As I think more about this article I wonder if this writer spends much time around people who differ ideologically from one another. As libertarian-leaning traditional Catholic I can, with good will, talk to anyone about anything. I may view someone sadly mistaken if he believes people can change their sex, that the government has the authority to define marriage, or that babies can be killed at the will of their mothers. But I don’t hate them and we can be civil to each other and find common ground on other matters. I don’t want to argue with people in every conversation I have. But the common, non-elite Democrats (such as some of my relatives) cannot talk In a civil manner with me. They don’t care to hear what I say about anything. I am objectified from the get-go simply because of my faith. Everything I say is suspect no matter the topic of conversation. The common people, not just elites are causing the division. And this includes my left-leaning relatives.
This is what I was thinking as well. I can get along with the liberals around me (and I consider myself far more of a libertarian than a conservative) only by not trying to discuss anything that doesn’t agree with their sociopolitical beliefs. They absolutely will not tolerate listening to anything they don’t agree with and are not willing to entertain ideas that disagree with them. These people are all around me, not elites. At times I feel like I’m living the life of a Marrano.
Yes I agree. Sad to say but one side is intolerant, and the other is not. Most to the right that I know are willing and happy to have debate and watch people engage in debate. But on the left you find so many people who are trying to get Tucker off the air, or to say hey Twitter, you shouldn’t allow this person. In so many ways they are trying to deny the ability to speak for people they dislike, and viewpoints they dislike.
Furthermore they are eager to maintain problems that have largely been solved. At the very least they want to ignore progress. They don’t want to hear about most people being ok with interracial marriage. They want to pretend white supremacy is hiding under every bed. Same thing with gay marriage. They are eager to maintain these problems, and to deny progress.
This article implies the same thing Biden and Hillary mean when they say the people of the USA should unite: that if everyone would just agree with the Democrat platform and ideology everyone will get along just fine. And that is the problem. Democrats leave no room for anyone who honestly and reasonably disagrees with their ideas. On all the topics this author lists on which the majority of Americans agree (with the exception of inter-racial marriage) are ideologies Democrats push forward. They don’t want us to unite as Americans working to make life good for all Americans no matter ideological differences. They want people to unite as Democrats. And this includes non-elite everyday ordinary Americans who align with the Democrat ideas.
Excellent point (I had the same reaction). I suspect the author would profit from reading Charles Kessler’s “Crisis of the two Constitutions” – the fault lines are real, and relate to two camps with starkly different understandings of the Good, the Good Life and what leads to human flourishing.
The author focuses on racism, attitudes toward “lifestyle” and abortion, rather than the separation of powers, protection of natural rights of ALL citizens and the evisceração of the middle classes etc.
Not the same article I read, which was balanced between right and left.
Agreed Harry. The others can’t see that they’re obsessively looking for disagreement on specific points just for the sake of it, instead of engaging with the principle being discussed.
Defund the Swamp. This is a Government Jobs issue with grotesquely overpaid government employees trying to hang on to their positions and find jobs for their friends.
Academia has told them that they are supposed to rule over others and left them with huge debt. They have created an opaque Blue Bubble to protect that fantasy that is drifting toward insanity as viewed from the outside. Psychological Projection is universal and invisible to occupants of the Blue Bubble.
Academia is the new Planter Class. Instead of living on the stolen labor of slaves they are living on the stolen future labor of indebted students.
Defund the Swamp.
The article just seems like a tally showing the collapse of conservatism in the U.S more than anything else. You’re seemingly saying there won’t be a civil war because the American right has essentially vanished and been replaced with 90s progressives.
No, he’s saying the middle is much bigger than either extreme. The problem is that nowhere does it have a voice, either in the MSM, social media, or politics.
Agreed. There’s a type of article today that boils down to “can’t we just all agree on the friendly 1990’s liberalism and leave the divisive stuff out of it?” What it forgets is that the “friendly 1990’s liberalism” wasn’t friendly at all at the time. 90’s liberals called people who disagreed with them racists, bigots, haters, sexists, and Nazis, just like today’s liberals do.
As Patrick Deenen says, we’re not living through some kind of aberration from Enlightenment liberalism but its logical conclusion. Liberationist ideologies can never be content with any victory; they must always strive for more. The 1990’s “how will your neighbor’s gay marriage affect you?” liberalism beget the 2020’s “you misgendered me and must die!” In another generation, the liberals will arguing for pedophilia, and there will be writers who will say “even conservatives now agree that a woman can have a p*nis” (pretty sure Unherd’s censor filters will flag it if I spell it). That’s not progress; it’s surrender.
We must not have read the same article. She says nothing of the kind, and is quite balanced between both “sides.”
Civil wars break out when one group concludes that the current system is so stacked against them that only direct action will bring change. I would argue that the Democratic Party and Left in general in the US is so abjectly corrupt and power hungry that they are getting near to pushing the other side in to coming to that conclusion.
The vast majority of the MSM is supportive of the Democrats. News outlet such as MSNBC, CNN, NPR, NBC, the New York Times are partisan to the extent of being effectively media arms of the Democratic Party. The Republicans have Fox, the New York Post and a few others, but the vast majority of the news media in the US functions to protect and promote the Democrats and to attack the Republicans. If these publications limited them self to the partisan reporting of facts, that would be bearable. But in these publications , grossly unfair distortion and outright lies have become their daily fare.
The US has seen a massive expansion of government There are now more Americans employed by government than by the entire manufacturing sector. Government employees are overwhelmingly Democrat supporters, especially in Washington. It has become clear that institutions such as the Department of Justice have been captured by a permanent bureaucracy of partisan Democrats, who have been using their positions to protect Democrats and attack Republicans. The revelations about the Department of Justice’s complicity in the Trump/Russia conspiracy hoax are shocking.
Not content with having the MSM sown us, allowing Democrats to tell the most blatant lies with impunity, and having the “Deep State” working for them regardless of which party is in power, the Democrats now seek to be more direct in rigging the system in their favour. They talk of ending the Fillibuster to pack the Supreme Court with Democrats and to force through federal voting reform which removes all protections against voter fraud and makes corrupt practices such as ballet harvesting lawful. The borders are thrown wide open to import millions more natural Democrat voters, while natural conservatives such as Cubans are returned to face retribution from the Communists.
Republicans/conservatives face a wall of lying, deceitful, partisan media . Even if they win, they face a “Deep State” that will actively try to stop any policy initiatives being implemented, and will actively seek to undermine a Republican president. The Democrats open the borders to flood the country with people to vote for them and then seeks to fix the election law to make election to remove protections against ineligible voters from voting and other fraud. The education system completely captured by the Left who are determined to indoctrinate children from the cradle to hate their country, their history and their culture.
Given the above all that it is easy to see Republicans/conservatives increasingly coming to the obvious conclusion that system is so corrupt and weighted against them, that is defunct and only direct action can affect change. If it happens, the Democrats and the Left will only have themselves to blame; they will have pushed people to it.
Thank you. You mirror my exact thoughts. The Democrat party is setting the stage for authoritarian takeover. Heck, they’ve even seized the MyPillow man. I may be wrong, but I think things are really going to blow up in November.
This article reminds me that America’s problems are not the UK’s problems. The irony is that the same people emphasising the need to recognise diversity don’t realise that many of these issues are specific to a city or state, let alone a country. Unfortunately, many journalists, marketing teams and politicians forget this.
Hello, Mr. Write. Yes I agree. But many Brits forget that the UK is a unitary government whereas the US is a Federal government. There are fifty little countries with their own rules and regulations under the Federal umbrella. A life sentence in one state may mean 25 years and in another, 65 years. This simply compounds the problems. It would be far easier to solve problems in the UK than it would be in the United States.
“Divisiveness in politics is a shortcut — a workaround to actually having to deliver the promises you make your constituents.”
This is the second similar opinion I’ve read but I think it’s more wishful than realistic. Every institution has been infiltrated and anti white racism is on the rise. They are making us the other so that their treachery will be justified. The mid terms will see if we give them a run for their money and save the republic. And btw, most old type republicans are more to blame for this situation because they gave up the culture war without a fight. They were utterly worthless.
On the whole, I think that this is a useful article. The author might underestimate the degree of polarization among ordinary people, but her point about who and what fosters polarization–notably academics, politicians, journalists and twitterers–is well taken.
Before the rise of Hitler, most Germans were not foaming at the mouth about Jews. In fact, many were marrying Jews. For over a century, Jews had been increasingly hopeful, with good reason, of full integration into German society. It took the equivalent of an eruption on Mt. Vesuvius to reverse history. It didn’t take long for state-sponsored hatred to turn Jews (and others) first into segregated pariahs and then into the victims of mass murder. I’m not saying that Americans on either side of their own conflict are hoping for mass murder. But hatred is a catchy disease. Once it takes hold, it’s hard to cure.
I doubt that even civil war is likely in the American future. Apart from any other reason, the two sides are not as conveniently divided geographically as the North and South were. It’s true that there’s an obvious division between the two coasts and the hinterland, but that hinterland is much more fragmented than either coast; most of its cities are no less “blue” than coastal cities. What might well be in the American future, the near future, is general chaos.
Good parallel there.
Not an American, but for me this article mostly misses the mark. Why wouldn’t you start off by quoting Hillary Clinton, of all people, wishing for another opportunity such as 9/11. Tech companies are spending billions to divide people and the author says this is not working. They have infinite money from investors that they must then appease and access to the highest levels of government. Reflection comes from the opinion of an MSNBC employee. Seems to be working to me. Now let’s pretend and reinforce the idea that everything is about skin colour, sexual preference and abortion law. Look, there’s Hitler again!
They tell me the same thing over and over: we don’t have the luxury of hating co-workers who vote for the other party.
“Luxury of hating co-workers”. Is that really the first thing on peoples minds during ‘normal times’, the cohesive practice of wanting to hate your co-workers?! Rather than say debating and agreeing to disagree, or otherwise, if an impasse is reached. The words used in this piece, it’s like a BS bingo of ‘liberal’ hate words. The article seems to argue against the prospect of civil war by stoking its fires.
Every time you hate a stranger on the internet, someone makes money.
It does not need be hating a stranger. All it takes for more clicks and more time spent if to upset people. With that I will now move on.
The research on civil wars seems to suggest that they come as a surprise even to the ordinary people committing the atrocities.
One day, you’re complementing your neighbor on his new F150 Lightning and the next you’re running over his dead body in the front yard with his wife tied up in the back and his stolen Glock on the seat next to you.
Atrocities are not the behavior of most people but tide-shifting events of history are not created by most people; they are created by the outliers, the remarkable and outrageous events that we remember as being pivotal.
Thank You for this: “They oppose abortion bans and want it to be generally legal in the first trimester, and in cases of rape, incest or where the mother’s health is threatened.” Exactly!
I was an abortion clinic escort in the 90’s and I also volunteered inside Planned Parenthood clinics (I would not give a dime to that organization today).
The “pro choice” leadership has become so offensive that I have no doubt they contributed to the trigger laws in effect since Roe was overturned.
NO decent person would “shout their abortion!”
I had an abortion and even though I don’t regret it, it was a very serious and emotionally painful event. I still think about it 30 years later.
But the woke idiots insist on offensive slogans like “Shout your abotion” or “Honk if you love pizza and abortion!”
Anyway, I got kicked out of the Texas Handmaids supposedly for being a “transphobe” (this would be news to my beloved son, who just happens to be a trans man).
I objected to “pro choice” language that erased women from the abortion issue.
These were all upper middle class white women who were far more concerned with being “woke” than with actually helping women and girls facing an unwanted pregnancy.
Anyway, I am done with the Democrats as long as they pander to the looney tunes “woke” and ignore the needs and feelings of the majority of Americans, most of whom are, as you say, on the side of reason and sanity.
Great and we’ll informed comment.
I’m not sure what the point of this article is. The author starts off talking about civil war then goes off into polls about interracial marriage (without acknowledging that the population has changed drastically over the past 50 years or more and that adults today grew up under different social mores.) Civil war is the result of political unrest, not social mores. And it’s not based on the will of a majority. If that were the case, the now United States would still be under British rule. Civil war occurs when one or more political factions decide to take up arms. It’s already happened at least three times in North America and it’s likely to happen again. Interracial marriage would have nothing to do with it.
About that term, “working-class”: if one has a job, one is “working-class” – even deputy opinion editors at Newsweek.
This is true, but we should recall that most Americans didn’t want the original Civil War either; conflict was pushed on them by a relatively small cadre of committed fire-eaters in the southern states eager to use violence to continue the noxious and evil practice of slavery. Today’s extremists using violence and inflammatory rhetoric are by a huge margin found on the Left: Antifa and to a lesser extent BLM. And their goals are noxious as well — environmental extremism, formally or informally controlled permissible speech and opinion, unrestricted abortion, gender and race indoctrination in schools, criminal justice “reform” by Progressive prosecutors more interested in the rights of criminals than of victims. Ordinary folks in the majority (as described in the statistics above) are sick of being painted by these people as racist, greedy, ignorant, and violent when those adjectives apply more correctly to their accusers. The extremists are again pushing us toward open conflict, with the new wrinkle that they control how any violence will be covered: Theirs, not at all; the other side’s, extensively and falsely. Some guy I know wrote about the very real danger here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2021/01/01/civil-war-america-family-fault-lines-column/4090600001/
Your comment is funny, since most Southerners today would say that the Civil War was pushed on them by a relatively small cadre of committed fire-eaters in the Northern states eager to use violence to force others to live according to their rules. Even among Southerners who harbor no racial animus at all, it’s still thought of as the “War of Northern Aggression” to this day.
I’m not saying they are correct, only that the old adage “one man’s terrorist in another man’s freedom fighter” is fairly accurate. Antifa and BLM would both insist they are simply defending their people from the violence of white supremacy and capitalism.
In a way, a type of civil war is underway. People are voting with their feet to protest their local government. In one party states, those people have simply given up. Uniformly the one party states feature high taxes and a higher degrees of authoritative government. The rebellion is underway continuing a long trend made worse by pandemic policy. If anything this trend may eventually reduce the overreach of government.
This is one advantage of having “fifty little countries” under the federal umbrella–a person can easily leave their “country” if they don’t like its governance.
This is an article uneven in its logic. Frankly, the thinking behind it is all over the place, and not worthy of Unheard.
Nah your comment in its failure to explain why the logic is uneven isn’t worthy of Unherd.
“We were able to come together as a country at that terrible time; we put aside differences,” said Hillary Clinton on Sunday, the 21st anniversary [of 9/11]. “I wish we could find ways of doing that again.”
Says the woman who described half of Trump’s supporters (i.e. roughly 25% of US voters) as “a basket of deplorables”.
The thing that was miraculous about the response to 9/11 was not that Americans united, because we were not divided. It’s that our leaders did
They indeed united in unchecked jingoism and helped wreck an entire region with ripple effects in European and African security.
The unity brought about by 9/11 lasted all of two weeks. That’s how long it was before videos of the jumpers were suppressed and flags being flown on cars went from the American flag to yellow ribbons, as if we could mourn our way to victory. It was also about the time ‘outrage’ gave way to ‘tragedy.’ As with the video suppression, American outrage at an unprovoked attack had to be tempered. The portion of the public unwilling to succumb to mere remorse hardened their stance and unity fled.
It probably didn’t make much difference zeitgeist-wise that the American response, when it came, was largely misdirected toward the Iraq ruler who had ‘tried to kill Bush’s daddy, than the actual swamp that launched the perps. Some response was required and that was close enough for government work.
To the civil war premise, the gap between left and right now is too deep and wide to be bridged. Only a severe outside threat or civil war seem traumatic enough to force beliefs to change. That requires the complete subjugation of one side by the other. If anyone has a better idea of how to force square pegs into round holes, let them speak up now.
Panic Pr0n Peddles Papers
There. That’s the real not-news.
or Trolls Gonna Troll and Tweeters Gonna Tweet, And Not A Lick Of It Matters
I am a Canadian American. I lived for the last 32 years in Chicago, Boston and Orlando. I’m now in Gatineau, Quebec. I’m 68 years old. I saw American cities burning because of race riots in the 60s.
What is happening in the United States is not a joke to poke around and experiment with. It is serious. Something about the journalist who wrote the article.
Batya Ungar-Sargon is the deputy opinion editor of Newsweek. Before that, she was the opinion editor of the Forward, the largest Jewish media outlet in America. She has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Newsweek, the New York Review of Books Daily, and other publications.
Born: 1981 (age 41 years)
Books: Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy
The journalist is well-seasoned. She has good and well-grounded thoughts. But they are biased. The book is a must-read. The dangers of misinformation and the highjack of the media by well-lubricated entities is essential to understand… as well as other books. However, it must be understood that it is biased.
In America, I cannot speak to strangers concerning political matters. If I do with just a hint, my American wife will remind me it is not acceptable. It could put us in danger. You never stay outside on New Year’s Eve. Those firecrackers could be guns, and a stray bullet could hit you. The American civil war has not ended. We are still dealing with tearing down civil war monuments, flags, and African American civil rights. Trump has awakened the silent boobyhatch that even the mainstream Republicans hate. The Republican party is in crisis mode. Politicians say the most outrageous things. It has torn families apart, people have lost jobs, marriages have broken up, and a large percentage of the population has become physically and mentally ill as a direct result of all this. Far-right TV ads of people running for office dressed in combat fatigues and holding weapons. Look up Cory Mills promises to help media ‘shed some real tears. And how about those whacky militias all over the country?
The list goes on.
Like the American Civil War, the act isn’t an overnight decision… it stew’s over time, and this stew has been cooking for 20 years.
I think her article supports your position – you say “politicians say the most outrageous things”, and then your criticism of media echo chambers is the same too.
What’s a boobyhatch?
It never ceases to amaze me that Americans, owning a zillion guns each, don’t constantly slaughter each other over arguments and family rows.
That’s what provides the proof of this excellent article – they just want to get along, despite their differing views.
What we are seeing is a we vs them speech everywhere. Arguments have no value and what matters most is on which side you are.
Joe ‘Drone’ Biden was governor of a State known for having more shell companies than voters. Zero transparency, and allocating less than one fifth of the budget of Pennsylvania on environmental protection. He has abandoned the Kurdish feminist militias and partnered instead with Recep ‘Vladimir’ Erdogan, a guy in power since 2007 who sent more journalists to prison per capita than China.
Biden can criticise Trump’s speeches but in terms of foreign policy and the soaring national debt he is not doing any better. The Ilhan Omar Bill is more a blasphemy law than an effective measure against a particular sort of racism, only accepted because it was not proposed by the Christian right.
This does not mean I like Trump, but any criticism of Biden turns you into a fascist, as any criticism of Trump turns you into a progressive/liberal chap no matter how well-argued such criticism could be.
Wokism is not progressive. It is a way to attack women’s rights and divert attention from environmental and economic policies to classification policies. Transgender policies will benefit labs more than people. If you want to be something you are not you need psychiatric attention more than a surgery. If you are white you cannot be black, no matter how much time you spend under the sun. If you are a woman you can be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, but not a man.
Of course, the increasing costs of medicine are not a priority. Women are not a priority unless they belong to some former colonies and to some religious minorities. Somehow the descendant of an African dictator has more rights than the descendant of a starving Irish farmer. Criticism of agnosticism is not a crime, but religious sects that promote male-superiority are rewarded with protective laws and subsidies. And they dare to call that progressive!
We are back to Lilliput, discussing whether eggs should be cracked at the small end or the other one.
God bless America and God Help the King.
Opinion polls do not accurately reflect what is really going on. Civil peacefulness is really what we need to encourage, and what should serve as our indicator of the state of the Nation.
We need to prosecute and imprison citizens who foment violence of the type seen at Jan6 and at Charlottesville. And we need to seriously enforce gun laws that regulate who is legally permitted to carry and use firearms. Mass shootings are nobody’s idea of a picnic in the park.