Blame Modern Life for Political Strife
Although the culture wars seem especially contentious now, Americans have a long tradition of waging culture war:
Trump in office may have fanned the flames to some degree, but the seeds were planted well in advance–things like campus protests, internet outrage culture, and BLM protests, etc. predate Trump by years. In 2009-2011, people were raging over Obamacare, gay marriage, and OWS. In 2004-2006, it was over the Iraq occupation, hurricane Katrina, and such. In 1996, it was over don’t ask don’t tell. In 1993-1994, it was over Hillarycare. In 1994-1995, it was the Newt Gingrich Republican revolution. In 1998-2000 it was over Monica Lewinsky and Ken Starr. In 2000 it was the Florida recount. In 2001, 911. In 2002-2003, Iraq War. The California recall in 2003, which elected Arnold Schwarzenegger, although it seems like ancient history now, was a huge deal at the time and made news all over the world. And don’t forget Al Gore and Michael Moore, whose videos and documentaries and other activism stirred the pot in the mid-2000′s. Those are just a handful of examples from the past three decades. There is always going to be some issue or issues that will divide the nation and that are blown out of proportion by the media and punditry. That’s how politics works in democracies.
In the 90’s there was also Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the WTO protests, as well as multiple attacks on abortion clinics. Abortion will always be controversial, but 2 decades ago it was a much bigger issue than now. Politics is inherently divisive because people have fundamentally conflicting views of human behavior, motives, and solutions. The left says “we need more redistribution and fairness” the right seeks “smaller government, self-sufficiency, and meritocracy”. These are diametrically opposed values.
Also, I think pundits, both on the left and the right, vastly overestimate the occurrence of unrest in the U.S., especially compared to the rest of the world, which has much more and much worse unrest. Some antifa or campus protest (such as the Evergreen State fiasco) gets tons of media coverage especially on social media, and due to the immediacy, excitement, and media hype, perspective and context is lost. There are 360 days out of the year in which there are no antifa and campus protests, and colleges function without disruption and civility is upheld. Some stupid campus protest or BLM crybabies holding up traffic gets a ton of coverage all over Twitter and Facebook, but the damage and injuries are minimal, yet the outrage and virtue signaling is dialed up to ’11’.
In the span of 150 years Americans fought a war over slavery to now a culture war over a Nike ad. I think that is progress, or at least having people unfriending each other over shoes is better than literally killing each other over slavery. According to the media, Trump is ‘unstable’ (whatever the hell that is even supposed to mean), yet to put things in perspective, for all the talk about political incivility, in 1856 Representative Preston Brooks (D-SC) nearly beat Senator Charles Sumner (R-MA) (even 160 years ago the left was violent) to death with a cane on the House floor.
From the post Putting Charlottesville in perspective :
Look at it like this: although someone died yesterday due to extremism, for the past year or so, nobody in America died due to political extremism. 364 out of 365 days out of the year all 300+ million Americans were able to coexist without killing each other due to political differences.
As the old saying goes, if it bleeds, it leads. The media can create a ‘crime wave’ , not by encouraging more people to commit crime, but by reporting crime more often. A single act of extremist violence gets considerably more coverage than the thousands of people who die every year in car accidents or other causes of death that are far more common. Since 911, only about 100 Americans have been killed by domestic terrorism, or about the number of auto fatalities in just a single day.
Meanwhile, there are so many riots and protests in Europe (many with a lot of injuries and substantial property damage), that Wikipedia created a portal devoted to it. That would be like each state in America having so much unrest that there is a Wikipedia article for each state. Here are some recent examples:
2005 French riots
2005 Belfast riots
2006 Brussels riots
2007 Villiers-le-Bel riots
2008–09 Oslo riots
2009 French riots
2010 Rinkeby riots
2011 English riots
2013 Stockholm riots
2013 Trappes riots
2013 Belfast riots
2016 Sweden riots
2017 French riots
The same for South America.
Due to high urban density, low IQs, a more collectivist culture, and ethnic homogeneity, these countries and regions are much more susceptible to severe civil unrest than the United States. America’s large geographic area, low density, and diversity mitigates this risk.