Unite or Divide Americans (2022 Oct)

by Barry A. Liebling

In an effort to boost Democratic party prospects for the 2022 Midterm Elections and for the 2024 Presidential race, President Biden has delivered a series of inflammatory speeches. The general theme is his accusation that former President Trump, his supporters, MAGA Republicans, and citizens not on board with the progressive leftist agenda are inimical to the America that Biden wants, are a “threat to democracy,” and are “semi-fascists.”

The strategy behind the communication is the expectation that his rantings will energize the Democratic base to vote, and it will convince some Independents and Republicans that they will suffer a catastrophe unless they cast their ballots for Democrats.

Many critics of President Biden remark that he promised during his 2020 campaign to reduce divisiveness and bring the country together. They complain that his talk and actions are doing the opposite – leading to increased polarization, stigmatizing a large proportion of Americans, and fueling general discord.

Pull back and consider the promise to bring Americans together. What could it mean and how might it be accomplished?

Americans are fundamentally and bitterly split on how the country should proceed. The faction that is in the dominant position is the progressive leftists. Major cultural institutions (education from elementary school through graduate school, the entertainment industry, the mainstream media, the largest corporations including but not limited to high technology firms, philanthropic organizations with large endowments, government employees in local, state, and federal agencies) are largely under their control, and leftists intend to keep the power they have and extend it.

American leftists have many rival cliques that bicker with one another, but they agree on major principles. The government should direct and supervise the lives of citizens. Following the neo-Marxist playbook the focus is on groups rather than individuals. Some favored groups are labeled as oppressed and must be given every consideration. And for every oppressed group that deserves to be pampered there is an oppressor group that ought to be punished, shamed, and forced to apologize in perpetuity for ruining the world. As any observer of woke dogma knows, straight white males are the worst of the oppressors.

According to the leftist mindset, how could Americans become united? The short answer is that it cannot be done and should not be attempted. Note well that if people accept the fallacious Marxist premise that society consists of various types of oppressed people being abused by oppressors, endless conflict and mutual rancor is guaranteed. Members of the oppressed groups are instructed to despise their so-called tormenters, and those labeled by the woke elite as oppressors can either surrender and become consumed with self-loathing or resent the slanderous accusation and fight back when they can. In this scenario the only way Americans can be united is for the oppressors to be completely vanquished.

So what is the interpretation of Biden’s “reduce divisiveness” campaign slogan? His speech writers were either not paying attention to reality or they were deliberately trying to mislead Americans that mutual good feelings is possible in a woke America.

There is an opposing faction to the ruling elite, the Americans who are repelled by the intentions and behavior of progressive leftists. But those who do not buy-in to woke propaganda are not all motivated by the same ideals. Most of them sense that there is something fundamentally toxic in leftist policies, but do not articulate exactly where the flaws are or what the correct solution is.

Some – and hopefully the number will rapidly increase – understand that the best aspects of Enlightenment philosophy provides guidance on how American society can flourish. Here are some key points. Individualism has to be embraced and defended. Each person (including yourself) should be judged according to the person’s thoughts and actions. This means collective identity counts for nothing. It is the sentiment behind Martin Luther King’s famous quote that the content of your character should be important but not the color of your skin. Note that it is also the reasoning behind the phrase “all men are created equal.” And think of the statue of Lady Justice where she holds scales and is deliberately blindfolded so she will not take into consideration the group membership of people she is judging.

If you understand and appreciate Enlightenment-inspired individualism you will see that it is incompatible with the “identity politics” being pushed by Democrats onto Americans today. Make up your mind. Are you and everyone else a potentially rational human being responsible for your actions? Alternatively, are you a component of various collectives (think race, gender, sexual orientation, and more to come) where your status is determined by how many victim groups you can claim to be part of?

A strong feature of individualism is that each person has exactly the same natural rights as everyone else. Through voluntary actions people have the opportunity to get along well with one another, and in the right environment most usually do. Of course, there will always be disagreements between citizens. We live in the real world. But unlike the leftist identity-politics dystopia, conflicts are not mandatory, inevitable, and permanent. People are not supposed to despise one another.

Do you want to live in an America where the default is benevolent relations, where interpersonal antagonism sometimes occurs but is viewed as unfortunate and in-principle correctable? Or should America surrender to the woke, collectivist crowd that slanders a large segment of citizens as oppressors and works to bring about their demise? The answer should be obvious.

*** See other entries at AlertMindPublishing.com in “Monthly Columns.” ***

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