The people on each side of America's political divide are making a fundamental error at what might be called the level of the spirit.
On the right, the error is mistaking one spiritual force for another. On the left, the error is failing to recognize the importance of such forces - not directly visible, but vast and powerful - in human affairs.
The two sides are making very different errors, but both their errors concern the recognition of a fundamentally destructive force. Both errors, I believe it is appropriate to say, concern what might be called the force of "evil."
Evil is admittedly a fraught word, one with which many in Liberal America are uncomfortable. Many in Liberal America do not think anything in reality exists that could possibly warrant being called an "evil force."
But I have now offered a definition of the term--a naturalistic description of a phenomenon that can be shown to operate in the world, and which resembles the traditional understanding of "evil" in enough ways to warrant its being so named. The heart of this definition might be stated: Evil is a force operating in the human world that shows coherence through time and that consistently works -- in purely naturalistic ways, through cause and effect -- to impart to whatever it touches a pattern of "brokenness".
On the right, basically good people are mistaking the evil for the good. Thus their power is being used to achieve the opposite of their intent.
On the left, basically intelligent people are failing to understand a central dynamic of the world in which they live. That failure to understand is not always crucial. But in today's America, that failure may prove fatal.
Together, these two errors are what support that two-fold dynamic of our national crisis: the increasing power of the destructive force that's taken over the right, and the woeful weakness of Liberal America in protecting the nation from that power.
Not believing that there is something in the world that corresponds to the notion of an "evil force," many in Liberal do not perceive it even when it is staring them in the face. The consequence is that Liberal America does not understand what we are up against. And, not seeing it for what it is, the liberal side of our divided polity fails to respond appropriately to this destructive force .
The fact that both sides are making an error that involves the failure to recognize the evil force that is right in front of our faces opens the way to a strategically useful approach to the whole dynamic. What if there were a single message that can challenge both sides of our sick political dynamic -- albeit in different ways -- at the point of their fundamental error?
Would that not provide an opportunity for a coherent - and therefore possibly potent - mode of attack?
The next installment will begin presenting that "two birds with one stone" message.