The Reality Party vs. The Unreality Party
American politics has finally and definitively bifurcated into two main camps. On the one hand normal people who work with things (in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, etc.) are basically still grounded in reality and realize that reality trumps concepts. These people participate in the reality which they realize they didn’t create.
The elites, however dwell in the imaginative world of their thoughts, which they prefer over reality. This is because doing so allows them to be god-like, a most satisfying condition.
These people believe that reality is not a given. They have completely come to believe that the scientific project can be applied to ourselves, our society, our culture and our politics. This means that people and their institutions become objects to manipulate and to make ‘better’.
Once natural science jumps the fence from dealing with legitimate areas of inquiry in the physical world to being applied to politics, reality no longer applies because our ideas of what is possible rule and we try to force reality to them.
In other words, our elites have been taught that every aspect of reality is capable of being conceptualized and then subject to improvement as they see fit.
They are true believers in scientism.
Listening to the political rhetoric, it is clear that some of our politicians believe in the ideal conception of the ‘unreal’. They proclaim a radar-like focus on the impossible task of self-salvation – a goal of perfecting humanity through our own efforts.
This places our political world on the same level as Pokémon.
Normal people still think that reality really is real and we must form our concepts to conform to that objective truth.
The Wizards of Washington do not think that reality is actual and hence needs to be contended with. In their minds, they are free to be their own god, ‘creating’ ourselves and our society, any darn way they please.
And, they ‘know’ that they have the ‘right’ knowledge, which the rest of us don’t possess, required to take us into the Promised Land, the utopia imagined in their minds.
They think that their fantastical political speculations are as real as real can be. They assume that life is something other than it is, something to be manipulated, engineered to their liking.
By manipulating our political and social institutions they intend to perfect us to their idealized state of human fulfillment.
They can’t stand the fact that we find ourselves to not be perfect but, not to worry they will fix that!
They reject the reality that we are mortal and, in fact, they are working feverishly on that project too!
It is anathema to these people that there might be areas of life they can’t understand and control. There are no mysteries allowed in their grand work of perfecting the universe.
Gods in their own minds, these individuals are basically harmless in their own lives. But when we collectively buy into their fantastic schemes and turn the levers of power over to them, we end up with cultural catastrophes such as we are now experiencing.
For example, the reality of marriage isn’t. Instead, it is whatever we declare it to be.
Or, the reality of murder, isn’t. Instead, it is, when we say it is and it isn’t, when we say it isn’t (babies & the unfit elderly).
And, the reality that it is better to leave health care decisions up to individuals and families in a large and diverse country rather than try to plan a master policy designed by well, you-know-who.
Lastly, the entire Supreme Court battle centering on whether the Constitution is stable, literal and real or, is it to be viewed as being plastic and moldable to their project of perfection. In which case it can’t mean what it says or, it would be an insurmountable obstacle.
In pursuing perfection too much, in believing in ourselves as being the creators too much, in trusting in our own knowledge too much we are placing ourselves on extremely unstable ground.
Unless we find a cure for our utopian seeking political sickness we will find ourselves constructing a world that is just the opposite of what we intended.
For, in trying to force the pegs of reality into holes which they don’t fit, reality will ultimately prevail.
In trying to perfect humanity, we will instead self-destruct on the shoals of actuality as created by a Being beyond our understanding.
If we don’t have the collective sensibility and humility to admit the veridical, the suicide of our country at some point becomes imminent.
Terry Applegate writes from Utah in the winter and Michigan in the summer. He is CEO of Applegate Insulation, serves on the board for Citizens for Traditional Values, Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association and the European Theological Seminary and is married to Val with three children and four grand-children.