It’s difficult to know exactly when it happened, but not long ago many Americans suddenly looked around and discovered that they inhabited completely different moral universes from their neighbors.
Whether it’s Black Lives Matter, or teaching gender theory to children, or the usefulness or otherwise of the COVID restrictions, or a wide variety of other subjects, people on one side of the divide have exerted a moral imperialism over the other, refusing even to acknowledge that there can be another side on issues like these, and have instead tried to drive their opponents from polite society through intense social pressure and the outright suppression of dissident voices.
The same people who lecture us day and night about how we shouldn’t “impose our morality” on other people think absolutely nothing of demonizing half of America and imposing their ideas on other people’s children.
Scarcely anyone stops to ask: is this arrangement making us happy? Is it contributing to human flourishing?
To the contrary, it’s causing conflict, suspicion, anger, and frustration – and everyone knows it.
Yet for some reason we carry on, as if continuing down this path will somehow lead to a different result, even though any fool can see that things are only going to get worse.
The media, meanwhile, are happy to fan the flames of social conflict, but never urge us to consider the humane possibility of a world in which we simply don’t do this anymore.
My new eBook National Divorce, which I am giving away for free, offers a radical proposal: how about we just stop?
As I show in the book, there is nothing unconstitutional or “extremist” or unthinkable about national divorce.
What holds people back from considering it is a combination of status-quo bias and the superstitious reverence we’ve all been taught to have for “the Union.”
But as Thomas Jefferson correctly conceived of it, the Union is merely a means to an end. It is not an end in itself. Much less should it be treated as an object of religious reverence. If it does not promote liberty, then we should discard it and try something else.
Now, fair warning: the ideas you will encounter in this book are not to be found on the three-by-five card of allowable opinion. We are not even supposed to discuss the subject matter of this book, dear reader. Why, the New York Times hasn’t approved it for us!
But I’d say the time has come to steel our resolve and be willing to consider – radical though this may sound – ideas that the New York Times tells us are not allowed.
The very nature of totalitarianism involves the intoxicating temptation to create the perfect society through a combination of propaganda, centralized power, and the demonization of dissidents.
Against such a project we ought to set that couplet with which Michael Oakeshott concluded his essay on the Tower of Babel:
Who in fields Elysian would dwell
Do but extend the boundaries of Hell.