During the Los Angeles riots of 1992, Rodney King famously asked, “Can’t we all just get along?” The answer should be an easy and unequivocal “yes,” but it seems less and less likely these days.
King was speaking in term of race, but the same could be said of political ideology. Liberals, conservatives and every other point on the political spectrum used to co-exist fairly easily (with the exception of left-wing anarchists who don’t get along with anyone). But these days détente has given way to anger and open hostility.
Some, not all, people have become less civil to those with whom they disagree politically. The modern left, birthed with the start of the eugenics-loving, racist progressive movement at the turn of the 20th century, always has embraced, to varying degrees, the concept of silencing opponents. Through the factions of communism, socialism and fascism (all takes on the same philosophy), leftists have made continuous attempts to silence and punish anyone who doesn’t toe their line.
President Woodrow Wilson, a progressive hero, made it illegal to speak German in this country and, in the Sedition Act of 1917, outlawed the use of “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” against the government, flag or military. Wilson’s rabid racism and implementation of segregationist policies in the federal government are routinely ignored by progressives today. But they are all too real and did enormous and lasting damage to our nation.
But that was (and still is) what progressives stood for. They were the elites, the smartest the nation had to offer. And, as such, it was up to them to “improve” the world through government action. They were white, so blacks were inferior. They were smart, so anyone they deemed not to be was inferior, and so on. They believed certain “undesirable” people should be sterilized and thus bred out of existence.
Those deemed worthy or necessary to be allowed to continue to exist would be ruled by them because they, the progressives, quite simply knew better what people needed than the people themselves. Constitution be damned, they were “progressing” the human race.
Although their tactics have changed over time, their motivation and ultimate desires haven’t – they want control and don’t care who or what they destroy to get it.
Fast-forward to today. Progressives are in the process of seizing control of the health care system. Regulations and laws are making more and more businesses effective wards of the state functioning in the ever-narrowing window of what’s left of the free-market.
But it’s not just economics. The sentiments behind President Wilson’s Sedition Act are alive and well. They’re no longer embedded in government; they’ve moved to the media and academia. Speech codes limit not only the words students can use but their ability to express thoughts and opinions progressives deem unworthy. Progressive media outlets frame opposition to President Obama as racist in the hopes of scaring critics into silence.
Now this disparate world view and loyalty to ideology over country/liberty/reality is metastasizing into more places it will damage beyond repair.
Union workers voluntarily have driven Hostess out of business. Seems they’d rather have no pay than less pay, no pension over a restructured one. They commit economic suicide, and pampered, over-paid union bosses such as Richard Trumka blame the Bain Capitals of the world.
Even on something as serious as the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, progressives aren’t interested in facts. Calls for truth-seeking are met with cries of racism because UN Ambassador Susan Rice, the sacrificial lamb the president sent out to lie for him, happened to be black. These progressives are not remotely interested in why Rice lied to the American people about what happened that sad night, nor do they care about being lied to themselves. They care about their agenda. Lying to the contemptible masses is acceptable and encouraged because the unwashed masses don’t know what’s best for themselves anyway.
This “progressive” attitude toward reality is now amplified by the web of social media, which empowers the spread of their fact-lacking desires to once-unheard drones who parrot it unquestioned to the world. Like a cold virus on a plane, it spreads. The truth, or even a desire to find it (as in the case of Benghazi), immediately butts up against a wall of willful ignorance built by a left-wing industrial complex of moneyed interests and true believers. No amount of contradictory evidence can convince them what actually is if they wish it not to be.
The right has its own version of this suborn, wishfully ignorant army. But it is smaller with much less funding. The reason this hive-mindset doesn’t translate to the right is we are not all of like minds. Priorities to one conservative are not priorities to another. Diversity of opinion not only exists on the political right, it is encouraged. Nothing less would be accepted from a philosophy based on the individual.
The progressive left doesn’t suffer from intellectual diversity. In spite of its penchant for bumper stickers calling for questioning of authority, celebrating diversity and “tolerance,” progressives tolerate deviation from their prescribed norm like Hamas would tolerate the suggestion they observe Rosh Hashanah. That’s why there’s so little dissent from anything its leaders propose. No group of nearly 200 clear-thinking individuals who swore an oath to the Constitution and hoped to sway a majority of Americans to their cause would ever elect a radical San Francisco leftist their leader, yet Nancy Pelosi…
When Rodney King asked his famous question, we really could have all gotten along. But the intervening years saw the rejection of a liberal, almost moderate, left and the rebirth of a philosophy spawned from hatred and division with the sole goal of control. Although a great many Americans support this goal, the wool has been pulled over the eyes of many more who’ve been fooled into thinking liberty is a chip to be bartered for a crumb of pie rather than the key to making your own.
I opt against trading my liberty to sing kumbaya with those who seek to impose upon me that which I do not want because they deem it in my best interest. Our president can bow to anyone he wants, but I will no bow to him, nor will I bow to his ideological brethren. I will not bow to anyone. We can all get along, but as long as my opponents seek to deny me any of my liberty, I choose not to.
Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.