Divided We Stand: Why We Must Resist Political 'Unity' | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Divided We Stand: Why We Must Resist Political 'Unity'

Authored by Bruce Frohnen via RealClearPolicy.com,

We hear a lot about “unity” these days. The Biden administration promises and even demands it. Meanwhile, Republicans (and some Democrats) charge the administration with hypocrisy because its radical programs can’t garner a legislative majority — let alone the consensus support the word “unity” implies. But the charge of hypocrisy misses the point: The demand for unity is dangerous because it aims to undermine the genuine diversity that is essential to a free people.

To call for unity is, in effect, to call for obedience. But free people are not obedient. Free people should obey the law, of course, but they do so only because they have consented to the law. And before consent comes debate: Free people air differing opinions that reflect their differing backgrounds and experiences, rather than bowing to those who claim they know what’s best. Free and open debate — and the diversity of viewpoint such debate implies — is therefore essential to lawmaking in a democratic republic.

This is our constitutional inheritance. Our lawmaking process is structured by mechanisms — such as the separation of powers, checks and balances, and lesser rules like the Senate filibuster — that ensure the views of the minority are not simply brushed aside by a fleeting political majority. Of course, from time to time, Americans do come together as one nation, for instance in the face of great tragedies or crises. Yet, unfortunately, such crises can easily be exploited or manipulated to stifle dissent and centralize political power.

To fight this homogenizing tendency, we must reassert who we are as Americans: free citizens belonging to a wide variety of communities and associations, who can and should be heard in the public square.

Whatever the ideologues of identity politics may claim, America was not founded by “white people.” It was settled by English Puritans and Quakers, German pietists, Swedish and Irish peasants, and Scottish adventurers, to name a few, who found themselves enmeshed in the conflicts of Algonquians, Iroquois, and other native peoples. These settlers formed insular religious communities as well as polyglot commercial towns. Some bought slaves taken by force from what are now Ghana, Nigeria, and other nations of Africa. All of these peoples made America.