Democrats Have Given Up on the Common Good

Joe Biden has had a hard few weeks. He may appear to be losing it, but looks can be deceiving. Lunch Pail Joe may be the one Democratic candidate who understands what Americans care most about

Speaking recently at an LGBT event, the former vice president told the audience, “In prison the determination should be that your sexual identity is defined by what you say it is, not what in fact the prison says it is.” Put another way, Biden came out in favor of housing male convicts with women.

Watching Biden grovel before the woke mob is rather sad, but it’s also telling about the evolving priorities of his party. With practically the sole exception being healthcare, Democrats have given up on even trying to look like they care about issues that touch on the national interest or broadly shared concerns of ordinary Americans. The liberal elite that funds their campaigns and televises their phony “debates” has lost all connection with the common good.

This was apparent early on in the debates, when all Democrats raised their hands in favor of healthcare for illegal immigrants. In the first debate, Julian Castro pressed the very important  issue of transgender men who need abortions.

Blinkered Priorities

The absence of Marianne Williamson and Tulsi Gabbard, virtually the only Democrats with anything approaching interesting to say, was keenly felt at last month’s debate. Unlike the previous two debates, there were no viral take-downs, and viewers were subjected to three hours of desperate pandering and idiotic platitudes. Univision’s Jorge Ramos made an utterly mysterious appearance in the capacity, it seems, of pressing the candidates on what they would do to advance open borders and the welfare of illegal immigrants.

Mr. Biden, when you were vice president, deportations happened. Will you apologize now? And what would you do to protect the people of El Salvador?

What is going on here? How did we reach a point where a major political party is primarily concerned with the citizens of other countries, rather than their own?

For what it’s worth, the Democrats engage with healthcare and the environment, which is more than can be said of the GOP, but the bulk of their agenda even in these areas is targeted towards fringe issues that are of little concern to ordinary people who want to live in a stable, happy country. While they speak the rhetoric of the working person, they are decidedly the party of a decadent elite.

The most important crisis facing America today is the increasing, profound instability of family, economic, and social life, and the deep psychological pain produced by this instability. Repairing the suffering associated with this breakdown requires, first, rediscovering the common good and building a politics that is aimed directly at it. This entails rediscovering a spirit of national confidence, a shared cultural heritage, economic policies that promote job security, and cultural policies that promote family formation and trusting communities.

Why aren’t economic security and social stability at the top of the agenda for Democrats? Why aren’t we hearing more about the opioid crisis, or the fact that suicide rates have reached record highs? Why aren’t we hearing more about what candidates will do to help young people buy homes and start families? Why aren’t we hearing more about the fact that America’s birth rate is below replacement?

Not only does the Left ignore these questions; their agenda is actively hostile to a more stable, happy country. As it is, the Democrats (excepting perhaps Elizabeth Warren) have shown little concern for protecting jobs from overseas competition. Worse, though, is their unwavering commitment to importing millions, even billions, of laborers from abroad. The Democrats see absolutely no tension between open borders and building a robust middle class.

When Wanting Everything Becomes Nothing

Democrats want everything and nothing at the same time: jobs and good healthcare for everyone currently living in America is dismissed as a given want, and at the same time, they want any one of the billions of people living in a Third World country to come here wanting the same things.

This retreat from the common good (to say nothing of common sense) is made crystal clear by the Democrats’ open scorn for the distinction of American citizenship and borders. Abolishing citizenship pushes the pursuit of the common good to the fringes of politics, while elevating the welfare of a globalized humanity abstracted from belonging to any particular country, culture, or religion. Anyone from anywhere in the world can be substituted into this abstraction, resulting in a politics that marginalizes the citizenry in the interest of promoting the universal “human rights” of every person on earth, with priority given to developing nations and certain identity groups in every country.

As a result, the “universal” rights of illegal migrants and transgender felons rise to the top of the agenda, taking precedence over the welfare of most American citizens. Liberalism sidelines the common good on the altar of Woke.

At a core level, liberalism encourages profound social disruption that makes a stable, happy order impossible. This is accomplished by centering politics on a hypothetical individual who has no commitments to a larger political community. A concrete people recedes from view; as a result, Democrats running for president speak for everyone and no one at the same time. They represent no concrete community or nation, but rather, an abstract coalition of “marginalized” people from all over the globe.

Naturally, it is impossible to pursue the common good when the common good, as such, is obscured from view, and along with it, the very people and community whose good is the object of any particular politics. Instead of a politics based on the Good, a politics of abstract “Right” promotes liberation from the community and its ethical and social demands, and along with it, the abolition of civilized society itself.

Beyond a confused economic policy that tries to reconcile job security with endless mass migration, the Left pursues cultural policies whose fruits are continued social disruption and upheaval, which only further compound the instability of American life.

Finding Community and Purpose

What is missing is a sense of purpose and community larger than the individual self. Rather than a nation united by a common good, the Left envisions an ocean of atomized individuals wholly dependent on the State to satisfy the grievances of their particular identity-based factions, which are in a state of constant competition for power and prestige. The divisions between these groups run through households, neighborhoods, friend groups, and intimate relationships.

Lacking any interest in community, liberalism produces broken families, shattered communities and profound gender and racial resentments. A quasi-religious commitment to sexual liberation erodes the authority and importance of marriage and the family, resulting in broken households as the norm and not the exception. The good of promoting stable, happy families takes a back seat to the individual sexual preferences of every conceivable permutation as well as an individual right to kill off the next generation. The challenges of family formation are compounded by a cultural Leninism that encourages conflict, fear, and enmity between the sexes. Men and women retreat ever further from trusting, loving, lasting relationships.

Looking beyond the family, the Left’s cultural program fosters profound social mistrust. Rather than seeking to emphasize a shared culture and national identity, a thoroughgoing cynicism towards the nation’s past cripples national pride and erodes a sense of shared fate and  responsibility among the citizenry. No practical limitations whatever on immigration are even considered, while migrants are discouraged from assimilating and respecting the rule of law. Any desire for a more unified culture is viciously attacked as a redoubt of bigotry, rather than a necessary ingredient of common happiness and meaning. The high trust and common purpose of a nation united is replaced, instead, with low trust and restless cultural civil war.

The closest thing to the common good the Left envisions is saving the planet from climate change; but even here, there is no intelligible goal. As a solution, many on the Left have taken to suggesting that Westerners stop having children to reduce pollution. What, then, is the purpose of saving the planet, if it requires that civilization cannibalize itself first?

The Elites Can Afford to Retreat

Meanwhile, the common enemy of all Americans—the elites who are destroying the country from above—retreat from view while internecine identity warfare consumes the rest of the country. The lower orders are too busy shivving each other over what Christopher Columbus did or didn’t do, while the wealthy continue to concentrate more power for themselves.

The fruit of this approach is a citizenry that is more broken, more divided, more incapable of self-government, more dependent on the State, and more vulnerable to corporate exploitation. This is obviously bad for the people, but it’s good for a small elite that wants cheap labor and a demoralized, vulnerable people to rule.

To an increasing degree, the Democratic party represents this detached elite. Their party line has shifted so far to the left that it no longer touches the common good, and as such, they must gaslight the public about their actual policies. De jure open borders indisputably is their official immigration policy, but they can’t admit that openly because they know it’s immoral, unfair to Americans, and deeply unpopular. When pressed on abortion restrictions, candidates inevitably dodge the question and defer to the woman’s choice to end the conversation, because their actual position—abortion on demand, at any time, for any reason—is ghoulish and plainly immoral.

Rather than speaking to the people, the Democrats instead curry favor with the brahmins of neoliberalism. Hence the sad spectacle of Biden explaining why he finally understands the critical necessity of housing transgender prisoners with members of the opposite sex.

Until 10 years ago, to advocate these policies would have been disqualifying for a candidate of either party. The vast majority of Americans don’t want open borders or third trimester abortions on demand or male felons being housed with women.

Outpacing Democracy

The big picture, it seems, is that liberalism has outpaced democracy. The Democrats are not speaking to the people or for the people, but to and for a tiny, insular liberal elite that is trying to force an unpopular agenda on the people. Because this agenda is insane, immoral and unpopular, the Left has taken to figuring out how to make it a reality through brute force, rather than through the existing institutions of our Republic.

This is why the Democrats concocted a hoax to discredit the 2016 election, why they talk more urgently about abolishing the Electoral College, packing the Supreme Court, and importing foreign populations to swell their voter rolls. Lacking any sense of obligation to the people, the liberal elite that laid this country low with endless war, endless migration, and destructive social experiments want to destroy what is left of it.

Why do these Democrats even want to be president of a country they hold in contempt? It can’t be because they care about its people.

About Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a Mt. Vernon fellow of the Center for American Greatness and a staff writer and weekly columnist at the Conservative Institute. His writing has also appeared in the Daily Caller. Follow him on Twitter @matt_boose. ‏

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

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