Friday, May 08, 2020

The fundamental divide in America is not between left and right

I'm coming to believe that the fundamental divide in this country is not between left and right. It's between those who accept the need for credible public institutions and those who don't. 
"Accepting the need for" does not mean "automatically and mindlessly trust." Those who accept this need try to repair failing (or sabotaged) institutions. Those who don't accept this need add to the breakdown in social cohesion.

It has nothing to do with education or intelligence. I see many smart, educated people parroting the nihilistic rage. They know what public institutions are saying very well. They just knee-jerk disbelieve the institutions unthinkingly.
My recent essay on the difference between skepticism vs cynicism is instructive here. Because many of them are smart, they are good at making their disbelief sound just pseudo-intellectual enough.

It's not just the fascists and Trump cultists. Many on the harder left are no different and it's causing a real breach between those who want to re-fortify sabotaged institutions and those who want to burn everything down and replace it with who knows what and who knows how..
I'm not sure how to resolve this breach. Once you reject the notion of anything public or common, even a set of facts (upon which opinions and strategies can be based), I'm not sure where you can go from there. 

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