Core Paradoxes in the National Character and Schisms in the Far Right’s Political Ideology
All nations, and this seems especially true of great nations, have paradoxes at the core of their national characters that define them. The tensions within these paradoxes are alternately, or in times of crisis simultaneously, a dynamic source of national strength and also an anarchic source of national turmoil.
In the United States, these paradoxes are every bit as clear today as they were a hundred or two hundred years ago.
They include the following:
1. We have enshrined the concept of representative government, but we have allowed elites to exercise powers associated more with oligarchies than with truly democratic republics, and as a result, although we honor public service, we have less trust in our elected representatives than in almost any other category of people; likewise, we talk much more about the value of democratic process more than we actually vote.
2. We emphasize individualism and self-reliance, but we…
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