ANDY SCHMOOKLER - NVD

Schmookler

America’s crisis is systemic. By which I mean that the way the Conservative part of America has developed is connected with the way the Liberal part of America has developed, because they are in interaction with each other and influencing each other.

More specifically, if Liberal America had not been so weak, the Force of Brokenness that has taken over Conservative America would never have been able to grow so strong.

In countless columns here, I’ve illustrated how the force that has taken over Conservative America has been working — increasingly aggressively -- to break up what’s good in our nation. Given our two-party system, that inescapably meant that it would fall to Liberal America to protect the nation.

Here, I will offer my understanding of what defects in Liberal America have contributed to its inability to protect the nation adequately from the destructive force that’s hijacked Conservative America.

An aversion to conflict

In Liberal America, there’s a general reluctance to choose the path of combat. In part, it is the result of a genuinely held set of values in which goodwill and cooperation are paramount. In part, it is the result of a lack of “stomach” for the battle.

There are many circumstances in which the world benefits from the liberals’ orientation toward working cooperatively and in good faith with people on “the other side.” But when the other side has no interest in a cooperative outcome, and does not operate in good faith, the contemporary liberal fear of fighting can be disastrous for the world.

(This fear of fighting is not intrinsic to liberalism — FDR would have had no difficulty taking on the necessary battle — but rather has taken hold of the Democratic Party during my lifetime.)

One needs a repertoire of behavioral options to fit diverse circumstances. And Liberal America has been very slow to develop an alternative to working with their “friends across the aisle,” when the other side of the aisle has become inflamed with enmity.

Confusion about the profound reality of 'value'

In Liberal America, a confusion of understanding about matters of Good and Evil, right and wrong, has weakened its ability to stand up to a Force of Brokenness.

On the one hand, liberal culture has genuine values. On the other hand, that culture has absorbed some notions from some philosophies of the past century according to which only what is “objective” is real, and whatever is grounded in lived experience is dismissed as “merely subjective,” and less than real.

(I’ve had students, even Bible-believing students, say things like “What the Nazis did at Auschwitz isn’t what I would have done. But what they did was according to their values, and so it was right for them.”)

The notion that moral judgments are mere matters of opinion, and that one cannot justifiably declare something as simply wrong, weakens a culture’s moral passions.

Such a tentative and tepid commitment to the idea of the Good is a serious handicap in the face of a political party that is being taken over by a Force of Brokenness, becoming willing to trample on whatever gets in the way of its drive for power. That moral confusion led Liberal America to stand aside as the supporters of the conservative party were being misled into mistaking the Evil for the Good.

Indeed, Liberal America has been encumbered with a worldview in which there is no place for “Evil” -- i.e. for a Force that consistently acts in ways that makes things worse. So when the other side gets taken over by “a coherent force that consistently spreads a pattern of brokenness” which is how I define “Evil” -- Liberal America will be incapable of recognizing what it’s up against. (And thus how the battle must be fought.)

Not seeing things whole

In my lifetime, there’s been a change in American intellectual culture -- which is an important part of liberal culture. While I was getting educated – in the 50s and 60s – there were some Big Picture perspectives on the human world that had widespread followings among thinkers. Now, there’s nothing comparable, nor is there even a market for such integrative understandings. The picture now is piece by piece.

That has disabled Liberal America from perceiving broader patterns. And seeing how the once-respectable Republican Party was being transformed required putting the specific pieces in “today’s news” together to perceive the larger picture.

Repeatedly, over the past 17 years, I’ve asked liberal audiences, “What do we call something that…” and then I provided a list, with items like:

• takes from the poor to give to the rich;

• divides groups of people against each other;

• prefers conflict to cooperation;

• deals consistently in lies; etc.

Without seeing things whole, one can’t see that “coherent force,” nor how it “consistently spreads a pattern of brokenness.”

It’s said in baseball, “You can’t hit what you can’t see.” And Liberal America — disabled from its habits of fragmented thinking — has failed to “see” the Force that’s taken over the political right, and consequently has been unable to “hit” it as the nation has required.

Liberal America – with its heart in the right place, but weakened by these forms of brokenness – has proved a feeble protector of the nation from the destructive force that’s overtaken the right.

Andy Schmookler is a prize-winning author. Many of his works can be found at www.ABetterHumanStory.org.

(5) comments

BeetleJuice

[yawn] I have de-bunked Andy using his own analogy:

takes from the poor to give to the rich: Brandon wants to cancel student further enriching wealthier whites since blacks don't go to college at the same rate

• divides groups of people against each other: How is that defunding the police working out? Not polling too well lately, is it?

• prefers conflict to cooperation; Maxine Waters “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

• deals consistently in lies; etc.: This is more difficult since Brandon's handlers won't let him talk unless he is in front of a teleprompter. You can only hide and lie about dementia for so long.

Valleynative

De-bunking that President Biden wants to defund police. https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisakim/2022/02/03/biden-the-answer-is-not-to-defund-the-police/?sh=4d44fc5d6736

Valleynative

prefers conflict to cooperation; Marjorie Taylor Greene posted on her candidate Facebook page in September 2020 an image of herself holding a gun alongside images of Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. The caption encouraged going on the "offense against these socialists". Want to talk about comments by Stephen King?

dreamcrusher

Again Andy, you have an objective source but reject it.

Andy Schmookler

Dreamcrusher, once again you refuse to deal with what I'm showing on its own terms. This is an analysis of the way a certain part of the American culture has developed. I am a person with more than a half century of practicing such cultural analysis. I presented a picture of a part of our cultural dynamic that has brought us to this dark time -- when Conservative America went dark and Liberal America grew weak, a disastrous one-two combo to American culture.

You don't seem to be open to hearing a piece of cultural interpretation, because there is something else you INSIST is the only way of relating to our reality. Let me say, whether the Bible is the word of God or not, there is also room for the human mind to be able to comprehend some of the complex dynamics that are clearly at work in the world.

At the very least, dreamcrusher, you owe it to the public, and to me -- if you are going to charge in here with that "you have an objective source but reject it"-- to lay out your case so that it can be evaluated. If you see something clearly, SAY IT.

I see something clearly enough to want to present it, which is what I did here. Is there some reason you don't buy the picture I've painted?

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