The middle in American politics has died. Now extremists rule.

Sharing is Caring!

by Fabius Maximus

Summary: Many people yearn for civility in politics and for rational compromise to rule. But we drove past the last exit to those outcomes. The middle is defeated, irrelevant. Look at the extremes to see America’s future. Imagine the brutal irrational conflict that will produce a winner.

“What’s past is prologue.”
— Antonio, in Act II Scene 1 of “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare.

Registered sex offender busted reading in the Draq Queen Story TimeSecond Child Sex Offender Unmasked at Drag Queen Story Time.


Sohrab Ahmari, op-ed editor of the New York Post, writes more about this at First Things.

“The only way is through – that is to say, to fight the culture war with the aim of defeating the enemy and enjoying the spoils in the form of a public square re-ordered to the common good and ultimately the Highest Good. {David} French prefers a different Christian strategy …my complaint about his politeness wasn’t a wanton attack; it implicated deeper matters.

“Such talk – of politics as war and enmity – is thoroughly alien to French, I think, because he believes that the institutions of a technocratic market society are neutral zones that should, in theory, accommodate both traditional Christianity and the libertine ways and paganized ideology of the other side. Even if the latter – that is, the libertine and the pagan – predominate in elite institutions, French figures, then at least the former, traditional Christians, should be granted spaces in which to practice and preach what they sincerely believe.

“Well, it doesn’t work out that way, and it hasn’t been working out that way for a long time – as French well knows, since he has spent a considerable part of his career admirably and passionately advocating for Christians coercively squeezed out of the public square. In that time, he – we – have won discrete victories, but the overall balance of forces has tilted inexorably away from us, and I think that French-ian model bears some of the blame. …

“Progressives understand that culture war means discrediting their opponents and weakening or destroying their institutions. Conservatives should approach the culture war with a similar realism. Civility and decency are secondary values. They regulate compliance with an established order and orthodoxy. We should seek to use these values to enforce our order and our orthodoxy, not pretend that they could ever be neutral. To recognize that enmity is real is its own kind of moral duty.”

Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote a rebuttal at National Review: “Civility Is an Essential, First-Tier Political Value.

“The Kavanaugh hearings, as it happened, had me more convinced than ever that civility and decency must be first-tier values in politics. The contempt in the air is something of a social madness. It’s our moral duty to insist on decency, by leading with something better. We all have our roles, but as Pulitzer Prize winner Peggy Noonan put it in her commencement address at Notre Dame this year: “The secret of successful politics: Be moved more by what you love than what you hate.” Life, too, as it happens. That doesn’t mean we don’t disagree, and deeply. But it also means we might find still find a meeting place in our common humanity in the middle of some of our most contentious and necessary debates.”

She points to The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump by conservative Trump-hater Peter Wehner (2019) – “Any nation that elects Donald Trump to be its president has a remarkably low view of politics.”

“Frustrated and feeling betrayed, Americans have come to loathe politics with disastrous results, argues Peter Wehner. In this timely manifesto, the veteran of three Republican administrations and man of faith offers a reasoned and persuasive argument for restoring ‘politics’ as a worthy calling to a cynical and disillusioned generation of Americans.

“Wehner has long been one of the leading conservative critics of Donald Trump and his effect on the Republican Party. In this impassioned book, he makes clear that unless we overcome the despair that has caused citizens to abandon hope in the primary means for improving our world – the political process – we will not only fall victim to despots but hasten the decline of what has truly made America great. Drawing on history and experience, he reminds us of the hard lessons we have learned about how we rule ourselves – why we have checks and balances, why no one is above the law, why we defend the rights of even those we disagree with.

“Wehner believes we can turn the country around, but only if we abandon our hatred and learn to appreciate and honor the unique and noble American tradition of doing ‘politics.’ If we want the great American experiment to continue and to once again prosper, we must once more take up the responsibility each and every one of us as citizens share.”


A different perspective: there is no room for Erasmus

I believe both sides in the above discussion are wrong. Despite Wehner’s hysteria, Trump has governed as a standard right-wing president and made few changes. He has continued most of the Bush-Obama era policies (especially our foreign wars and domestic security state). He has withdrawn from several treaties, but conservatives have always hated the treaties that kept us safe in the post-WWII era.

I believe the hysteria about Trump’s exciting but meaningless Tweets masks something far more important: the coming Right-Left clash. The Left has had several generations of success in their great project of wrecking our civilization and building a new one on its ruins. Conservatives are slowly realizing that they must act soon or face compete defeat. The Left owns the educational institutions (and many other key institutions), and is indoctrinating future Americans. Their speech suppression programs dominate college campuses, and are moving (with the help of the tech titans) across America. Open borders are coming with the Democrat’s next win, as immigration is already drastically reshaping America’s core values.

One side is winning, and sees no need to compromise. Time is their invincible ally. The other side must fight or go into history’s dustbin. There is no middle ground.

This is a common situation in history. The antebellum American regime crashed on the desire of slaveholders to expand into new States and abolitionists desire to end slavery. The moderate middle had to choose a side or sit on the sidelines (irrelevancy).

Further back. Erasmus (1466 – 1536) was one of the greatest minds of the Renaissance. He foresaw the horrific damage that would result from a split in Christendom, but a lifetime of brilliant work could not prevent it. He became an irrelevant footnote in the Protestant Reformation and the Counter-reformation. The middle could not hold.

Many of the people writing today about American politics are little Erasmuses (e.g., me). Mild intellectuals, marshaling facts and reason to chart a path to a better America. But the action is on the fringes. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does not know much (much of what she knows is wrong), but she and those like her are the stars on the Left. The Right is responding with equally delusional and vivid figures. The middle looks drab and boring by comparison. To a people that want entertainment. the slippery slope to Hell looks appealing.

Meanwhile, our vital institutions are falling like dominoes into dysfunction. They are hollow because we no longer love them. We have forgotten that we are the crew of America, not passengers – and that America is ours to keep – or to lose.

I believe that we will face some difficult choices in the next generation. Or we can remain passive and apathetic, and let our betters fight among themselves for the right to rule us. Might makes right. It is always about choices and responsibility.

William Butler Yeats by George Charles Beresford

By George Charles Beresford.


The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats (1921). This is us, today.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.