David Carlin: The moral and intellectual leadership of the Democratic Party has fallen into the hands of ultra-radical “progressives” who are the sworn enemies of decency and common sense.
I used to be a good Democrat. I was a Democratic elected official, serving twelve years in the Rhode Island Senate, two of those as majority leader. I was even a Democratic candidate for the US House of Representatives, being trounced (alas!) in November of 1992.
But that was a long time ago. I was a different kind of Democrat than the kind typical in the party today. When I was born Franklin Roosevelt was president. I still think of him as the ideal Democrat. I also think very well of Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
It was abortion that drove me out of the Democratic Party. I have always thought of abortion as a kind of homicide. The party increasingly embraced the doctrine of abortion “rights” – the right to kill very young human beings. For a long time, I imagined it was possible to be a pro-life Democrat in a pro-abortion party. I abandoned that fantasy sometime in the 1990s as I became convinced that being pro-abortion was an essential element of being a Democrat.
My alienation from the party began with abortion but it grew greater and greater with same-sex marriage and other things. Today I am so alienated that I am willing to vote for Donald Trump, not my ideal, in order to keep a Democrat out of the White House.
In the old days (back in the 1920s,1930s, and 1940s), if you were a good Communist, you had to be morally and intellectually flexible. Which is to say, you had to be ready, often at a moment’s notice, to change your most important political beliefs in order to keep in step with the latest version of the “party line.”
Comrade Stalin had a knack for sudden changes in the party line. But the typical Communist was loyal to the party, and Stalin was the Mind and Heart and Soul of the party. And so, when the Great Helmsman changed the party line, the good Communist was able to make the needed mental and moral adjustments.
But this wasn’t always easy. Sometimes it was so difficult that certain Communists, rather to their own astonishment, were unable to make the adjustments. The most famous instance of such a hard-to-swallow alteration – or rather, 180-degree reversal – of the party line came in August of 1939 when Communists all over the world woke up one fine day to learn that Nazi Germany, until yesterday the most hideous of all enemies, was now a friend of the Soviet Union. Comrade Stalin and Herr Hitler had become pals.
This drove more than a few heartbroken Communists out of the party. But most Communists remained, though dizzy with confusion. Stalin couldn’t be wrong. After all, he was the lineal and legitimate successor to Marx and Lenin, who were infallible. Good Communists argued themselves into becoming supporters of the new arrangement, and they cheered for Hitler in his war against Britain and France.
The party line did another reversal less than two years later when Hitler invaded the USSR.
Today’s Democratic Party also has a party line that often changes. The party has no equivalent or near equivalent to Comrade Stalin, no single person, and not even a small group of persons (a Politburo), who can order a change in the official line. Changes are the results of a collective party spirit (the Holy Ghost of the Democratic Party, so to speak). We learned that the party has changed its line when mainstream journalists (the great majority of whom are fellow travelers of the party) announce that they have discovered this change.
- The embrace of abortion rights. Most Democrats found this relatively easy to accept. After all, the party believed in women’s rights.
- The embrace of gay rights and same-sex marriage. This wasn’t hard to accept. After all, shouldn’t everybody, including gays, be given equal treatment?
- The belief that America is a “systemically” racist country and that almost all white people are racist. Many Democrats, especially older white Democrats, recoiled at this. But you could persuade yourself, if you tried hard enough, that this new doctrine was no more than a slight modification of MLK’s (and LBJ’s) idea that blacks should have equal rights.
- The belief in transgender rights. To date, this has proven to be tough for many rank and file Democrats to swallow. Yet many party leaders, along with their journalistic fellow travelers, have converted themselves to transgender beliefs by arguing that this is no more than a slight modification of the already-accepted principle of equal rights for all, including sexual rights.
- The belief in non-binary-ism. That is, the belief that many persons have no sex identity whatsoever, neither a born identity nor a chosen identity. Many Democrats, and not just among the rank and file, are finding this, too, hard to swallow.
- The belief that public libraries and public-school libraries should stock pornographic books for children to read. You can only convince yourself to believe this if you tell yourself that to do otherwise would be an instance of “book banning.” If a librarian refuses to put on her shelves a book offering, e.g., charming illustrations of fellatio and cunnilingus, she is doing what Nazis did when they burned the writings of Einstein and Freud.
- The belief that Israel is an illegitimate nation occupying stolen land; along with the corresponding belief that Jews generally, since most of them worldwide are in sympathy with Israel, share Israel’s shame and guilt. Many Democrats – though far from all – especially Jews, are finding it hard to go along with this belief. Anti-Semitism is a bridge too far.
The moral and intellectual leadership of the Democratic Party has fallen into the hands of ultra-radical “progressives” who are the sworn enemies of decency and common sense. Already they have ruined the Democratic Party – my dear old party. Soon they may ruin the United States of America.
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David Carlin is a retired professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America, Three Sexual Revolutions: Catholic, Protestant, Atheist, and most recently Atheistic Humanism, the Democratic Party, and the Catholic Church.