Friday, September 26, 2014

The Coarseness Of Our Discourse

     I have been very disappointed with the enervated state of public debate in this country. Whether that debate is engaged in by politicians, cable talking heads, or average citizens on social media, the devolution of debate from an intellectual pursuit to acrimony has accelerated over the last decade. During that period, as Leftist thought has grasped tighter around the throat of civilization, many citizens have been inculcated with the tools of invective and insult as a replacement for any critical thinking skills.
     Respond to any Face Book post that contradicts the main thread and you will find yourself on the receiving end of the dulled intellect of those who can not process any reasoned challenge to their belief system. The well thought out beliefs of our Founders have been replaced by an almost rabid religious ideology bordering on extremism. I just finished reading Lynne Cheney's biography on James Madison. One thing that struck me about the Father of the Constitution was his ability to change his thinking on a subject when it made sense to do so.
     In today's modern political climate, for instance, extreme conservatism has lead some to travel around the political circle to a location which occupies the opposite position of conservatism. The mode of travel for these misguided souls is modern Libertarianism. The modern practitioners of this political ideology do not believe in limited government, but no government. They do not believe in Rule of Law, but rule of their interpretation of law and their "right" to disobey any edict from government that does not comport.
     Our debate has become populated with people speaking into the narrow chamber of ignorance. It is ignorance of the political system designed by our Founders, and the current disposition of that system. For instance, some say that congress is too powerful. But the road to tyranny is not paved with laws passed by congress, but rather the laws congress has passed to create the unaccountable bureaucracies that do make laws. It is because the federal government has become too powerful in the average citizen's life that some citizens think it should be completely neutered.
     It is the coarseness of political thought encouraged by an ignorance of our founding that has lead some to vociferously defend a position of didactic weakness as it relates to our republican form of government so precious to the Founders. It is a mitigation of principle, and not the passionate devotion to a higher ideal, that coarsens debate. And it is exemplified by the all inclusive statement. The all inclusive statement says "All politicians are corrupt" or "All cops are thugs."  These sorts of statements are meant to inflame passions, but little else. Their total inclusivity precludes real solutions because of the sweeping nature of their pronouncements.
     In this great nation, formed by thoughtful debate, I feel we can reach a higher plain of public discourse than we have seen in recent times. We must throw off the cloak of anonymity afforded us by our modern age and return to civil discourse born of critical thought and reason. No great society has long existed on devotion to its emotions over discernment, and the visceral reaction of ideology over the continued thirst for knowledge.

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