Monday, 23 November 2015

POLITICAL POLARIZATION - WHY HAS IT BECOME SO EXTREME?


I was recently watching a television interview with a member of the new Trudeau government making the comment that they hoped there would be less partisanship and more cooperation in the next parliament.
I am a 'social conservative' and as such I foresee more partisanship, not less.  "Why?" you ask.  If I may be so bold, I suggest the answer lies with the left-leaning, liberal segments of society.
As a social conservative my viewpoint has for the most part been passed down generation to generation.  The basic principals of what I deem to be right and appropriate are no different from my father's or grandfather's generations.  My sense of morality is based on absolutes rather that public or personal whim.  My sense of a civilized society is based upon respect for public order and the inherent responsibility that each individual has to the common good.  My sense of right and wrong are based on Judaeo-Christian principles that date back thousands of years.
Before someone throws in red-herring arguments, no, slavery is not acceptable to the social conservative.
A social conservative, who uses the Bible as his or her guide, has the privilege of being able to drive a stake in the ground to define a boundary beyond which he or she will not venture.
A social liberal on the other hand has no such ideological point of reference; he or she will be swayed and motivated by personal or public opinion without the benefit of any [moral] constant.
Issues that would have been deemed socially and morally unacceptable by the majority of the Canadians just forty years ago are now promoted as ideals of modern liberalism; the demeaning of traditional marriage and family values, contempt for the sacred, sexual promiscuity, adultery, mass abortion, euthanasia, legalization of recreational drugs, promotion of homosexuality and transgenderism as an ideal, rampant pornography, legalization of prostitution, and on the list goes.  The logical end for the social liberal's ideal is total hedonism1 - "The only person in the world that matters is me and you have no right to impose your values and opinions on me."
Meanwhile I doggedly try and point out how far society is straying from the stake in the ground which safely tethers me to a righteous morality - not a relative morality.
On this basis I propose that it is the social liberals who are turning the polarizing filter.  The further they turn the filter of liberalism the greater the degree of partisanship there will be.
Partisanship occurs when two parties move farther and farther away from each other. If the social conservative is firmly tethered to a stake in the ground, it must be the social liberal who is increasing the distance from that stake and correspondingly increasing the level of partisanship.  I don't see that it can be explained any other way.



1Hedonism: the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.