We now have a new president, duly elected and sworn into office by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts. It is entirely appropriate to wish President Biden well, and so I do. I sincerely hope he governs always with an eye to unity. That is what he claimed he would do in his inauguration speech.
He promised to be a president to all Americans, not just those who voted for him. He quoted Abraham Lincoln’s words upon signing the Emancipation Proclamation and said that his “whole soul is in this: bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation.” It’s moving stuff.
Personally, I find this kind of language from politicians off-putting. They have an overriding incentive to do just the opposite, and Joe Biden is no stranger to this reality, as when he claimed that Mitt Romney’s economic policies would “put y’all back in chains.” It strikes me as rather tone-deaf given the current state of affairs, but perhaps I am an exception.
I am willing to believe that President Biden has a true desire to unite the country. I think he would like nothing more than to be remembered as Lincoln, as the man who saved the union from division, who healed wounds, who reached out to those who distrusted him and restored peace. I am willing to believe it…I just find it laughably unlikely that unity will break out.
The reason for this is not because of a die-hard pessimism. Instead, Joe Biden finds himself the leader of a political party diametrically opposed to unity. And that opposition is not because of the personality or character of Democrats. It is because the Democratic platform has embraced relativism, and unity means nothing when there is no objective truth or neutral standards.
Unity is the state in which people are gathered together in agreement of some kind. They are willing to work toward the same end or do the same action or think the same thing. Unity requires uniformity in some way. We cannot be unified on a point if we disagree on it. We cannot be unified in acting if we act divisively. We cannot be unified when nothing is the same for us.
The primary arbiters of Democratic thought—people like Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo—embrace a radical relativism. There is no objective truth, only hierarchies of power. Truth is only something relative to power, or to the person speaking. In other words, truth is subjective.
This poisonous strain of thought comes courtesy of postmodern thinkers such as Jaques Derrida, Jaques Lacan, and Michel Foucault. These French intellectuals claimed that reality is not objective, and, therefore, statements about it were not either. What really matters is the power someone has.
From this, thinkers like Kendi argue that all inequalities of outcome are due to racial bias. Because power is all that matters, it is the only explanation for the way things are. If one group does not perform as well as another in general, the disparity is due to the well-performing group having power.
The implications for this kind of thinking are vast. Not only does it mean that every person who does not openly agree with this is a cog in a system of oppression, but it also means that the only solution is to tear down the system. Not coincidentally, that very goal is part of the Democratic Party platform, adopted by majority vote at their national convention:
Democrats will root out structural and systemic racism in our economy and our society, and reform our criminal justice system from top to bottom, because we believe Black lives matter (emphasis added).
Unity under these terms means kowtowing to the priests of the Great Awokening. It means voicing support for those who tell you what to do, following orders, and keeping quiet. It’s a hell of a vision for America.
President Biden parroted these same buzzwords in his inauguration speech. “We face an attack on a democracy and on truth. A raging virus, growing inequity, the sting of systemic racism, a climate in crisis (emphasis added).” If the system itself is racist, you get rid of the system. Or, am I missing something?
President Biden also referred to the value of truth a number of times in his speech, and the Democratic Party has called itself the party of science. Truth and science are objective, so this is a good candidate for a rallying cry: Adherence to truth. However, the postmodern infection has envenomed this message as well.
Take the science claim for example. The mainstream position among the left is that gender is utterly malleable, i.e., there are infinitely many genders. Furthermore, they contend that there are no differences between men and women, and that the science supports this.
In reality, the scientific literature is actually quite clear, and it cuts in the opposite direction. That there are two genders, which arise from traits associated with the two sexes, does not diminish the moral imperative to be kind to others. Nor does it mean that we are unable to acknowledge both that those who suffer from gender dysphoria are mentally ill and that they deserve respect. The retort from the left, though, is that anything but total agreement is denying a person’s right to exist or violence or some other equally nonsensical claim.
Rogue Review contributor and Daily Wire writer Ian G. Haworth had a comic if still tragic expression of this reality on Twitter:
This kind of shifting standard has even led to such lunacy as claiming that math itself is socially constructed. For example, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health tweeted out research from a Ph.D. student that stated 2+2=5. This is not an aberration. It is a natural consequence of the Democratic Party’s platform, the platform Biden will have to pursue.
How are we to unify around this? Where is the solid ground upon which we can all stand? The entire point is to show that there is no “common” ground. There is only how I feel and how you feel. So long as the Biden administration embraces this theme, every exposition of it will be divisive and not uniting. That, unfortunately, is the truth.