Thornton: Politics in a Democracy is War by Other Means

Here is Bruce Thorton writing at Front Page Mag:

Republicans may not be interested in war, but war is interested in them.

Since the election of Donald Trump the “partisan divide” has escalated into a “Civil War,” according to many commentators. “The Fight for Washington” headlines a PJ Media column. The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman says Trump’s election was a political “Pearl Harbor.” The intelligence community is rumored to be at “war” with Trump. Progressive Democrats have organized a “Resistance,” as though their party is occupied France during World War II.

Apart from the hyperbole, such descriptions are essentially right. The problem is, too many Republicans don’t know they’re in a war.

That’s because many establishment politicians and pundits still cling to fantasies of “bipartisanship,” “civility,” “decorum,” “good manners,” and the “rules of good behavior.” Senators obsess over upholding “Senate tradition” and its sacred “rules,” and they miss their cloakroom bonhomie and gym-locker joviality with their Democrat counterparts. They bemoan the “partisan divide” and the failure to “reach across the aisle.” They agree with Obama minion Cass Sunstein, who has a new book out decrying what he calls “partyism,” a psychological disorder almost as bad as “racism.”

They all should be made to read the history of democracy starting with ancient Athens, and then write out Madison’s Federalist 10 a hundred times on the blackboard. A country as diverse as America has always been divided into “factions” whose “passions and interests” conflict with those of other factions, often creating a zero-sum conflict. To paraphrase Plato, every faction is by nature at war with every other faction, and peace is just a word.

Moreover, empowering the common people whatever their levels of education or social mores means free political speech will be anything but decorous or good-mannered. As Aeschylus said, “Free men have free tongues.” More typical of traditional democratic political speech is the vile description of Thomas Jefferson by a disgruntled writer Jefferson had hired to smear his rival John Adams as a “hideous hermaphroditical character.” The vengeful journo called Jefferson a “mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.”

Read more: Front Page Magazine

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