Why are we so politically polarized?

Ah, so you want to know why. Here’s the list (not intended to be a full and complete list):

  1. Repeated disregard for the Constitution by office holders,
  2. Heightened racial tensions that have erupted in violence,
  3. Shriveling respect for religious freedom,
  4. The growing habit of using the judiciary rather than the legislature to change public policy.

[Source: The Political Theorist Behind Today’s Identity Politics, by Jerome Foss]

Personally, I blame the identity politics practiced by Barack Hussein Obama and his kindred spirits. But, did Obama think this up all on his own? Frankly, he strikes me as lacking the intelligence. Obama plays by certain rule books: the Saul Alinsky “rule book,” for one. [Most of the following is extracted from the Foss article] But few Americans are familiar with the late Harvard University political theorist John Rawls. Many in academia consider Rawls the most important American political thinker of the 20th century.

The framework many Americans use when considering or discussing elections, laws, and public policies has been shaped by Rawls’ thought. Americans should know about Rawls, because the way he would have us approach politics has been widely adopted, particularly by those on the left but also—often unwittingly—by many on the right. His influence has less to do with particular policies than it does with a systematic way of viewing constitutional government.

Rawls saw freedom as being good only to the extent that it does not lead to great inequalities of opportunity and wealth. That doesn’t sound so bad, but how does one do that? The answer is: The government, and specifically the judiciary, must take up the job of protecting “proportionality.” If 13.2% of one’s employs are not African American then, clearly, that person or organization is “biased” or “racist.” (Does any of this sound familiar: Bernie Sanders? Karl Marx? Friedrich Engels? Hillary Clinton?) 

The judiciary, including the Supreme Court, must view people not as Americans or individuals with rights, but as subgroups with particular identities associated with their race, class, or gender. In this way Rawls’ theory encourages identity politics, especially on the part of judges. I highly recommend that you read Thomas Sowell’s book, “Knowledge and Decisions” to gain a fuller understanding of just how pervasive this “thought” has become.

Rawls also asked the Supreme Court to base its decisions on “fairness,” rather than the written text of the Constitution. Normally, if the court is asked to decide whether a law is constitutional it looks to the specific powers listed in the Constitution. Rawls asked that it decide instead whether the law is motivated by a sincere desire to make things more equal and fair.

Our current political situation revolves around rule of identity politics, political correctness, and judicial activism. We didn’t get here by accident. When one trots out the term “fairness” whatever follows the term “must be the proper thing to do.” The problem is that the one does not follow the other. It is against human nature. The Soviets tried having doctors and bus drivers get the same salary. It didn’t work – I mean IT REALLY DIDN’T WORK! (Footnote)

Rugged Individualism is a dead concept. But I will persist in the hopes that it will rekindle as Americans see that Rawl’s concepts will lead to an ever greater lessening of what America once was.

Roy Filly

Footnote: The following only applies to the late Soviet period (from the Thaw to Glasnost) and is painting with a broad, generalized brush. Since it was ideologically a worker’s state, the USSR heavily controlled wages for its citizens and these wage scales favored blue-collar professionals. For example, according to Eaton’s figures, a general practitioner in the 1980s drew a monthly salary of 130 Rubles, which was more than an orderly, but less than a typical bus driver’s salary.

Would you go to medical school or “bus driver school?”


About Roy Filly

Please read my first blog in which I describe myself and my goals.
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9 Responses to Why are we so politically polarized?

  1. Anne Malcolm says:

    I would add to your list the expansion of the administrative state in which federal and state agencies are now legislating via “regulations” with real criminal penalties.

  2. Starchild says:

    Collectivists of ALL stripes, often including those in power, view people not as individuals with rights, but as subgroups with particular identities associated with their race, class, gender, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.

    There, fixed that for you! 🙂

  3. Starchild says:

    Nationalism is probably the most pervasive form of “identity politics” in the world today.

  4. Roy Filly says:

    Except that “nationalism” joins us together while “Black v White,””Woman v Man,” “Gay v Straight” all divide us.

    • Starchild says:

      Huh? Nationalism most definitely divides us! It pits people against each other on the basis of where they live, which government claims jurisdiction over them, and/or with which country they identify. Sometimes people are hated just based on which country the person who hates them associates them with, even if they have personally done nothing to merit the hatred.

      • Roy Filly says:

        Identity politics as practiced by the Democrat Party is meant to divide people in OUR nation. I am not talking about Japan or Great Britain. The people to whom I refer ALL LIVE IN THE USA. Ergo, nationalism would unite us.

      • Starchild says:

        Sure Roy, just like feminism unites women (aka “people in OUR gender” if you’re female), “Black Lives Matter” unites black people (aka “people in OUR race” if you’re black), etc. One can always characterize an agenda as uniting rather than dividing by simply excluding from consideration all of the people from whom one is dividing oneself!

      • Roy Filly says:

        That’s your weakest argument yet. The Democrat Party doesn’t pit blacks against blacks or women against women.

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