If There Were No Partisan Divide, We Would Have to Invent It

I have to laugh at our liberal friends getting all worried at the deepening partisan divide. Golly, what did they think would happen after a century and a half of Marxist class warfare and a half-century of Frankfurt School identity politics? The whole point of Marxism is that there is an irreconcilable conflict between the economic classes, which is a good thing to promote when you want to divide the people of a nation state. The whole point of the Frankfurt School is that there is an irreconcilable conflict between the races, between the sexes, and between heteros and the rest, which is a good thing to promote when you want to divide a country where the working class don’t really want to secede from the cult of the nation.

What did you think would happen, liberals?

Then you have the top two Democrats, Obama and Clinton, that wrote about and/or practiced the lefty take-no-prisoners tactics of Saul Alinsky. Gosh, I wonder where that would lead, liberals?

It leads straight to this year’s election.

Here’s how Steve Sailer tells the story while unpacking the results of the 2012 presidential election. Check out the third table, which ranks the voting groups in descending order of Romney support. Top of the list are Mormons, voting 86 percent for their fellow Mormon. Then come married white Protestants at 74 percent for Romney, then white Protestants, then married white men. Least likely to vote for Romney were gays and lesbians, blacks, and single black women. So, if everybody voted like married white men, the Democrats couldn’t elect dogcatcher.

I explain this with my reductive Three Peoples theory. The more a voter is a Person of the Responsible Self, the more likely they were to vote for Romney; the more the voter is a Person of the Subordinate Self, experiencing herself as a victim, the less likely she was to vote for Romney.

So there is the partisan divide. It is not a bug, but a feature.

In “How to Get Beyond Our Tribal Politics,” Jonathan Haidt and Ravi Iyer in The Wall Street Journal try to imagine with the benefit of social science how we could heal the partisan divide. We are naturally tribal, they say, but we can get away from it if we encourage “proximity.”

Students are more likely to become friends with the student whose dorm room is one door away than with the student whose room is four doors away. People who have at least one friend from the other political party are less likely to hate the supporters of that party.

Since conservatives think liberals are stupid and liberals think conservatives are evil… well you do the math.

Now let’s think a bit about how a lordly educated elite might encourage the growth of “proximity.” For a start, it would make sure that nobody could benefit by their race or gender identity, so people would have to relate to each other as humans, rather than races or tribes. Then it would utterly deplore special race and gender segregations, such as race-themed dorms at college. Then it would prevent any counting by race, such as in the population census to permit majority-minority legislative districts. Then it would make sure that a small and limited government made it very hard for people to band together into tribes to get loot and plunder from the government. And so on.

But if our ruling class did that it would be the end of today’s Democratic Party.

There is another way to encourage proximity. It is the magical system that recruits people into corporate tribes that fight like mad for market share. It is a system that rewards people for trusting the trustworthy stranger. It is a system that allows nobodies to create innovations that get a foot in the door before the powers-that-be can figure out how to stop them.

So why doesn’t everyone get with the program? Why is it that, just as the modern Great Enrichment from $3 per capita per day to $100 per capita per day got into the saddle in the mid 19th century, a couple of rich kids, Karl and Friedrich, came up with a brilliant new way to divide people and set them at each others’ throats?

Maybe it’s because humans need to hate and to fear.

Maybe the worst thing that could ever happen to humans would be for us to settle all our squabbles and for the lion to lay down with the lamb. Because then we would all be reduced to singing Kumbaya and nobody would bother to get up in the morning.

Maybe it is part of God’s plan that we always think the worst of people in the other tribe or political party and always predict Armageddon after each election.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.

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