By Marc Abear
American liberalism is being forced to radicalize. It has moved towards socialism and an increasingly post-modern form of leadership. Our youngest generation is openly embracing socialism. Identity politics with its faith in race, sex, and power as the keys to being and meaning is rising.
The #MeToo movement adopted the credo, “Believe the woman.” That is accepting truth will emerge from yielding to the will of the more politically correct “Her truth,” which is stronger than any objective truth. It rejects the adversarial process of objectively weighing evidence and testimony before the bar of reason. That is a pretty fundamental change from where America started; from where we were after the Civil War.
America is increasingly torn between two rival constitutions, two cultures, two ways of life. Political scientists talk about the differences between normal politics and regime politics. Normal politics take place within a political and constitutional order. It concerns means, not ends; said slightly differently, the ends or principles are agreed upon; debate is over how to get there.
Regime politics is about who rules and for what ends or principles. Regime politics questions the nature of the political system itself. Who has rights? Which ones? Who gets to vote? What do we honor or revere together as a people? America may be leaving the world of normal politics and entering the world of regime politics. Our politics is becoming a place where our loyalties increasingly diverge. This last happened in the 1850s when two contrary visions for the country failed to peacefully reconcile.
One current vision is based on the original Constitution as amended. The U.S. Constitution is grounded in the natural rights of the Declaration of Independence. It articulates how we will implement our values and principles. It has been transmitted to us with history. It is still recognizably close to the original document. Today this is often called “the conservative Constitution.” Certainly conservatives have never agreed perfectly on its meaning and there are some non-conservatives who see value in it and remain loyal to it.
The other vision is based on what Progressives and Leftists call “the living Constitution.” This term implies that the original Constitution is dead. It posits that in order to remain relevant, the original Constitution must be infused with new meaning and new ends. It declines to recognize further use of the amending process contained in the original constitution. Therefore new duties, rights, and powers must be defined, recognized and granted by extra –constitutional means. New administrative agencies must be created to circumvent the structural limitations that the original Constitution imposed on government.
The radicalization of American liberalism is driving the division we are experiencing. Academia and the media are advocating the view that holding no static values or principles is desirable. The Democrat performance during the Kavanaugh nomination process is an illustration of what life will be like under a government which adopts and implements this Leftist approach.
The time is likely coming when we will decide again whether we love life, freedom, property rights, due process and the rule of law… or not. It is probably worthwhile to think about such things occasionally as we drift Left. Like the old United Mine Workers Harlan County organizing song asks, “Which side are you on?” There very well may come a time when there will be no neutrals here.