America and the Division of a Nation

Oct 25, 2011 by

In our society, we have formed a contract with each other, known as the constitution, to lay down the ways in which the principles of this nation are to be carried out.  However, the trouble that this nation is running into at the moment is:  Do we share the same principles.  It appears as though we do not.

There are two competing ideologies at the moment, each with their own extremes.  The ideologies, in general, focus around one main principle, the size and range of government and its powers.  Each side has exceptions to their general belief, but for the most part, one side believes in less government, the other side believes in more.  While reasonable people merely follow reason and not a side, I think it wise to analyze the two points of view.  For, while we the reasonable people may not take a side, we must face the fact that most people will.  Everyone naturally has a social instinct.  The desire to follow others and be in groups.  However, this instinct is intended to form reasonable body of individuals (defined by Aristotle as politic), it is applied, all too often, to form ideological factions (which Friedrich Nietzsche would define as the herd).  While this gathering instinct was intended to bring us together as individuals, it divides us into groups.

The two most prominent sides in this nation are conservative and liberal.  Each has their own roots in their beliefs.  It appears to me that culture has something to do with their formation of beliefs becoming so diverse.  Indeed, I think this is most prominently seen through a comparison of where cultures have clashed and where culture is unified.  Culture, as I mean to define it, is that which binds us together.  For the purposes of this analysis, culture is the combination of morals, social traditions, and philosophical beliefs of a group of people.  Whether there is more that I am leaving out, I do not know.  But that is sufficient and basic enough to analyze the effects of clashing cultures.

Let us start by analyzing areas that have seen many immigrants from foreign lands and of clashing cultures.  The North East and the West Coast have seen more immigrants than most of the nation.  As a result, they have had to bring together many cultures in order to simply remain stable.  Over time, they have been forced to adopt a sort of relativism.  This sort of “Melting Pot” causes them to no longer see culture as meaning to revolve around what is best and true, but as an individual preference.  There are parts of cultures that revolve around individual preferences, like food and holidays.  These things even outside of relativism can be seen as acceptable differences in a unified culture.  However, this relativism first destroys bonds of social traditions and philosophical beliefs.  You cannot have a unified culture that has differing philosophical beliefs or social traditions.

Now, as this relativism takes shape, it begins to leaks into morality and things which, as a society, were maintained through the culture.  As the culture of New England and the West Coast dissolved and became more accepting, so did their morals.  As a result, there was no unifying force.  Now, the herd mentality comes in.  Now, the people merely want to be unified.  This herd mentality looked to its previous structure.  In the original society of America, it is generally seen that culture is the unifying force and the government the formality.  In other words, Society is unified by what it has in common, and government backs that brotherhood up with a physical presence.  Now, with the cultural bond destroyed, the formality becomes reality.  The one thing left that could be unifying in New England and the West Coast is the government.  That is why, in general, liberals favor things such as government aid, government oversight, and government expansion in that way, but frown upon government expansion on things that have to do with morals.  Morals, to the relativist, are to be determined by the individual, not the unifying force in a society.  If a law on morals were passed, it would threaten relativism.  So the individual maintains his beliefs, while the government takes on the general roles of the culture, such as economics.

Now, conservatives get their root in the South and Midwest.  In regions were culture isn’t so diverse.  Thus, as a result, Culture is unified.   There is no need for relativism in any form because there is only, generally, one culture.  And, if there are two cultures, one always takes precedence over the other in the eyes of the community.  There is no competition for the supremacy of culture.  Thus, the herd is maintained.  The morals, social traditions, and philosophical beliefs are the same.  They are unified in their culture.  Thus, unlike in New England and on the West Coast, culture remains the unifying force and government is the formality.  Now, where government expands, culture is threatened.  In areas of relativism, culture is already dead and is not too much of a deterrent.  However, in the South and Midwest, Culture is still strong.  Thus, conservatism hates government expansion, government regulations, and government aid.  Those are the jobs of culture to begin with.  It is when you take those away government can regulate.  That is not to make a value call, that is merely stating how the mind prioritizes the cultural herd over the government herd.  Now, while conservatives may dislike overall government expansion, there are areas that conservatives do like the expansion, such as in morals.  A law on morals that reflects the culture is favored by conservatives.  The morals to be put into law may change, but the general consensus is that there are morals that should be illegal.  This is accepted because it backs up culture, not replaces it.  It enforces, not directs.

Which side in this debate is better, I think none.  Both are based on the idea of a herd mentality.  I believe that a mentality of politic, in which we encounter many cultures and take the best aspects from each of them.  However, in order to understand how to destroy a herd mentality like this, we must understand its roots and accelerators.  I believe the diversity of cultures to be an accelerator.  The root causes were there since the Revolutionary War.  And, I believe that if these differences of basic beliefs are not soon reconciled in some way, a division will take place in this country.  It has already been seen in the form of political, it may turn to much worse divisions.  A society is made up of people with common principles.  If we lose common principles, we will cease to be a society.

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