined and legitimized by the crowd with all the passion of a Nuremberg rally. When that easy little ritual was out of the way they could settle back and enjoy the game’s ersatz heroics with a clear conscience, and the tailgate barbeques that followed. A genuine sense of collective shame would have produced a different course of events – for instance cancelling the game, maybe the rest of the season, or perhaps even the entire football program in plain recognition of how foul and corrupt it is. That decision would have been up to the university’s board of directors and tells you all you need to know about corporate leadership in America today.

Perhaps even more disgusting than the pre-game prayer show was the rash of demonstrations the night the story broke. These weren’t about shame and repentance, just violent displays of sanctimonious “moral” support for an entire system in disgrace. Do you suppose these people could not have endured a night or two of uncomfortable silent reflection. And why didn’t the new president, or any other campus executive, make a pubic statement that all the prideful carrying-on was indecent?  I wonder how many of the same students will be ground down to dust by the weight of their unpayable college loans.

Equally disgusting was the cable news media’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Penn State story, as if there weren’t other important events going on in the world – for instance the resignation of two European prime ministers due to a political crisis that could sink the global economic system. CNN turned the Penn State story into an instant reality-TV show, with play-by-play action and spin-o-rama scenario-flogging aimed mainly, it seemed, at how Coach Joe Paterno might manage to wiggle out of culpability in the civil lawsuits that are sure to dog him now until the end of his days.

What the public doesn’t know is how soon the sun will be setting on these giant universities in their entirety – football, classrooms, alumni golden circles, and all – as we enter the age of intense energy and capital scarcities. Remember: institutions, just like living organisms, often reach their greatest scale just before they go extinct. Resource constraints would be enough to get the job done, but it’s interesting to see how our programming failures and internal moral contradictions have reached the last limits of flamboyant grotesquerie in the same exact moment.

This is a nation with psychological boundary problems in every realm – the family, the school, the government, the corporation, the diocese, the police station, you name it. Meanwhile the so-called fine arts branch of our culture valorizes “transgressive” behavior – as if there were any behavioral boundaries left to cross. Maybe Jerry Sandusky should be sentenced to a one-man show at the Whitney Museum. Then just wait a week or so: we’ll get Jeffrey Dahmer, the Musical on Broadway.

Every new day that dawns lately gives further proof that we are a wicked people who deserve to be punished.


Mr. Kunstler is a prolific and talented author. Some of his recent books include: “The Witch of Hebron,” World made by Hand,” and “The Long Emergency.” To check out Mr. Kunstler’s bio (click here.) To go to his website (click here.)


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  1. Ken


    I like his word, “depravity,” to describe the Penn State riots. It’s a nice contrast to the contrived sanctimony that generated them.

    I don’t have much use for the “Occupy” crowd, but the Penn State rioters make the OCW people look like models of thoughtfulness and reason by comparison.


  2. William

    Greg, right on the head. We live in a culture that is spiritual and morally bankrupt. What a sad future that lays ahead. Joe Molesto should be charged with being a enabler. How many boys were hurt do to his silents

  3. Jackson

    If America does not have boudaries anymore, a lot of the blame goes to the news media. Many of us agree with James Howard Kunstler that the news media’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Penn State story was absurd as if there weren’t other more important events going on in the world. News media bias and outright propaganda has become a huge problem. For example, CNN White House correspondent Dan Lothian asked President Obama at a press conference at the APEC summit in Hawaii on Sunday if all of the Republican presidential candidates were “uninformed, out of touch, or irresponsible.” Where is the news media’s objectivity in a question like that?

  4. Alessandro Machi

    From the article the writer states…”Two other Penn State administrators were informed about the rape and let the incident slide”. So did Paterno tell anybody or not?

    If Paterno did tell two administrators, why accuse him of doing nothing?

    • Greg

      Alessandro Machi,
      Felony rape of a child (the original incident) happen in a Penn State football shower room. It was Paterno’s gym. You do anything you can to stop that from ever happening again. Paterno needed to call the cops and he didn’t need the permission of his boss to do it. Again, THIS WAS FELLONY RAPE OF A CHILD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would have called the cops right after I got finished kicking the perpetrator’s ass!!!!!!!!!!

      • William

        Greg I love it when you get mad, that is rightous anger!!!

        • Greg

          Thank you William.

  5. MasterLuke

    America’s real problem is moral decay. Power corrupts when you lack morals.

  6. Hoppe

    I admit to enjoying watching a football game now and then. Learning and training for the sport does teach teamwork and the ability to overcome physical pain and discomfort in pursuit of a goal. However I would add to Kuntsler’s indictment against college ball, to high school football, particularly in the south. It is the training ground for the next generation of military cannon fodder.

    The geography books in the local high school are over 10 years old. The football stadium just got a new 100K $ digital scoreboard.

    A friend works in engineering for a nearby junior college. He tells me that the football players are regularly given a pass on not just grades, but anti-social and even criminal behavior because they are “on the team”. The latest mis- adventure was his having to clean up after a “scat party” left over in the showers which clogged the drains.

    Even my own experience playing the sport 40 years ago in school affirms the “sports God” aura that players enjoy.

    Just remember the fall of Rome and the Romans love of blood sports near the end.

  7. Art Barnes

    Greg, most prolific article I have ever read in years about our current culture, the so-called “shinning city on the hill”. I have witnessed the degrading of our nations humanity since childhood, appalling culture of hedonism, greed, and corruption to its core with only a few fringes of nobility left. Sadly, Mr. Kunstler’s last statement that “Every new day that dawns lately gives further proof that we are a wicked people who deserve to be punished” is true.

  8. Richard Wheeling

    America Has a Boundary Problem ! I agree. Greg! Think about this ! What do you think would have Happened if it would have been little Girls! That , That Monstor was Raping? Thanks. love your web page.

  9. Baja Bryan


    Most pathetic indeed! The riots after Paterno’s firing and the 45% of the people polled in Pennsylvania who thought the firing of Paterno was the wrong decision are a clear indication of how intellectually and morally bankrupt society has become. It’s no wonder this country is in such sad shape. It would suffice to say that I’m disgusted and embarrassed!

  10. Lew

    I agree with you Greg, a very insightful essay.

    I’d say Mr. Kunstler has touched on some deep seated issues in our society.

    I have said for years, “Rome is burning”. I think we could now say it is fully engulfed.

  11. Matslinger

    Simply talking about this “media generated diversion” wastes precious
    time , the whole thing was orchestrated, celefane wrapped, and tied
    with a pretty bow on it , while the Trilateral commission stole Itally
    (same way they stole Poland a year ago) , and the US invades Australia… I’m truly disgusted that your wasting time on this, and will no longer read your articles! this is the kind of crap I’d expect from Jerry Springer or OPRAH, congratulations , you’ve arrived.

    • Greg

      Sorry you disagreed with my choice of guest writer article. You will be missed. I wish you’d reconsider. What’s wrong with the country is not all based on spread sheets and numbers. There is a reason why people are easy to manipulate and Kunstler points out a very big reason. Social decay.

  12. norcar survivor

    I hate to say it Greg, but Mr. Kunstler has a very good point. I have always been a proponent of better schools and less diversion through sports. I have had difficulty at jobs because I wasn’t one of the guys who gathered around the water cooler on Monday with the weekend scores memorized or to collect on my Nascar race pool. When I had my interview for my last job, which I held until the company went bankrupt, I asked my potential employer if my success was based on my ability to perform my job or my ability to be ” One of the boys” based on my knowledge of sports or hunting and fishing. He assured me that it would be my professional ability that got recognition with this company. I got the job. I asked this man after a job offer was made to me what inspired him to hire me and he said it was that question that told him my head was in the right place.
    People have a skewed sense of importance today and Mr. Kunstler is right in that it is leading to our down fall. People will work their lives away for tickets to sporting events and get so angry at the other team they could very well be that crazed gang turning over cars in the parking lot and beating up people. Oh, That’s right. They often do that very thing. Yet these very same people can’t be bothered to spend one hour a month in support of any one of the Civil services organizations like Civitan or Ruritan, which I have been a member for over 14 years. Most members in our organization are over 65 years old. Finding younger people has been our biggest challenge throughout my affiliation with them. At 48, I am the youngest members in the club. I know sports and other distractions are not all bad but the drain on our dollar, schools and time are unparalleled in this time of great spiritual and financial need in America. Our devotions are skewed. Even at my kids High School , the school cut funding one year to the band requiring them to pay for the buses to the game themselves. There were over 200 band members supporting about 30 football players yet the TEAM still got their pre-Friday night steak dinner.
    That’s where we are in America and it stinks.

  13. Stief Bijer

    One of your best “moral” posts ever, Greg! Thanks!

    The freedom for an individual to be morally responsible is the first freedom to disappear in a debauched, materialistic, fame+fortune society.

    This is one reason why the “best & the brightest” are LEAVING the U.S. for better opportunities abroad. The brain drain has started flowing the opposite way–OUT of “U$ AmeriKKKa”

    New Zealand, Australia and Canada are the favorite destinations at this moment.

    • Greg

      Thank you Stief, George and Chuck.

  14. George

    I am not in the shape of an athlete but I would have tried to beat Sandusky to death. Heck, my father is 85 and he would have too. When did we stop believing in personal responsibility? Mike McQueary is and was an athlete and witnessed an old man sodomizing a child. He turned around and called his father. Is there anything left in this country worth saving?

  15. Chuck Allen


    The boundries for many areas have dissappeared. In cases like the Penn State sex scandal there are many people that contributed to the problem. This included other boys that must have know about what was happening.

    The bottom line the rapist should be castrated and incarerated for life.

  16. Spamunch

    This is a very good article. Well written and true. We are a wicked people. Controlled by the dollar.

  17. Larry W. Bryant

    == This Utter Disgrace at PENILE State ==

    Male leaders’ altering the altar boys, shafting the shower boys — where does it all end?

    The religious hypocrisy of it should sicken the souls of the victims’ families to the point of suing the perpetrators’ institutions into oblivion! — Larry W. Bryant (15 Nov 11)

  18. RonP

    Could it be that the moral fiber of our country erodes little by little each day until one day we will be like so many civilizations that caused their own death. Every day you hear about legal cases that allow some action to take place that years ago would have been unheard of. You find people ignoring activities on the street that years ago would never have been tolerated. And now, this. What’s next that people will turn a blind eye on?

  19. Frank Rizzo

    Wow, what a great article!

    How many other victims never overcame their shame and spoke up?

    Sandusky should be tried for capital punishment. There is no possibility of rehabilitation and why should I support him with my taxes to put him in prison? But I have heard that child molesters get “special” treatment by the other inmates.

    • Greg

      I pray he goes to a maximum security prison with lots of contact with other inmates!!

      • Art Barnes

        I think you meant “lots” of contact, did you not?

        • Greg

          Yes, Lots of contact with other inmates. Thank you, I fixed it.

  20. Jeff S.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.

    Thomas Jefferson

    • Greg

      Jeff S.
      Thank you for this quote!!!!!

  21. Steve

    This whole story is awful. How anyone could live with themselves even more than one hour, is hard to understand.

    But all of us do not really know all the facts of the story, do we? Have they been made known to us?

    The other side about our culture is the moral judgement we bring before all the facts our made known, to me it’s like gossip. Every one wants to jump in and be the judge and jury.

    Does that mean I want everyone who is guilty to get “special” treatment? No! Just to have justice, like you would want in any civilized country.

    Isn’t that what all of us want, a country that is honest, with morals and good judgement?

    I hope so!

    • Greg

      Fair enough Steve. Thank you for your support and comment.

  22. Nathan Ham

    Excellent article. I am reminded about a Bible verse that makes it clear the social decay is related to the love of money:

    1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

  23. BigTom

    Yep, Yep and Yep! And those same students professing false shame against a corrupt football program would be the first to shout one down professing shame against liberal morals. “After all who are you to judge another person!” Ever try to express moral sanity on any campus today? Ha! Pregame prayer? How phony! Why? College campuses are the first place christianity has been expelled……

  24. Agent X

    My my, how we rush to judgement not knowing the entire story…. This is not France but the United States where one is innocent until proven guilty.

    The problem I have is this story is that it keeps changing. Mike McQueary says he reported it to police. But Campus Police have no record of that. Mike McQueary reports he stopped the abuse when it happened. No mention of either to the Grand Jury.

    Now I am not going to defend Jerry Sandusky but lets wait to see what the courts decide before we hang anyone.

    You Greg should know better than anyone… Never rush to judgement and never get tried by the press!

    • Greg

      Agent X,
      You make a good point. I am not really talking about a trial here I am talking about what is the right thing to do. You have a person come forward years ago that witnesses a child rape. It not happens in a Peen State football locker room shower. The alleged crime is reportedly done my a coach who worked for Paterno. Paterno gets paid to lead. He is an Icon. Paterno doesn’t have to ask his boss permission to do the right thing and call the police to report a crime. Then, let the courts work. If that call would have been made way back when, the legal system would have performed its job and many other little boys would not have been raped by that monster. If convicted, I hope he goes to a penitentiary with full contact with other inmates. Thank you for your comment you do make good legal and ethical points.

      • Oldguy

        I caught a snippit on the news that contradics agent X’s statement that he campus police were not informed. The snippet stated that a 5000 word report was found in the campus police records.

        The problem in the U.S. is worshiping celebrities as Gods. As I’ve said before, Actors are pretenders who play the part of heroes, but they are not heroes. Sports players are good at sports, but they are not heroes. Politicians are not heroes, but many are crooks. They all sit on the pot and grunt much as I do. As Martin Luther said:”…by their character”. Hooray for your statement about kicking butt. I can’t wait and watch a merciless beating…or a sodomizing. At a time like that, I become a citizen cop. God bless you,

        • Agent X

          Greg and Oldguy,

          My point is that this story keeps changing from one day to another. That includes the finding of this report. We all need to step back and allow our legal system to work without the Fifth Estate or internet screwballs and lawyers mucking it up. Many reporters today are not like the ones I grew up with. Most editors today do not care about facts, all they care about is who beats whom to the press. Lawyers? If they have their face in the camera they are in it for one thing…themselves… The Internet muckrakers? They have become the new wild west show…

          The point is that no one really knows what the truth here is and we should not judge anyone yet. What should have happened is that all those involved should have been suspended until a formal investigation was completed. Not fired! That is legal horse-hockey for limiting the colleges liabilities. truly BS in my book…

  25. Tom


    I find it completely laughable for Kunstler, an avowed atheist, to be complaining about this problem. This is the kind of stuff a no-God society produces. So, STFU Kunstler, and enjoy the fruits of your screwed-up atheistic beliefs.

    • Greg

      Valid point, but I though the post was insightful no matter who wrote it.

  26. Tom

    I don’t think many people outside of PA know how loved and respected Joe Paterno is. People around here are still stunned and searching for answers. The initial reaction concerning Paterno was similiar as if someone told you you’re beloved grandfather did this. It was virtually impossible to believe. We don’t know all the facts, and they seem to be changing on a daily basis. It is a shame that Sandusky is able to hide behind Paterno. We are still hoping for some explanation that will salvage Paterno’s reputation. There is no way to accept it if someone knowingly allowed this heinous activity to continue.

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