Increased partisanship in America has led commentators in recent years to wonder whether the country is heading for another Civil War or national divorce. While the threat of violent conflict remains low for now, the political rhetoric feels hotter than in recent memory.
America is in the midst of a cultural war of worldviews, and economist Thomas Sowell played the role of Paul Revere decades ago when he said, “There is a great deal of self-congratulation in some liberal circles because of all the things that have been done for blacks, but if you destroy the family, law and order, and education, there is nothing else you can do that will make up for it.”
The impact of liberalism on black families he described in the early '90s is being felt by all families today.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill this week that includes $70 million in funding to encourage responsible fatherhood and provide support to youth and families. Hall of Fame NFL head coach Tony Dungy spoke at the event and reminded his critics that President Obama talked about the importance of marriage and fatherhood during his administration. As is the case today, all of the criticism Obama received whenever he linked social outcomes to family structure came from his liberal allies who thought focusing on personal agency took attention away from needed systemic change.
This is why Democratic family policies are always about how much money the government spends to support households and never about the importance of marriage or the social, emotional, or economic benefits of the nuclear family. Democrats confuse benevolence with empowerment. The irony is that for all of its “Power to the People!” rhetoric and sloganeering and, the left is really about amassing power for the state.
People who rely on the government for food, shelter, and other basic needs are dependent, not empowered. Those who want to keep them in that dependent state do so in part because they know most people won’t vote to take bread off of their own tables.
Education is another area in which shared norms have given way to contentious partisanship. For decades, most parents of every race, ethnicity, and religion thought schools should teach the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. Some may have had complaints about the quality of their child’s school, but everyone agreed on the purpose. Today, the schoolhouse has been transformed into a political training center in the name of “equity.”
The creators of one curriculum funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation claim that “white supremacy culture” shows up in the classroom when students are required to show their work and the focus is on getting the right answer. Other school districts are teaching students that “all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism.” Race essentialism and obsession are only one part of the left’s indoctrination strategy.
The other is the introduction of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) ideology into the classroom. Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law – deceptively described as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill – clearly marks out the battle lines. The law’s supporters don’t believe young children should be exposed to content that discusses sexuality or gender identity. Its opponents responded by saying “gay” in every public venue, including the Oscars, and demanding the right to talk to children about the “Gender Unicorn” and personal pronouns.
The same radicalism can be seen in the rise and fall of the “defund the police” movement that captured the national stage after the death of George Floyd. Politicians, corporations, and corporate media outlets aided and abetted the breakdown of civil order in 2020 even as cities were burning and businesses were being destroyed. They believed Black Lives Matter was a legitimate organization with worthy goals and unknowingly linked themselves to a movement with leaders who wanted to abolish – not reform – the police.
The results were predictable. In a year in which most Americans spent months locked indoors, homicides spiked by 30% in 2020, the largest increase ever recorded in a single year. The same people who claim to care about black lives never take the time to even acknowledge that vast majority of murder victims in big cities like New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Baltimore are young black men.
The breakdown of social order Thomas Sowell described was preceded by an abandonment of God and elevation of the state. No issue makes this clearer than abortion. The left went from the party of “safe, legal, and rare” to the party of abortion up until birth. They have a visceral reaction to the thought of more babies being born that is equal parts hysterical and ghoulish. In some ways it makes sense. Control over life and death ultimately belongs to God. Taking away a woman’s ability to kill her offspring is an affront to those who believe in the power – and divinity – of women.
The two major parties show their priorities through the pen, the purse, and the pulpit. Democrats are no longer the party of the working class and labor unions. They are the party of the managerial elite. Their target audience is the UPS human resources director who mandates company-wide diversity, inclusion, and equity (DIE) training, not the drivers delivering packages.
The war of worldviews continues to rage. Republicans should follow the lead of Florida and continue to publicly advocate for the importance of faith, fathers, families, and freedom. Many won’t because they would rather be seen as respectable to people who despise their values than fight for the people who share them. This battle requires courage, not just rhetoric. Now is not the time for conservatives who think Drag Queen Story Hour is a “blessing of liberty,” criticize legislators for grilling a Supreme Court nominee on her leniency toward pedophiles, or argue that large corporations like Disney have a right to engage in political advocacy on the taxpayer’s dime. We’ve allowed cultural destruction to go on for too long. Now is the time to rebuild.