The Jerusalem Post published my new article “American Society Headed Toward a Breaking Point“
If business people such as Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank must apologize for their conservative views for fear of losing business, this is not liberalism and certainly not pluralism. This is tyranny.
A little over a week ago, Bill O’Reilly of The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News slammed the twisted reporting of the deportation of illegal immigrants who were convicted felons, showing how the media portrayed them as innocent “maids, moms, and shopkeepers.” He said that this exemplifies how the media coverage of President Trump is beyond biased; it is “blatant dishonesty.” Mr. O’Reilly, whose program is “routinely the highest-rated show of the three major US 24-hour cable news television channels,” concluded the item declaring, “There is a radical element [the radical left] in this country that wants to destroy it. If this continues, there will be a breaking point.”
As harsh as this threat sounds, judging by the relentless attempts of the Democrats to sabotage Trump’s efforts to man key positions, the media’s slew of warped and made up stories purporting to prove the president’s incompetence, through the army of on-the-ground agitators that Obama’s Organizing for Action has dispatched in order to disrupt every town-hall meeting in the country and create the pretense that the nation is with the Democrats, it seems that there is indeed a war against the president on multiple fronts.
It is not a question of policy; it is a question of identity. Donald Trump recently deported 680 convicted criminals, and the media was up in arms over the deportation of “innocent people,” as they called them. Where was the media when Obama, to whom immigrants referred as “Deporter-in-Chief,” drove out 2.5 million people during his tenure, the majority of whom were without any criminal record? And where was the outcry when it became known that Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, sold one fifth of US uranium to Russia, and that she and her husband, Bill Clinton, personally profited from the deal?
The media were silent because Obama and Clinton were the guardians of power for a small ruling elite that wants to dominate the US. A president who does not comply with their dictates does not serve their interests and there is no telling what they will do to remove him from office. For now, they are using a bogus, humanistic agenda such as caring for the immigrants and backing the Obamacare program to promote their goal of ousting Trump, but there is no reason to believe that they will stop there.
The Necessity of Diversity
Liberalism in itself is a noble idea. Following World War II, numerous countries in the West adopted the Liberal agenda as a “vaccine” against fascism and Nazism. However, a society cannot be vital and vibrant unless many different views vie against one another and in the process become polished and refined. When all the parties understand that diversity of views creates vitality, they strengthen their society and increase its ability to cope with changes.
Our own Jewish tradition encourages diversity and debate as a means to enhance social cohesion. Martin Buber wrote in Nation and World: “It is not neutrality that we need, but rather cohesion, cohesion of mutual responsibility. We are not required to blur the boundaries among the factions, circles, and parties, but rather share a recognition of the common reality and to share the test of mutual responsibility.” Likewise, the great Rav Kook wrote (Orot Hakodesh), “Near the end of days, the quality of unity will surface in the nation… This quality is immersed in pool of strife and discord, but its content is paved with love and wondrous unity.”
For generations, Jewish leaders taught their disciples that conflict of views is a means for finding the ideal solution and strengthening social cohesion. The Talmud writes that “A father and son who engage in Torah become each other’s enemies, yet they do not move from there until they return to loving one another” (Kidushin 30b). The Zohar, too, writes (Aharei Mot), “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to also sit together. These are the friends as they sit together, and are not separated from each other. At first, they seem like people at war, wishing to kill one another. Then they return to being in brotherly love. …And you, the friends who are here, as you were in fondness and love before, henceforth you will also not part … And by your merit there will be peace in the world.”
The Inevitable Evil
Yet, the American society has denied the legitimacy of “other parties,” as Buber put it. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” said British Liberal MP Sir John Dalberg-Acton. Liberalism has been the sole “legitimate” agenda for decades now, but instead of using it to create a vibrant arena of views that invigorate one another, it has become a stifling mechanism by which anyone who contradicts what the media deems true is shamed and bullied. If business people such as Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank feel that they must apologize for stating their honest, very mildly conservative views for fear of losing business, this is no longer liberalism and certainly not pluralism. This is tyranny. Beneath a guise of free speech, America has become a fascist country, where only one view is permitted.
But if “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” then this is to be expected. “The inclination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Gen 8:21) is not merely a verse from the Torah. It is who we all are. This is why rulers need the media to monitor them, and why the media needs to be kept genuinely free and pluralistic.
This is not the situation in America. Neoliberalism, which has destroyed Europe through immigration, and nearly destroyed the US by eliminating its middle class, has been the sole ruling agenda in the US for decades. It serves the interests of the small elite group of magnates who control the American economy, the media, and thereby the government, all the way up to the White House. They determine what is reported and what is not, who is defamed and who is glorified. By controlling the media, they have dominated public discourse, public opinion, and have avoided criticism. This is ingenious, but deadly to society.
Their best interest is not the best interest of the American people. They aspire for world domination. Through proxies such as Obama and Clinton, they “removed” Arab leaders such as Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, and Bashar Assad, destroyed their countries, and created an influx of migrants into Europe. It is not that these Middle Eastern tyrants are or ever were anything to admire, but if you look at Iraq, Libya, and Syria today, would it not have been better for their people if their tyrants had remained in place, rather than the ruin, death, hunger, and terrorism that is their daily reality today?
If the people driving the “liberal” agenda in Europe maintain control over their governments, it will not be long before Europe accepts Sharia law. As this sad story of a forced child marriage shows, this is already happening, but it will spread much faster if they succeed.
And what they have done to Europe, they will continue in America: This same group will allow unchecked influx of migrants into the US, who will drain the already overstretched welfare system, create an impossible conflict of cultures and faiths, which will result in extremism and subsequent bloodshed on both sides. And all this will be done in the name of liberal thinking, pluralism, humanism, and democracy.
On the Side of Correction
It may appear as though I am in complete support of President Trump and against the Democratic Party. In truth, I have no personal affinity for any particular person or agenda. I do have great affinity for diversity above which people can connect since diversity keeps society cohesive, agile, and healthy, and keeps the country strong. At the moment, President Trump represents this view quite well, and the Democratic Party, with its undisputed monarch Barack Hussein Obama, absolutely does not.
I regard Trump’s victory as a sign that the American society is still alive and kicking. It gives me hope that it will also be able to go through the necessary sobering up without bloodshed and without dragging the world into another war. If Clinton had been elected, there is no doubt that war would have erupted. Russia, America, and Europe were already making preparations on the ground. Now, at least there is a chance for peace and the correction of society.
But to correct society, all parties will need to learn from the Jewish tradition—that “love covers all crimes” (Prov 10:12). Rav Yehuda Ashlag, author of the Sulam (Ladder) commentary on The Book of Zohar, wrote in his essay, “The Freedom”: “Just as people’s faces differ, so their views differ. Therefore, society is cautioned to preserve the freedom of expression of the individual. Each individual should maintain his integrity, and the contradiction and oppositeness between people should remain forever, to forever secure the progress of the free society.” Liberals would do well to listen to their own “coreligionist” Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times who wrote, “We progressives could take a brief break from attacking the other side and more broadly incorporate values that we supposedly cherish—like diversity—in our own dominions.”
At the moment, Trump cannot end the war with the media and the Democrats because he is not the one waging it. For things to calm down, the media and the Democratic Party must decide that the best interest of their country comes before that of their party, or even that of their financiers. If this war does not stop, then either the media will be severely restricted going forward and American democracy will be hampered, or the next leader America’s political right sends forward will likely be one who will truly galvanize the conservatives in America, and “there will be a breaking point,” as O’Reilly put it.
For America’s sake and for the sake of the world, I pray that this great nation wakes up and understands the value of diversity, the benefit of honing views through open debate, and the powerful cohesion attained when that debate yields solutions that contribute to the thriving of the whole of society.