The Democratic Party was at one time the party of the intellectuals, the party that prided itself on critical thinking and political analysis. I had considerable respect for the Party at that time. One might have disagreed with the policies and decisions of the Democrats, but one could not deny that their arguments were cogent and their evidence compelling. Sadly, that former Party no longer exists today. Ideology has replaced thinking within the Democratic Party. Day after day the members of the Party defend dogmatically their illusions about society and human nature, behaving like converts to an esoteric religious group that cannot tolerate differing views.
It was the French of the Enlightenment Period who coined the word “ideology”, and it originally meant the “science of ideas”. Within the context of Marxist thought, however, the word “ideology” came to mean the “collective illusion” of a group about the social and economic realities of its world. Such a collective illusion consists of a system of beliefs analogous to those of a formal religion, and these beliefs motivate the conduct of the members of the group. That’s the reason that rational discussion with the Democrats has become virtually impossible. The Democrats are no longer operating on the basis of evidence and reason. Instead they have adopted an ideology, i.e. a collection of beliefs, which can be neither proven nor disproven.
Take the idea of equality, for instance. To be sure, the word “equal” occurs in the foundational documents of our country, but the Democrats have expanded the idea into a full-fledged dogma about human nature and society. So in debating with Democrats, it is futile to present evidence that contradicts their claims about equality in its various forms. The equality of all human beings is a belief of the Democratic Party, which can be neither proven nor disproven. Certainly there is no empirical evidence for the idea, and it is impossible to support it on logical grounds. So why do the Democrats hold so strongly to this idea? Perhaps it is because they believe in the universality of human rights. But this doesn’t solve the problem. Assuming that we can define “human rights”, the idea that human rights are universal is no more self-evident than the idea of equality. Please note that I am not rejecting unequivocally the notions of equality and human rights. I am simply saying that these ideas are not sacrosanct as the Democrats seem to think. On the contrary, the ideas lack empirical evidence and should be discussed critically.
Of course, this line of argumentation is meaningless to a political party that no longer values evidence and reason. There is abundant evidence for the fact that President Trump is not a racist, but for the adherents of the collective illusion the facts don’t matter. “He’s a racist!” the Democrats scream, and it is impossible to discuss the matter further with them. When ideology replaces thinking, the adherents of the collective illusion employ insulting labels like “racist” and “misogynist” in order to block any possible discussion. The Marxist shouts at his opponent: “You’re a capitalist and therefore it is pointless to debate with you!” Under the sway of the collective illusion, the Democrats are conducting themselves similarly. “The President is a racist”, they charge, “and therefore there is no need to discuss his policies toward minority groups.” Or: “He hates Mexicans and therefore there is no need to discuss the pros and cons of the wall.”
This lack of rationality in the pronouncements of the Democratic Party was well exemplified recently in the statement of the former DNC chairman Howard Dean. According to Dean, the President is “mentally incapacitated” and therefore cannot negotiate an agreement to end the government shutdown. Once again we are confronted with a personal attack against the President, not with a rational argument about policy. Dean’s baseless attack on the President is intended to block all rational discussion. In truth, his statement is merely a belief, and since this belief comprises a part of the collective illusion of the Democrats, it requires no evidence in the mind of Mr. Dean.
My wish for the Democratic Party in 2019 is that it take cognizance of its present situation, that it recognize the extent to which it has morphed into a peculiar form of secular religion, that it learn the art of self-criticism and that it return to the standards of critical thinking and enter into respectful dialogue with those of opposing views.
Jack E. Brush is a resident of The Villages and frequent contributor to Villages-News.com