Democrats, Progressives, and the Intentional Fracturing of America

Politics of division is as old as the Greek city-states (if not as old as human civilization), but the unique tendency of the modern Democratic party to sow discord and envy among Americans is a disturbing trend that deserves more attention.

The pope and Vatican often talk about promoting “solidarity between peoples”. Sowing discord and envy between segments of people is surely the opposite of this.

While not equating Democrats with the Occupy Wall Street movement, can anyone, for instance, ignore the similarity between their mantra of the 99% against the 1% and President Obama’s own insistence that wealthy Americans (i.e., those earning more than $250k a year) “pay their fair share”?

The examples of this class warfare sort of rhetoric are myriad, but Thomas Edsall at the New York Times does a good job of highlighting one aspect of the Democrat Party’s intention to completely write-off a whole “class” of Americans in the 2012 race, namely, white working class Americans (predominantly males):

For decades, Democrats have suffered continuous and increasingly severe losses among white voters. But preparations by Democratic operatives for the 2012 election make it clear for the first time that the party will explicitly abandon the white working class.

All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.

The entire article is worth reading, and I could comment on many of the points that Edsall makes, but instead I’d like to point out the clear harm that results when a political party largely decides to advocate for one segment of Americans even if that advocacy disadvantages the other segment.

Conservatives believe that their ideas and policies are good not just for one “set” or “class” of people, but for all people in a civil society. It’s pretty evident, however, that progressive policies which may temporarily advantage one group of people directly effect another group adversely, and that even the individual groups in such a system end up being harmed themselves as well.

Take, for instance, the breakdown of a marriage culture among those who are less educated and less wealthy. Efforts to redefine marriage and to further weaken it come primarily from wealthy, highly-educated Americans. And yet, paradoxically, these advocates of breaking down the marriage culture themselves are more likely to live in intact marriages. It is the poor and less educated who are most harmed by their broken (and absent) marriage experience.

I think it’s fairly obvious how efforts to redistribute wealth hurt individuals whose money is taken from them. But what is harder to grasp is how money, when taken from the wealthy, tends to go towards government bureaucracy and waste, instead of directly to people who would benefit from receving it. That’s the genius of private charity – it allows money and resources to pass from those who have much to those who have little without having to pass by a whole string of intermediary persons and institutions which take their “fair” share.

A fascinating (and as yet un-answered) question remains about how Democrats and progressives who promote pro-abortion and anti-family policies will fare among their Latino support base which is strongly pro-life and pro-family.

I could go on, but I hope I’ve piqued your interest enough to read Edsall’s piece for yourself.

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7 thoughts on “Democrats, Progressives, and the Intentional Fracturing of America

  1. Kevin J. says:

    Family breakdown functions to advance the party interests of the professional class in two ways:

    1. It undermines the political strength of opponents in the other party. How many Republicans can get involved in politics when they or their close family members are trying to raise kids without a father?

    2. It undermines the political strength of opponents *within* the professionals’ own party. Poor Democrats without strong families can’t work to advance their own interests within the party.

    It’s not even a “conspiracy,” libertine professionals just happen to rise to the top in a time of cultural breakdown. They proselytize for their destructive views, then use the destruction as a justification for more power for the professional class.

  2. Christine252525 says:

    I would like to attempt to explain how difficult it is to be people of faith who are trying to make our way as a family with young children. My husband’s income is steady (praise God!) but small and not increasing. Promotions are hard to come by and haven’t come our way yet. I work from home part-time to try to make ends meet but still be the primary caretaker of our little ones. I feel like the deck is stacked against us, and while I hope things will improve, this is the hardest financial time I have ever seen. Paying off our student loans with two incomes was nothing compared to clothing and feeding our children on just over one.

    If my husband made 1/5 of what the rich Americans you mentioned above (who make over $250,000), we would be sitting pretty. Even a couple thousand dollars extra a year would allow us to meet our expenses and have money to put into savings. We make too much to qualify for government assistance and too little to get ahead. I hear a lot of talk about the tax burden for rich or middle class America, and I feel left out. What about all the families just starting out that are lower middle class? The government would do society a great service to help those young families along.

    1. Joe M says:

      Christine. There is a contradiction in your appeal. You say that you are waiting for a raise in wages. How do you think it would affect your wages to increase taxes on the people and companies that decide what your wages will be? The government can take the money via taxes and give you a one time check for $1000 (such as what Obama seems to be suggesting). However, the consequence will be that you, or someone else like you will wait an additional year for a wage increase. Or, perhaps, your neighbor won’t have a job at all. Or, the prices you pay for goods that you need will be incrementally raised. — Taxing the rich taxes the poor as well.

  3. tz1 says:

    I could counter with the list of “non-negotiables” and that the GOP often writes off the entire African American community and much of the hispanic. Any or all policies will favor one person over another. Managed trade policies favor destroying US factories and their jobs. Easy credit and deregulating fraud favors creating bubbles. Bailouts create moral hazard and favor those who have destroyed their institutions. And many of those have been done by “conservatives”. Anything beyond minimalist government will create division and an attempt to game the system for or against one group or another.

    “Conservatives believe that their ideas and policies are good not just for one “set” or “class” of people, but for all people in a civil society”. Yes, they believe in Big Nanny government, but more Mommie Dearest than Mary Poppins. Conservatives are for war and imposing their beliefs at the point of a gun, both here and abroad. Argumentum ad balaculum.

    How is a conservative’s desire to shove their views down people’s throats they have their jackboot on any different than the progressives equally hubris stained view that they are entitled do exactly the same thing so because they are right and it is for the patients own good?

    That should be a key distinction. The moment you think your position allows you to use coercion to impose it upon those unwilling, you are just another dictator. And most if not all dictators believe they are benevolent, whether of the right or left.

    I believe Liberty and the rule of law is not merely good but fundamental, the virtue for the civil society upon which any other must be built. The only thing I would impose is a civil peace – no violence, stealing, vandalism, or fraud. I am then free to demonstrate, argue, educate, support and promote all those virtues, ideas, and policies which I consider good for every individual in society, in a civil manner. The state enforces my right to speak, but equally someone else’s right to speak or not to listen.

    In a fair and open forum, the truth will win. Wisdom trumps foolishness. Knowledge destroys ignorance. Love destroys hate. Virtue can conquer vice. Perhaps not consistently or completely, but better an honorable and magnanimous partial victory than a total but evil one.

    1. Joe M says:

      tz1. The highest concentrations of blacks and hispanics are areas with some of the most liberal government in our country. Can you point to how those liberal governments have served those communities well?

  4. GREG SMITH says:

    Dear Tom ~ Actually the liberal case right now is that the, given the current crisis and in fact, Republican initiatives which would negatively impact many of us, do “…temporarily advantage one group of people directly effect another group adversely,..” A common explanation as to why middle class Americans vote for candidates who favor he upper class is that we are, by nature, optimists and believe that if we work hard enough, we will accede to the upper class. Today, however that optimism just isn’t validated by reality. Middle class income growth has stagnated while that of the most affluent has increased exponentially. ~ Pax tecum, Greg ~

    1. Joe M says:

      Greg. The problem with this argument is that when someone in a middle class income bracket finds a way to make more money (getting a career job after college for example), they get counted in the affluent income bracket. In other words, the difference you refer to simply means that people who succeed are doing so to greater degrees than they used to. Other statistics demonstrate that the majority of people move up to the higher income brackets at some point in their lives. You’re counting college kids and retirees in the lower income brackets as if those are people who should be making the same incomes as veteran professionals in the middle of their careers. It’s also assuming that those college kids won’t some day make more or that the retirees didn’t have higher incomes during their career days.

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