The hyperpartisan is ruining America | Opinion

Historically speaking, dogma and cultural progress are antitheses par excellence. When our moral and aesthetic concerns are “expressed in absolute terms and, at the same time, designed for special purposes on special occasions,” as the late historian Theodore Draper wrote in his book The roots of American communism, morals, public discourse and the arts are unleashed.

Right now, we are arguably in the most hyper-partisan period in US history. The part of our culture that has deteriorated the most because of this is public discourse, which is now beset by the irrationality and banalities of dogmatic ideology – attributes that are found in abundance among progressive as among conservatives. If one were to list all the possible examples of thwarting public discourse on both sides, it would take endless columns to cover.

Christianity in Europe, from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance, consisted largely of dogmatism. Western culture did not fully collapse, and other important aspects of it, like arts and literature, flourished, but salient parts of it were subjected to stunting and loss of life. deep regression.

Philosophy and science made very little progress during this period – it is no wonder that Aristotle was the benchmark on these two issues until Galileo’s discoveries in the Renaissance. The same goes for public discourse – the Roman inquisitors viewed Galileo as a heretic for his findings and forced him to denounce his findings, ultimately forcing him to be under house arrest for the rest of his life. Any behavior or ideas expressed that did not correspond to canonical Christianity during this period were mostly greeted with cruelty, credulity and absolutism. And because of this, public discourse, philosophy, and science have mostly stalled for 2,000 years.

To give an example of today’s political left, consider the case of Meghan Murphy, who was permanently banned from Twitter for tweeting “men are not women”. One can, in good faith, question whether or not such a statement was appropriate or moral. There is a reasonable discussion to be had about the ethics of transgender abuse. For my part, I am opposed to intentional gender abuse because it is clearly an unnecessary disrespect. And to the extent that Murphy intended to abuse transgender people – which it actually is – she is wrong.

What cannot be discussed in good faith is whether or not such a statement justifies being permanently banned from a platform that regularly houses operatives of ISIS, the Taliban and al- Qaeda, who literally abuse and murder women and LGBTQ + people. As Caitlin Flanagan implicitly mentioned in her recent column in Atlantic, it seems that progressives are more interested in pronouns, political expediency and blitzes on somewhat “problematic” personalities than in real human rights. And part of the problem, too, is that such attacks are often mixed with other attacks on genuinely morally objectionable figures: Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump and groups like the Proud Boys, who are true racists, sexists and predators.

Detained protesters are led to the police station by bus at the end of protest marches against racism and presidential election issues, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 4, 2020.
KEREM YUCEL / AFP via Getty Images

Murphy isn’t even in the same dimension as them, but America’s public discourse has collapsed so much that she and countless others are routinely equated with equivalent immorality. Countless completely unfounded ideas – like the idea that racism and white supremacy are at their worst in American history today – go unchecked because those who subscribe to them agree with them before they agree. ask if they are true or not.

On the political right, anti-vaccination propaganda is impenetrable to public health officials – and anyone for that matter. The hysteria we hear from the right is so pernicious that now we have intensive care units filling up with people dying from COVID-19, who still refuse to be vaccinated even as they take their last breath. The deeply vague notion of “personal freedom” seems to be the dogmatic hill on which these people are too willing to die. But any honest discussion of the concepts of liberty or personal liberty must be reinforced by the fact that such notions are much more complicated than saying, “I can do whatever I want, and whatever keeps me from doing it.” is tyranny.

Meanwhile, many on the right mistakenly believe that Donald Trump is still the ‘real’ president, that the LGBTQ + community (especially trans people) is somehow trying to undermine ‘Western values’ when in reality they are simply acquires freedoms and that racism has been eradicated for decades, although such views often emanate from the mouths of overt racists. For people who believe in these ideas, their importance is paramount and there is no way to convince them otherwise. In other words, the certainty in which dogmatists hold on to their ideas is as strong as your present credulity in the idea that you are, indeed, reading. News week—that is, their conviction is unequivocal. Moreover, hyperpartisanship is a self-sustaining phenomenon – rhetoric from the left amplifies rhetoric from the right and vice versa.

We have to notice from history that when public discourse deteriorates, quite often the society in which it occurs falls into the abyss with it. According to Friedrich Nietzsche, 19th-century German culture faced many of the same challenges as American culture today. Specifically, Nietzsche alluded to the fact that German culture had lost its true interest in ideas and free examination and replaced it with blinding power and absolutist cultural designations, such as anti-Semitism. In contrast, all serious matters, such as unfettered education, were “dominated by indecent haste.”

A major cultural collapse in Germany inevitably followed this state of affairs in the 20th century. I doubt America will turn to anything close to Nazi Germany if our public discourse continues to crumble; however, what could happen – the details of which are uncertain – will surely be the end of what we call “American culture.” When much of the country cannot speak to each other for political reasons – as it is in America today – cultural collapse becomes inevitable.

Daniel Lehewych is a graduate student of philosophy at CUNY Graduate Center, specializing in moral psychology, ethics and philosophy of mind. He is a freelance writer, powerlifter, and health science enthusiast.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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