I remain politically uncomfortable as a voter in the United States two-party system.
I find the Democratic party to be too married to (and increasingly comprising) so-called “Social Justice Warriors” whose oversimple morality and intellectual laziness is often counterproductive to the real search for justice, which hangs on an object whose nature has been debated in diverse philosophical and ethics literatures for thousands of years. These to the exclusion of those that are concerned with the more world-critical problems of environmental and social systems and state, of wealth distribution and inequality, of the administration of society and the provision of a social safety net. Today’s Democratic party reminds me far too much of the mobs of campus twenty-somethings that are on the rove today in search of “microaggressions” to denounce.
Meanwhile, the Republican party is simply infantile and petulant. In theory, there ought to be something to the notion that there is much to be lauded and conserved in civilization and society, and thus, something to the notion of conservatism itself, with the practicable question being just what the proper threshold is in each dimension and on each issue. But in fact the Republican party seems to have fallen victim to an even more oversimple morality and even more slothful forms of intellectual laziness, and has become little more than a club of malcontents who identify with one another based on a few now pat “positions” that are in truth mere contrarian slogans, bizarre fantasies about the blissful human past, and petulant pokes at those who aren’t members of the club.
Who, meanwhile, is going to focus on matters of state and society, of environment and progress, of resource distribution and allocation, of the general administration of the social apparatus?
Nobody. Nobody is sincerely discussing, much less selling, such questions and issues to the electorate as primary or even as meaningful. It appears that the electorate has no appetite (or perhaps no knowledge) of these things that, in fact, inform the natures their future lives far more than others. Democracy has become impotent because the citizen has in general become blind to the very existence of the polis as an conceptualizable object.
Meanwhile, voters like me hold loosely to the Democratic party for lack of a better practicable alternative, wishing all the while that someone would try to actually steer this boat and keep it from taking on water. But for the moment, the task of the day appears to be for the passengers on the boat to organize themselves into cliques and to denounce one another for their manners, habits, prejudices, and affiliations.
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Punditry, analysis, and public discourse have become similarly inane.
There was a time when we could hear Christopher Hitchens debate William F. Buckley, Jr. Whatever one thought of the ideas, the debate was nuanced, historical, and stimulating.
Now we are stuck with the likes of Charles Krauthammer and Kristina vanden Heuvel, who are both equal parts pious and facile.