Recently I received criticism from some Facebook friends over my last blog post, entitled “America’s Broken Covenant with God.” The criticisms centered around the fact that in the opening paragraph I appeared to be criticizing the Republican Party, but said nothing about the Democrats. Did I honestly think that the Democrats were free of blame for the current mess we’re in?
In this highly charged political atmosphere it is a matter of “be careful, little tongue, what you say.” But my intention was not to criticize any particular political party. Rather, it was to draw attention to the fact that there is an oath contained in the Declaration of Independence, and that that oath obligated us to do something. We, collectively as a nation, have failed to honor our sworn obligation. I also pointed out, at least indirectly, that the critical decisions affecting our daily lives are often made by the U.S. Supreme Court, not elected politicians. The Regents’ Prayer Case was decided in 1962. Eight presidents have come and gone since then, Republican and Democrat alike; and yet the Court’s decision still stands, and we live in a radically secularized culture as a result.
There is a political process, however, and it does involve political parties. And in the “culture wars” of the past forty or fifty years the Democratic Party has played a conspicuous role. It has been at the forefront in attacking Judeo-Christian morality, and it is hard to exonerate it from guilt in all the adverse cultural changes that have taken place during that period. It is a sorry chapter in American history.
At first it was somewhat understandable. The Civil Rights struggle of the early ‘60’s exposed the racial injustice in the nation. Then came the controversial Viet Nam War that inspired massive anti-war protests. The manifold injustices of American were patent; the calls for reform were urgent.
There was, however, a huge problem. While it was obvious what was wrong in America, it was not so obvious how to make it right. The problem, in a nutshell, was secularism. Most of the protest demonstrations took place on the campuses of large state universities, and the educational programs of these universities were largely secular. A protest against injustice necessarily involves a value system. But what was the value system, and where did it come from? The problem with the “Movement” of the ‘60’s was that it was not rooted in any well-defined system of morality. Everyone was quick to say what was false; but no one could say what was true.
Some intellectuals turned to the writings of the Existentialist philosophers such as Sartre or Camus. Others turned to Neo-Marxists such as Fromm or Marcuse. But all of these were secular authors, and most of them were frankly atheists.
Matters came to a head in the summer of 1968. Lyndon Johnson had been in office for five years, and even though he had signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and had launched the War on Poverty, his reputation was severely damaged by the War in Viet Nam. Johnson announced that he would not seek reelection; Vice-President Hubert Humphrey became his heir-apparent as the establishment candidate. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were both assassinated. Race riots filled the streets. The Democrats that year held their convention in Chicago. Outside there were violent confrontations between protesters and police. Humphrey won the nomination but went on to lose the election to Richard M. Nixon.
The nation was bitterly divided, and a whole generation of young people came to reject the values of their parents. The women’s movement gained momentum. And the Democratic Party underwent a transformation. Previously controlled by career politicians, most of them white men, it was now taken over by the younger activists. In 1972 the party nominated George McGovern with the support of the young activists. McGovern lost the election, but the “New Democrats” remained in control of the party.
Much of the ideology of the “liberal” or “progressive” Democrats is driven by radical feminism. It is rooted in an Existentialist philosophy that says that we exist as concrete, autonomous individuals and should be free to define our own “essence,” or self-identity. For a woman that means that she should not have to conform to a gender role imposed on her by society. “Women’s Liberation” means freedom from external constraints, and “reproductive freedom” means freedom to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
But what is good for the goose is good for the gander. By logical extension shouldn’t all human beings be free to define themselves as they wish? What about homosexuals? What about transgender people? What about the husband who just wants to watch football on TV and drink beer all day long, and let his wife do the dishes? And who should have to stay married if someone younger and better looking comes along? Shouldn’t we each be allowed to pursue our own self-destiny? If all the different life-styles should be treated equally and without discrimination, who is required to do anything? And so today we have men married to men, women in combat roles in the military, and self-identified transgender people free to use the public restrooms of their choice.
The agenda of the modern Democratic Party, however, is unsustainable. It is based on false premises, viz., that there are no innate psychological differences between men and women, and that homosexuals are just born that way. And it leads to disastrous results: social chaos. Human society functions on a male / female dynamic. When that dynamic breaks down, human society ceases to function. In the absence of social norms, civilization collapses. What we are witnessing today is nothing less than the self-destruction of Western society.
Most of the destructive ideas that have eroded the stability of American society in recent decades have come from the New Left and the counter-culture of the ‘60’s, and have been introduced into the mainstream of American life through the Democratic Party. Frankly, what the Democratic Party has to offer the American people is nothing less than downright nihilism, and eventually it will lead to an authoritarian reaction. We shudder to think of what that might be. As Cicero one said during the declining years of the Roman republic, “O tempora, O mores!” (“Oh the times, oh the manners!”).