Why we’re all not just going to get along any time soon.
In the last couple of weeks, it has become visibly apparent that we are in the midst of a great moral and political crisis in this country. It is beginning to become known as America’s Second Civil War. The best expression of this is Dennis Prager’s column in Real Clear Politics in January, but there is a growing chorus as well.
It’s a meme that can’t be ignored.
Is there any civility left in national politics? The answer seems to be no. While Trump’s address to the joint session of Congress reached out to the opposition and had an optimistic and unifying theme, almost all Democrats sat stone-faced, refusing to applaud even such seemingly obvious ideas as the president being the President of the United States, not the world.
The differences have come to light in the Democrat’s all-out, scorched-earth, total war opposition to President Donald Trump. The depth of the opposition led by Congressional leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi is unprecedented. But it is now new.
Democrats have also begun to disrupt the town halls of Republican legislators. Sites such as Indivisible and The Resistance tell them how to organize and local Democrat party cells carry it out.
What has caused this outpouring of hate, anger, and vitriol? To say, “They lost” in November is certainly correct as a significant event but the conflict has been boiling for years.
In the last eight years, the country has seen a federal government run centrally from the White House, uniformly implementing the policies of the left—and reducing the freedoms that Americans have traditionally taken for granted. In a mounting federal debt, unemployment and the weakest recovery since the Great Depression, Americans have felt the effects of that leftist agenda. But it goes deeper than mere policy.
The differences between left and right in America go to core beliefs and principles.
“Without any important value held in common, how can there be unity between left and non-left? Obviously, there cannot.” – Dennis Prager.
The left believes in the collective good; that the end justifies the means; that sacrificing some for the benefit of others is acceptable and moral. They believe in a utopian ideal society free of want and of absolute equality. That no one person deserves more than another and if someone has more, he must have stolen it from the collective. They believe in the coercive power of government to enforce their beliefs—either subtly, by “nudging” us in the “right” direction or more forcefully, through fines and imprisonment. They do not advocate a death penalty—yet—but their views on abortion and assisted suicide show they hold no great value on human life. They are postmodern in their rejection of absolute truths and reason, relying instead on feelings.
Probably few who vote Democrat are aware of these bedrock philosophical beliefs. The hard left will argue policy or the “unequal” effects of policy but will not—dare not—argue for their ideology.
It’s not a traditional American set of beliefs. That’s why they didn’t stand for President Trump’s speech. It was not so much pique as a silent endorsement of their true principles.
On the right, we believe almost precisely the opposite.
The American belief system is grounded in Judeo-Christian morals and values: in the value of each individual human being as a child of God—actually mentioned by the president in his speech—and that the proper relationship between the people and the government is that the government belongs to the people, and not vice versa. The proper role of government is to protect the rights of the people, not to define them. We believe that we are free, under the law, to pursue life, liberty and property as we see fit, unencumbered by excessive government meddling—and that we, rather than the collective, have first claim to the fruits of our labor. We are modern in our reliance on reason and even pre-modern in our faith in a divine providence that created and orders the universe.
Each side believes they are right; that the other side is not only wrong but immoral. The conflict will not end until one side wins and the other loses. There is no other resolution.
Both sides wage their war with religious fervor. This is significant, because the left has always been anti-religion. Their leftist ideology fills the void.
Who will win? Predicting the future is difficult. The left hit a high-water mark in 2008; they’ve been losing ground ever since. Their recent stubborn, heel-dragging opposition is backfiring. Republicans are already tired of it; even some rank-and-file Democrats aren’t sure. Independents don’t like it by a 30-point margin in a recent poll.
Like a petulant child throwing sand in a sandbox, all they’re accomplishing is getting sand all over themselves.
But don’t count them out yet and don’t expect them to stop any time soon. It’s in their nature to be disenchanted with the way things are because after all, things are not perfect. It’s also in their nature to project that discontent and spread their anger. Not only is it who they are, it’s how they advance their cause. First they make us miserable, then they offer us “hope ‘n’ change,” like the pitch man on the radio who introduces us to an intractable problem we never knew we had and then offers us a “proven” solution. Free to the first 50 callers.
Yet the only thing proven about their secular progressive solutions is that they don’t work and that they are, in fact, the cause of our discontent.