Why Can’t We Just “Get Along”?

Barack Obama speaking

People are missing the rhetoric of “ye olde days” when orations, not soundbites, were standard. I, too, want more of those. Remember who Martin Luther King, Jr. was, or has it slipped your mind in less than a month? I do like hearing something that speaks of better days than what we have now. And I’m pretty sure Obama isn’t a complete incompetent even if his speeches aren’t his own. He may not have lots of experience, but we can’t say he has none. Nevertheless, the talk of getting along really means precious little when among the things that divide are things that are not up for compromise.

I really don’t think most people who bring up un-PC issues are divisive for the sake of being divisive. It’s a very unquestioned postmodernist thing now to say, “Let’s just cover up our issues and get along.” 不知所謂。 If this were what social and sexual radicals meant they would not resist attempts to change things against the way they want them to be. Of course, since some of their position’s rather enshrined in the law they have the upper hand of the status quo.

As I read in the Atlantic Monthly last week, (and I paraphrase) what “stop making this an issue” means inside the Beltway is “it’s an issue, and I’m winning.” I’m sure it’s the same outside the Beltway as well.

I’m all for making good compromises that don’t sacrifice moral integrity for one party or another (I don’t mean political parties necessarily). And certainly there are more issues than the ones that seem to have dominated the past 20 years.

But it is important to remember that there are bad compromises. All of those compromises on slavery, from the Three-Fifths Compromise to the compromises that legislators brokered in Congress up to the Civil War, though they may have seemed acceptable, were morally untenable. Popular sentiment often, all too often, will fail to reflect the truth of goodness and justice, but while politicians will act themselves silly in hopes of riding on popular sentiment, true statesmen will serve the people and listen to their pleas but not be swayed by their wicked demands.

Moreover, given the responsibilities and limitations of government, some things must be given vastly more attention in civic voting in particular than in individual activism. I’m sure people also have much less noble reasons when they cite jobs and the economy, that is, their own livelihood, as more important things than “abortion”, just because nothing seems to have changed since Roe v. Wade. Such people who fall by the wayside we call fickle. Use what terms you like, but that’s what it often is. And when the overriding issue is about personal property, and not even about dangers to the right to it but threats to possession of it, I’ll definitely say I’m suspicious.

People are greedy, people are lustful, people are libidinous for their own way and dominion, and it has always been this way since the Fall of Man. So am I. What then? Oh, I’ll tell you. People’s motives are always suspect. Don’t ever call me an optimistic idealist again, and don’t ever think it’s out of purely theoretical, untested naivete that I speak on these matters. The total depravity of man is never just a theory to me.

Of course, some just don’t believe “abortion” is wrong. I challenge anyone to articulate a truly fundamental distinction between butchering an infant in the womb (an infant being one who cannot speak and so must be defended by others) and butchering a 6-month-old outside the womb. If you can show me and get me to understand how prenatal infanticide is not murder I’ll also change my position on what the government should do about it.

The poverty problem is from the government’s neglect of justice and failure to fight abuses. It’s very important indeed, and I hope people will begin to pay attention to it. To any who are shaking their heads about what appears to be a liberal call for action, I say this: it’s not an anti-liberty big-government program to stop injustice being committed against the poor. The prenatal infanticide problem, however, is one where the federal government is the one forcing states not to outlaw a kind of murder, since 1973.

And yes, we do have to do something about global warming if it’s going to kill people. It is a sin to wilfully refuse to cut off from ourselves something that does harm. Yes, we do have to do something about the “sex trade” (the term in its neutrality makes me want to gag). People are being abused . And all these things are, unlike lots of things demanded by people who do not understand the reason and principle of limited government, things that are part of a government’s intended mission. Liberals and conservatives both need to wake up.

To people on both sides of the aisle: it is sheer laziness to treat issues as “belonging to the other side” and not deal with them. The government’s job is to govern, and it’s high time someone did it.


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