A thought has been tumbling around in my head for quite some time and it wasn’t until a posting by one of our resident liberal friends that the picture became clear.
Have you ever wondered why, exactly, there is such depth and magnitude of conflict politically? My first instinct was to attribute it simply to people’s varied opinions on issues and leave it at that. But then, I noticed a trend. That is, that when a conflict seemed to resolve itself, it soon became the flash point for another conflict to develop. And on certain issues, this has continued on for years and even decades.
Examples of such issues are, but not limited to; -Environmental issues -Taxation -Gun control -Certain “rights” -Aspects of the Constitution On those issues, within certain arguments, or debates, two sides argue, an agreement is reached, and eventually the agreement becomes the focal point of furthering the argument and reaching a new agreement. The fact that such agreements seem to be increasingly restrictive upon freedom and liberty should not be overlooked.
So, what can we attribute this to? In a phrase, the Hegelian dialectic (h/t to Liberal1 for the subject). What is the Hegelian dialectic? It is, simply, a series of theses (accepted idea) opposed by antitheses (opposing idea), resulting in a syntheses (new idea). This synthesis then becomes the thesis that is opposed by an antithesis, resulting in a new synthesis, and on and on until a final, ultimate, “perfect” synthesis is realized. Now, to understand where Hegel was coming from, it is important to note that Hegel was a devout socialist. So much so, in fact, that his work, his dialectic, was put into practice by such well-known socialists as Marx and Engels.
”…the State ‘has the supreme right against the individual, whose supreme duty is to be a member of the State… for the right of the world spirit is above all special privileges. -Georg Hegel
Hegel envisioned the same control over people, by the state, that Marx and Engels were guilty of. So, how does this “dialectic” apply to now, today?
Think about an issue. Any issue that people are concerned about. Then think about the history of that issue, as in, the evolution of the issue into today’s specific arguments. Take gun control, for instance. Over 200 years ago, the Framers of the Constitution drafted the Second Amendment. The idea of gun ownership, namely the freedom to do so, went largely unchallenged in America until the 1900′s when New York passed the Sullivan Act, requiring small firearms to be registered. In the 1930′s, gun control became a national issue with two laws, both signed into law by FDR. While the regulations involved were uncontroversial by today’s standards, involving gun dealer licensing and regulating machine gun ownership, it introduced the concept of national gun control. Fast forward to the 1960′s, and we see gun control becoming a national issue with two prominent sides on the debate, particularly in 1968 with the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and MLK, jr. Continue on to the Reagan attempted assassination and on up to today’s restrictive gun control laws.
At each point, there were a theses, or accepted idea of the limitation on gun control, and an antithesis, proposing ever more restrictive control over firearms. The syntheses from these conflicts are seen in the laws passed at those points. Neither being as liberal as the theses, nor as restrictive as the antitheses, but an accepted position somewhere in the middle. And each new law, or syntheses, became the starting point, or theses, for the next round of debate on the issue. And at every point, those syntheses further eroded the rights of gun ownership in America. Now, I don’t wish to make the debate about gun control, because that is not the point of this post. Rather, it is but an example of the wider idea that conflict is entered into, continuously, that applies ever increasing control by the federal government over our lives. Is it a concerted effort by the groups pushing for that control? Most definitely. Is it a coordinated effort? That is a debatable point, though I think in most cases it isn’t.
What it is, though, is Hegel’s dialectic in action. At each point of conflict, the theses are challenged by the antitheses, to reach a predetermined synthesis. Think about Obamacare, for instance. Obama, and the liberal/progressive left, could not go from no national healthcare law to the ultimate goal of a single-payer system whereby the government was the sole “insurer” and arbiter of our country’s healthcare system. No, instead they needed to enter “mild” controls upon the system itself, furthering the federal government’s control over our lives. The next phase will, most likely, be one of additional controls, and on and on until the single-payer system is realized. Remember, Hegel’s ultimate vision of a society, as evidenced by his quote above, is that the state has the “supreme right” over the individual. His ultimate vision is one of a complete socialistic society, and that is where he saw his dialectic leading to.
Joseph Stalin coined the phrase “useful idiots” in referencing the people who supported their own enslavement. Today, we in America have our own “useful idiots”. The difference is that I see everyone who allows this Hegelian dialectic to continue, meaning the continuing erosion of our rights and liberties by compromised syntheses, or acceptable agreements, as useful idiots. I am a useful idiot. So, too, are you, no matter what your political stripe may be.
The look behind the curtain is frightening, and reminiscent of the world of Orwell’s Animal Farm or 1984. And the willingness of we, the people, to contribute to our own enslavement, some more than others, is bewildering.