Two irreconcilable Americas—and only one can rule

Ferg writes the below in response to the thread, “America sundered,” which was posted this past Monday, but feels like weeks ago. His comment forms such a complete thought that I’m posting it in its own entry:

It used to be (or at least seemed to be) that liberals and conservatives both wanted essentially the same things for America and Americans. Truman, JFK, and LBJ all wanted to keep the U.S. strong and free of foreign domination. They wanted the people to be healthy, happy, and the nation to be strong and prosperous. All the same things that conservative Republicans wanted. Where they disagreed was on methods. We all wanted our children to be well educated and to do well in life. The question was always how best to achieve this. We wanted to be free of crime and its costs. How best to attain that goal? LBJ said it was by supporting the underprivileged with welfare so they would not need to commit crimes. Many saw this as enlightened self interest. Time has proved that policy to be a disaster. But at the time it was implemented, many otherwise conservative people thought it made sense. Keep the crime off my back and I am better off. Of course crime has skyrocketed instead. And little has been done to repeal these policies. But, they were instituted for a greater common good.

When the McGovern wing of the Democratic Party came to control the national party apparatus, things changed. Over time it became apparent that their goals were not the same as ours. It was no longer a question of method, but of ultimate aims. We still wanted our children well educated, they did not. We still wanted the U.S. to be the most powerful nation on earth, they did not. We still wanted the U.S. to be free and prosperous, they did not. They gave us Jimmy Carter and we got our first taste of what their new goals were. Bill Clinton carried the ball further, and now Obama is heading for the end zone. What they now want is not the preservation of the U.S. as the greatest and freest nation, but rather its integration into an international whole where it will be no greater or wealthier than any other. They want us to live under the same rules as everyone else, even though the U.S. was founded explicitly so we did NOT HAVE to live under the same rules as everybody else.

These two views of the future of the American Republic are not reconcilable. Unlike differing views on methods, there are no common grounds here from which compromise may emerge. Only conflict and bitterness can come from these deeply differing views of what America should be, indeed must be. They hate us for our desire to remain strong and free, thereby thwarting their need to have us merged into the whole of humanity. We despise them for their submission to statist tyranny and economic mediocrity. And we despise them for their lack of moral fiber and willingness to take responsibility for their own actions and choices. We hate their lying ways, and their self aggrandizement. There is no compromise out of this, one side or the other must triumph and rule. It can only be us if we recognize the fundamental nature of the differences between us, and that they have declared war on us. We can do no less in return if we hope to prevail.

- end of initial entry -

LA to Ferg:

I’ve just prepared this and posted it in draft form and will post probably over the weekend. Though I’m not sure that Holy Saturday and Easter are the time for such troubling political messages as this.

On second thought, maybe Holy Saturday is an appropriate time after all: America as we knew it—America as a country united on essentials as you describe—has been crucified and laid in the grave, and has to be resurrected!

Ferg replies:

Good analogy! Our weather bids to be fair for a beautiful Easter,
hope yours does as well.

Robert Bove writes:

He is risen! Happy Easter to you in advance.

Ferg gets very close to the truth, though I would qualify it by saying there was a drop-off in Democratic and Republican commitment to American principles after Truman. Perhaps it was the distraction of unprecedented prosperity—or the fully realized mass-market (and micro-market) potential of television. Maybe it was the choke-hold Dewey-style “education” achieved in public schools. That is, turning every grade unto post-graduate level into kindergarten.

It took Reagan and a brilliant supporting cast of conservatives to pick up the ball from Goldwater and bring back much of the Republican party to those principles, and with it huge majorities of voters who adhered to the principles Ferg succinctly enumerates.

But, alas, that was then, which is why we are in dire straits right now. There’s a lot to be grateful for regarding the Republican Congressional resurgence in 1994 and W.’s election in 2000. But let’s face it, neither of them understood the statist adversary as clearly as Reagan did, that Progressivists were a significant force at all levels of power in this country before Truman. Reagan had a longer memory than his successors in Congress and the White House, and he spent far longer in a real wilderness doing his homework than either Gingrich or W. I can’t fault the latter two beyond what they deserve: The two of them didn’t have to spend so much time at such a distance as Reagan did from the American political center stage because of Reagan’s success.

The plain fact is, government and unionization of government workers inexorably grew throughout this whole period to the point where we now find ourselves: the total number of union membership within government is greater than without. That is, we now have a mammoth permanent government which answers to no one but itself. Our representatives merely manage a government that only knows how to grow into every sector of life. And, vis the stratospheric national debt, they manage very very badly.

Do We the People rein this creature in before it collapses? If not, what then?

That said, Ferg pretty much nails our quandary. More succinctly than I just have.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 03, 2010 11:00 AM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):