My overall purpose for this blog site is to try and present both sides of important issues that we are dealing with in our society. I intend to do so as objectively as I can in order to fairly describe the right and left positions without the fiery rhetoric that turns most people off. When I first began, I really thought this was about politics. Many great issues are being considered by government institutions or public institutions which does generally make them political. However, I have come to believe that the questions we are dealing with are really cultural and philosophical.
From a cultural perspective, it is really about how people want to live. Some in our society appear to be almost totally centered on self. They want to live as they want to live, without consideration of the impact on others. Even without consideration of nature and science. If you offend me, I want to ruin you. If taking responsibility for a wife and child is not convenient for me, I will sow my seed and walk away, leaving the woman to either abort the baby or raise the child without a father. If a child is not convenient or if the parents choose not to accept the responsibility of bringing up a child in this world, they will abort him/her rather than give birth. If they don’t feel like they can relate to the sex that they are born with, they will seek out doctors more than willing to re-enforce their feelings and attempt to change the person’s sex in the best way modern medicine can manipulate the physical body.
"...I want the government to defend me against other people’s values"
This manner of thinking makes the assumption that “I am right. My feelings are more important than your feelings, more important than science and my feelings are infallible. I want you to embrace my values and I want the government to defend me against other people’s values.”
In an effort to push the entire culture in their direction, they wish to teach it to the children, even other people’s children, so future generations will grow up with these values.
On the other side of the cultural spectrum there is a similar yearning for freedom. However, they are looking for freedom from government. They would say that individuals have freedom to live how they choose as long as they are taking personal responsibility and not negatively impacting others. They too want to be able to live according to their values but recognize that others may not share their values. They might view those on the left negatively yet most would believe that people should be free to live how they choose as long as it is not negatively impacting others and the government doesn’t try to force them to embrace someone else’s values. They view parents as having responsibility and freedom to instill their own values into their children. They believe children, whose brains do not completely develop until the age of 25, should not be allowed to make life-changing decisions until they are old enough to handle such serious responsibility. They would say that an unborn child, at some point, is a human being and should have the same right to life as people outside of the womb. They see the governments’ role as being the defender of freedom rather than the enforcer of some set of values.
They see the governments’ role as being the defender of freedom
By definition, these positions are almost polar opposites. How can we ever bridge such a great divide? One can identify injustices in the history of both points of view. Extremes on both sides of the cultural divide can be viewed by most as problematic. However, even moderates on both sides think the other side’s view is untenable.
The bottom line is that the great divide is both cultural and political. They both want to use government to ensure their values are the law of the land. Neither side wants to listen to the other. However, without listening, there is no solution. Listening may not fix the challenge we face but it is a start. When one person listens to another person’s point of view, asks questions and tries to understand their perspective, even if not agreeing to it, the other person will likely feel respected and then give ear to the other person’s point of view. If agreement isn’t gained, at least some degree of respect might develop. Instead of treating one another with rhetorical hate, people recognize the dilemma as a challenge without an easy solution and agree to disagree until some semblance of cooperation might be gained.
Right now, we preach to those who agree with us and rail against the others. Perhaps listening and asking questions for a start and then offering your position with an explanation of why you feel the way you do. All might come to see the humanity in the other person not be so vile toward them.
Is our great divide about politics or culture? Yes.