Opinion » Rhetoric & Reason

An intellectual chasm



Some decades past, I encountered a book titled The Nine Nations of North America, which categorized Americans by region, social mores, political values, and customs. Today, Americans are "Balkanized" to a degree never envisioned by the founders. The political and social divides, while not necessarily determined by region, seem comparable to the fiery 1850s pre-Civil War rhetoric that led to war by the end of that decade.

What's different today is that state legal authority is more organized and better able to control passions. A "John Brown" would find it extremely difficult to raise a private army and attack towns or successfully conduct terrorist raids against political opponents for more than a week without being apprehended or killed. That's a good thing, but it's also a bad thing if that power is ever turned against ordinary citizens who simply exercise traditionally accepted rights of speech, religious worship, or political affiliation as happened a century ago.

During WWI, President Woodrow Wilson (Progressive-Democrat) closed newspapers and routinely jailed political opponents to his war policies under the guise of Sedition Acts that included speech within private homes, subsequently reported to local authorities (some were sentenced to long prison sentences). Eventually Americans rejected Wilson's overreach and rewarded his political opponents with electoral victories. However, I fear we are returning to another era of progressive tyranny.

The Trump election campaign evoked visceral hatred among his opponents, not in small measure due to his inflammatory rhetoric and the personal insults he routinely used against opponents. Conversely, traditional conservatives objecting to Trump's style are immediately attacked by Trump's hard-core supporters and equally despised by progressive/liberals for supporting his policies, if not his rhetoric. It's very hard for principled conservatives to intellectually engage with either side on a host of issues without being branded with multiple epithets. Many of us increasingly find ourselves political/social outcasts, and it's not just in America.

Australians just gave a political victory to its conservative party despite polls indicating a progressive victory. Many Australians are tired of being vilified for holding "politically incorrect" views and likely lied to pollsters while rejecting a radical climate change agenda and other socially progressive policies. They voted for jobs and social stability over a decidedly urbane, elitist political agenda that would have devastated the economic/social stability most working and middle-class voters rely upon. America experienced this with Trump's election in 2016, but the left seems even more determined to crush any resistance to their "progressive agenda."

Examples abound, such as the House passage on May 17 of the "Equality Act," which sounds benign but destroys women's rights in sports, privacy, and potentially small businesses. The act would enshrine in civil rights law gender identity, thereby imposing radical changes to fundamental social relationships in society. Standing for traditional views of sexual morality would become illegal, as it is in Canada, and impose a new sexual orthodoxy.

This has alarmed Christian churches, which hold to traditional interpretations of biblical values which until now have been protected under the First Amendment's religious protection clause. The Equality Act exposes every religious denomination/faith with criminal and civil prosecution if it doesn't adopt policies contrary to their statements of faith in accordance with those approved by the government.

Feminists are equally alarmed as stated in an article within "Real Clear Politics" by Natasha Chart, chairperson of the Women's Liberation Front. She said, "Under [the Equality Act] men and boys [identifying as women and girls] will take away women's small business grants, spots on sports teams ... be permitted to live in women's domestic violence shelters ... locker rooms." Young women working for years in competitive sports are being side-lined as biological males identifying as female are capturing championships and accompanying scholarships to the detriment of biological females. So much for Title IX, as the Equality Act will enshrine all of this in federal civil rights law.

On a host of issues, hardened attitudes are suppressing reasonable debate. Try rationally discussing climate change, and one side will yawn and the other brand you a "denier" unworthy of response regardless of evidence or severe economic consequences. The mass media often rush to accept any report predicting disaster, uncritically applauding political initiatives to "save the planet" (regardless of economic/social cost), while omitting contrary information or deliberately exaggerating the urgency.

For example, The Guardian of London has directed staff to no longer reference "climate change" but substitute "climate crisis" or "climate emergency" and "global heating" be substituted for "global warming" in stories.

Progressive-Democrat policies are jeopardizing America's economic future, undermining the very social fabric of the nation, and demanding opponents be silenced. Will you let them? Δ

Al Fonzi is an Army lieutenant colonel of military intelligence who had a 35-year military career. Send comments through the editor at clanham@newtimesslo.com.

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