Sunday, October 17, 2021

Assassinating America’s Common Ground | The 96th Thesis

 In their latest album, Toad the Wet Sprocket wonders why Americans don’t get along anymore:

Give me your tired and your poor
Who yearn to breathe free
Send the homeless tempest-tossed to me
Where’s the line that we crossed
That broke the bond of trust
How did everything come to be them and us
So where is our common ground
When everything’s falling down
Everything shattered
Hold on to what matters

Yes, I do have a history of overthinking Toad songs, and perhaps it’s a rhetorical question. Nevertheless, we would do well to actually answer it. We have crossed many lines, after all, and it’s not merely a matter of  bad luck or happenstance. American common ground was murdered–deliberately poisoned to death. And there’s little point in building new common ground if we’re not ready to defend it against what killed the old.

The first and most obvious poison at work is our celebration of diversity. It is, after all, the literal opposite of common ground. A society needs some diversity to function, of course–different people contributing different talents and ideas to avoid stagnation. We need some human difference in order to supply the different basics of civilization as well as adapt to new challenges. That kind of diversity goes back to God creating us male & female, as well as making humans the kind of creatures who slowly grow through learning, maturity, and personal experience.

But it is, as they say, the dose that makes the poison, and God created national diversity specifically so that people couldn’t get along. A body needs many different members, but a random pile of members amputated from different people does not a single body make. As it stands, one of the big reasons the peoples living in the United States cannot agree on how to live together is that a forced and fragile proximity is the only common ground left in such a diverse population.

Feminism is the other poison to consider. Though men and women are different, human life depends on our unity. And God designed us specifically for that unity–the two must become one flesh, both figuratively and literally for a society to even survive, let alone flourish.

Feminists, however, have always fought tooth and nail against the kind of unity God designed us for. In their envy of masculine authority, they declared men’s and women’s interests to be in competition rather than alignment. In the feminist frame, the relationship between the sexes is defined exclusively in terms of relative power, trading cooperation for alternating subjugation. The consequences, of course, have been catastrophic–not only in terms of mountains of tiny corpses, but also in terms of broken marriages and contempt for children & family. What nation can survive a failure to even reproduce?

As these poisons coursed through our nation, they began killing off our most important identities.  “Christian” was forced into one of two buckets: either pure bigoted ignorance or a liberal genericism that’s “basically the same” as every other religion. Being “American” was reduced to being located on magic dirt. “Man” and “Woman” were conflated into meaninglessness. We were admonished to avoid taking any pride in our heritage lest we exclude anyone else from the dominant identities we shared. It’s ironic that these identities were denied to prevent separation because the paradox of identity is that it’s also necessary for unity.

So now, when the United States government decides what actions to take, it can no longer do so in service to any shared vision or sense of responsibility. It can only exploit the last few common denominators to pursue a sectarian agenda until even those shrivel up. The reason everything was labeled “racist” was because enough citizens agreed that racism is bad that it could still motivate action on a national level. But that ploy is nearly spent. Likewise, the reason the Democrats have tried to label everything under the sun as “infrastructure” this past year is because everybody still has an interest in having a working infrastructure. But that ploy will suffer the same fate. Once you start stealing the last few shreds of common ground to repurpose and redefine them, you inevitably take those away as well.

America is now in the terminal stages–when common ground has been so destroyed that coercion is the only tool remaining. They have to impose so much by force because they have no remaining tools to convince enough of the populace that their agenda is a good idea. That’s why the mask and vaccine situation is the way it is. They haven’t resorted to threatening families with poverty because they’ve finally reached a position of strength, but because in their weakness, they’re running out of options for enacting anything at all.

It’s likely that there will be some final gasps of violence from the old republic before it finally breathes its last. They haven’t yet resorted to simply shooting dissenters, after all. But in the end, there is no faction among us that is capable of governing the entire United States. In the next couple decades, we are going to collapse into smaller interest groups because that’s what we’ve already done to ourselves demographically.

For now, the choice that Americans have the most influence on is going to be what our local interest groups will look like. The time for conserving is past. We need to create new communities around common ground that has a smaller scope–not what most of the United States can agree on but what most people in your neighborhood can agree on. Build a strong family. Build a strong congregation. Learn practical and timeless skills. Get involved in local government and other institutions that may yet be salvaged. Abandon institutions that can’t. If you cannot do that profitably with the neighbors you have, then relocate to a place with more sensible people before it’s too late.

If God has mercy on us, then we won’t be entirely cut off from the land. But given our sins–abortion, mammon, all manner of sexual depravity, cowardice, selfishness, etc–and our circumstances, I cannot imagine that He’ll be returning us to the old normal that our elites keep dangling in front of our eyes.

So repent and pray for that mercy. The end of the United States isn’t the end of the world–or the end of Americans.