I had a friend who served with me on the NC Dental Board. He and I fought many political battles together against other state and regional testing agencies in the interest of maintaining the integrity of the testing and licensing process in the state of North Carolina. My friend was a very powerful speaker and very influential in mobilizing people to support the cause. However, I noticed that his most powerful arguments centered on the idea that we were morally superior to the groups we apposed, and that we were motivated by service to the public and our adversaries were motivated solely by money and power. While to a certain extent that may have been true at the time, I never the less used to get a strange feeling every time he would talk like that. I’m from New York and to me; there was something very southern centric about his arguments when he would pursue that line of oratory. I don’t mean that in a negative sense, only that to me it seemed very narrow in its appeal and could possibly turn off anyone who was not raised southern Baptist. As time went on, I noticed that people who aligned with him, myself included, were passionately with him and those against him were passionately against him. The end result was there was almost no progress in converting anyone who disagreed with us to our side of the argument.
When you think about it, regardless of what side of an argument you’re on, if it involves issues or policies of major consequences, both sides believe they have the moral high ground. Every war that’s ever been fought was fought to defend the combatants on both side’s position of moral superiority over the other side. The Nazis believed their position of racial superiority was correct on moral grounds. The Western alliance believed in equality, freedom and justice for all regardless of race (at least in theory) and they contended theirs was the morally superior position. In the end, the side that prevails is the one that is most committed to their cause. More than that, the only lasting peace between two opposing groups occurs when the victorious group convinces the defeated group of the validity and power to achieve prosperity of its position. Germany became a world leader in racial tolerance and sensitivity as well as one of the world’s most successful economies. At the end of day, people do what they believe is in their best interest. It’s better to think about what your adversary wants and compare that with what you want before endeavoring to convince them to join your side. When you analyze all the issues with that in mind, in most cases, you’ll find that the majority of the desired objectives are common to both sides. It’s usually one or two issues of fundamental difference that is the source of the conflict. Our tendency to do this has been the source of human conflict since the beginning of civilization. In the classic novel Gulliver’s Travels, the Lilliputians were at war over whether or not eggs should be opened with the narrow end up or the wide end up. As silly as that may sound, there’s little difference in modern real world conflicts. For example Sunni and Shiite Muslims differ primarily in who they believe was Mohamed’s successor almost 2000 years ago. It seems trivial to us but millions of Muslims have died defending their position on the subject. Here in America, we are at war with ourselves over who owns a woman’s body, the state or the woman. Most of us won’t admit it, but that is the single issue responsible for all the radical changes in government we’ve seen in the past few decades and is the main catalyst for the bitter conflict we have today. I remember telling my friend to be more pragmatic in his arguments for our position on testing and licensing. Think more about what’s going to work for everyone rather than defending a position that can never be agreed on. One side is never going to agree that the other side is morally superior to them. He started to talk more about the benefits of doing things our way and the risks of doing things our adversary’s way without any sort of morality spin. In the end, we got something that was somewhere in between, similar to both sides but unrecognizable as either side.
As Americans, we must not make the fatal mistake of placing ourselves above history and human nature. We must understand that when compromise on issues defining what is morally correct cannot be entertained, our natural tendency is self-destruction through war. Moral ambiguity only seems to matter when human beings are under the stress of over population, as I discussed in a previous chapter (see Chapter 45). If we fail to use our God given intellect to solve the problems at the source of the stress that makes us unwilling to accept each other’s moral position as valid for consideration, we will use that same intellect to destroy ourselves. We must be willing to set those differences aside while we solve issues such as immigration, drug use, education, environmental integrity, and other issues that stem directly from overpopulation, before we attempt to tackle the issue that there seemingly can be no compromise on. When I consider the degree of devastation that has occurred in the Middle East conflicts in places where the average person cannot afford or have access to a fire arm, compared to America’s well armed populous with plenty of access to explosives, I don’t think there’ll be much left of the America we know, north, south, east or west after an American civil war. Have you thought about that? Is that what we really want? Are we willing to watch your children and grand children reduced to a pile of human pulp because of an idea? A 16th Century academic named Robert Oxton Bolton once said, “A belief is not merely an idea that the mind posses. It is an idea that posses the mind”.
Having said all this, I have to say that in times of crisis we must take a stand for one side or the other. The United States is in political crisis. We must be clear where we stand, because serious issues unfortunately sometimes can only be settled by all out war. In Dante’s Inferno, the worst place in hell was reserved for those who were neutral in a crisis. At the same time, we must argue our position from the standpoint of how it will be beneficial to all concerned vs. the catastrophe in store for all of us if our country continues on its present course. It’s OK to point out flaws in each other’s position, but we must resist the temptation to objectify each other by calling each other names that suggests we are less than human or undeserving of human kindness. The more we can see each other as deserving of mutual respect, the less likely we are to slip into civil war. It’s fair to argue that the current elected officials are carrying out what many consider to be a fascist agenda, but it serves no useful purposed to call them rapists or murders or imply that they are disease carrying vermin, as our president has when referring to people trying to immigrate to the U.S. from our southern border. He does that because he has no interest in negotiating with those of us Americans who oppose his approach to border management. We the people, however, must not close the door on discussion and debate on that and any of the other issues of concern to us. The last thing Mr. Trump wants is for the people of this nation to collaborate and find a practical, humane solution to the border crisis. That would result in us telling him what to do in a unified voice instead of the other way around. As long as we remain divided, he and his cronies in this country and in Russia can continue their money laundering ways, without any interference from us. This is why I implore responsible Trump supporters to reset our government by voting out all Republican incumbents who have been loyal to Trump and his policies, which is almost all of them, and vote for their Democrat challengers in the 2018 elections. It is the only way for you to regain control of your party and put the breaks on the damaging policies, foreign and domestic, of the Trump Administration. I’m not suggesting I’m right and you’re wrong. I am suggesting we all can agree the Republic cannot continue to exist in its present form if we allow these Trumpian policies to continue. The only way to do this is to shift the balance of power in congress from Republican to Democrat. We can reshuffle things with responsible politicians on both sides of the isle in the 2020 elections. Hopefully by then, your party will be in a position to put forth a more responsible candidate for president as well.