In my last post, I argued that the true divide in America today is not political in the sense of Left vs Right, but in the sense of right vs wrong. If I am correct, that leaves us with a rather unsettling question: if we are divided along the line of right vs wrong, then what common ground is there to be found around which these two sides can unite?
To me, this is not a flippant question. If this nation is divided between people who truly believe Man can create morality and people who believe that God defines righteousness, then where can we find a common ground around which both sides can unite and live in harmony? I propose that no such common ground exists because it cannot exist.
If we want to try to look at this question from a ‘neutral’ perspective, we might try to look at it from the position of the classic Libertarian icon, Ayn Rand. She argued that each person is a sovereign unto themselves. This is the problem with those who think Man is his own god: it leaves each person to define what is right and what is wrong. Now, in Rand’s case, she argued that right and wrong are defined by encroachment on the rights and liberties of other people, and that the limits of these rights can be discovered through ‘reason.’ On the surface, this would appear to be very similar to the philosophy of our Founding Fathers, just without the necessity for a Creator. But that is the catch: Rand has a creator in her philosophy — herself! And, if she is the creator of what she determines to be the limits of right and wrong, then she is — essentially — declaring herself to be her own god. So, where does Rand find common ground with other libertarians when each of them — following her example — thinks they are their own god? There is none, and this is precisely why the Libertarian model does not and cannot work.
But this is also the same inherent flaw in the ideal of the American Left: it does not work because it cannot work, and for the very same reason Rand’s ideal cannot work. Since the American Left has discarded the Creator and declared that Man is his own god, then every individual Leftists thinks they are their own god, as well. yet, it would appear that the American Left has managed to succeed where Rand has failed. Why?
Well, the American Left created an ideal that does not have the same restraint that Rand imposed upon herself. Because Rand believed that we should respect each other, she refused to encroach upon the rights and liberties of other people. The American Left has no such restraint. Furthermore, Rand recognized the individual and reason. Here again, the Left only appeals to the individual and reason when it suits its purpose. The moment they are no longer necessary, the American Left will discard them and revert to the central goal of its ideal — acquiring power for the sake of exercising that power.
Now, bring that part of American society which still holds to some belief in the Bible, or to the rule of law as prescribed by the Constitution into this equation. Where do these people find common ground with the American Left? When the Left sees no master but whoever has managed to seize and enforce their own power, how do people who see the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or the U.S. Constitution as the ultimate source of authority live in peaceful coexistence with the Left? Especially when the Left’s goal is to force everyone to conform to its dictates, while the goal of the American Right is largely centered around the preservation of individual rights and liberty? These are two diametrically opposing ideals, so we have to conflicting agendas. They cannot coexist anymore than matter and antimatter. One must either destroy the other, or they will cancel each other out, leaving nothing but a void in their place.
This has been the history of humanity. The NAZI’s and Communists of the 1930’s were — at least in theory — ideological allies. Yet they saw each other as mortal enemies. Likewise, the Left and Right wing of the American Progressive movement see each other as mortal enemies. At the same time, both the Fascists and the Communists of 1930’s Europe saw the Western democracies as mortal enemies, and sought to destroy them at the same time they fought to destroy each other. This same divide exists in America, today. The American Left contains the Left and Right wing of the Progressive movement, but, at the same time, the Progressive movement sees the religious and Constitutional ‘Conservatives’ as its enemy. So, just as this lead to conflict in Europe, it will lead to conflict in the U.S.. It must. There can be no other outcome — at least, not as long as human nature remains as it is. But then, there is yet another problem:
The American Left believes it can create a utopia by redesigning human nature.
So, how do people who refuse to be re-programmed live in harmony with people who have made it their life’s purpose to re-program the world? And how do the religious live in peace with those who think Man is his own god, and that all must worship at the alter of government? And how do Constitutionalists live in peace with people who believe they can make up the rules as they go along. Where is the ‘common ground’ around which everyone can unite and live in peace?