To The Daily Sun,
A recent article by Bill Dawson of Northfield caught my eye. He effectively argues for moderation and pragmatism in this era of political dogmatism. You don't see these discussions anymore. You can look it up and read it by going online and searching for "Dawson" in the letters section.
All the political movements of humans have been distilled down to two impulses — left and right. The left is concerned mostly with the details of determining what the tribe wants. The right is concerned mostly with the details of how to administer and roll out those plans.
History reveals how one impulse or the other is favored. Ancient human tribes favored the right in order to survive. Severe threats, like wild animals, food shortages, and warring tribes (the others — foreigners), for example, had to be dealt with under strict terms. As a result, royalty and chiefs of various sorts possessed ultimate, dictatorial powers.
Then the Renaissance happened. America was one of its chief exports. American politics were differentiated from our European forebears in one critical aspect: Americans looked into the future for guidance while the Europeans continued to rely on the glories of the past. For the first time in history, the new politics of the left (futurist progressives) and the traditional right were allowed to clash in public — with stunning results. The best impulses of the left and right were married into a unique form of governance. Over time, the result was an era in post-World War II that is seen by many as the greatest civilization ever to emerge on the face of this planet. In that time, if you were labelled as a political moderate, you were considered to be a reasonable adult (i.e., a "square") who could successfully, if not artfully, juggle left and right impulses. In summary, American wisdom, also called American pragmatism, dictates that left and right impulses share equal standing.
So what happened?
Moderates are out. "Squishes" and "Pigs" are in. We are now broken because the traditional American contract of left/right inclusion has been shattered.
The result of great success brings with it great power and wealth. Those same ingredients have infected our politicians, who have migrated to championing only one impulse at the expense of the other. In few cases over the past 50 years have politicians remembered their contractual obligations to implement the "will of the people." Governance has become akin to a high school football game. You literally root for one impulse or the other. The new objective lies in achieving the will of the left/right political parties — not the American people.
You want to make America great again? Then force your elected officials to abide by American wisdom. You have to insist that they honor the contract with wisdom and that they work together pragmatically. Professional politicians espousing and enacting only left or right programs do vast harm to the very forces we actually need to make this country what most baby boomers recall as the greatest show on Earth.
Paul B. Utiger
- Category: Letters
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