As we approach the Fourth of July, Americans remain deeply divided. But those divisions are not political. They are religious.
On one side, there is a political party operating as a millenarian religious movement –clinging to long-discredited beliefs, obsessed with sex, afraid of science, determined to impose its bizarre views on others, and insisting that the government must control every hidden corner of private life.
On the other side are the Republicans.
Broadly, the Republican Party is concerned about governance. That is why, for example, repealing and replacing Obamacare is taking so long. The Republican leadership in Washington seems genuinely concerned about passing something that works.
Most are also afraid of criticism from the media and a backlash from voters. But those fears relate to the challenge of governance, because they acknowledge the accountability mechanisms of our system.
Democrats had few such qualms when they passed Obamacare in 2010, which was a leap of faith. The Democratic Party is often called the “party of government.” But aside from representing public sector unions, Democrats do not care about governing — at least, not anymore. To them, power is the means to achieve a kind of secular salvation: a placid world where all are equal, all needs are met, and all are validated — something like John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
Many Democrats accept that the methods they use to achieve their utopia may be harsh, even violent. The ends justify the means.
Thus it was fine to strip health insurance from millions of people under Obamacare — even if, according to the argument Democrats are now using to attack Republican health care proposals, that meant “killing” those people. Losing elections, and losing millions, were necessary sacrifices to bring Paradise that much closer.
Another example: earlier this year, in Los Angeles, Democrat Mayor Eric Garcetti participated in an illegal protest that blocked flights from LAX. It might seem odd that a big-city mayor — whose voice plays constantly in announcements over the airport’s PA system — would want to irritate residents and annoy visitors. Yet his point was to posture with radicals on the basis of a spurious constitutional claim (that was just tossed by the Supreme Court).
Governance must yield to other priorities for Democrats. Things like budgets and borders are the preoccupations of the mundane, unenlightened petty-bourgeoisie. For the faithful who have had the religious experience of becoming “woke,” the real question is the kind of world they want to create, rather than the immediate problems of the human beings living in it.
The two parties are not clashing: they are talking past each other, and only seem to be arguing.
President Donald Trump has accused Democrats on Capitol Hill of “obstruction.” Barack Obama once had the same complaint about Republicans. But something different is happening now. Under Obama, Republicans provided an opposition. Against Trump, Democrats are mounting a “Resistance.”
In extremis, that means taking up arms. For most Democrats, “resistance” means denying Trump’s legitimacy and denouncing the heresy of his supporters.
This is not quite, as Dennis Prager suggests, a civil war. It is a religious schism.
Democrats think Republicans are the religious nuts, because of the party’s stance on social issues. But even the Bible prescribes family values for reasons that are, at least in part, practical. “Honor your father and your mother,” the Bible says (Exodus 20:12), “in order that your days be lengthened on the land that the Lord, your God, is giving you” (emphasis added, obviously).
Republicans believe that faith and traditional values help individuals live more fulfilling lives in an orderly society. Democrats substitute the government for God — or, like Nancy Pelosi, seem to confuse the two. They have their own internal divisions, between leftists who want the state to do everything and those who simply want to tear it down along with every other institution. But both reject America’s founding idea of God-given individual liberty.
The country seems to be tearing itself apart. But we can manage these divisions. American has been a religiously pluralistic society since the colonial era, thanks in part to the general separation of church and state.
The way to deal with Democrats’ fanaticism is to describe it as what it is: a fundamentalist religious faith. Let them indulge their beliefs, and tolerate their mostly harmless ideals.
But keep them as far away from political power as possible.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.