Google+
Close
Why the Right Fears Transforming America
And why the Left seeks it.


Text  


Dennis Prager

The giveaway regarding presidential candidate Barack Obama’s plans for America was his repeated use of the words “fundamentally transform.”

Some of us instinctively reacted negatively — in fact, with horror — at the thought of fundamentally transforming America.

Advertisement
The “us” are conservatives.

One unbridgeable divide between Left and Right is how each views alternatives to present-day America.

Those on the Left imagine an ideal society that has never existed, and therefore seek to “fundamentally transform” America. When liberals imagine an America fundamentally transformed, they envision it becoming a nearly utopian society in which there is no greed, no racism, no sexism, no inequality, no poverty, and ultimately no unhappiness.

Conservatives, on the other hand, look around at other societies and look at history and are certain that if America were fundamentally transformed, it would become just like those other societies. America would become a society of far less liberty, of ethically and morally inferior citizens, and of much more unhappiness. Moreover, cruelty would increase exponentially around the world.

Conservatives believe that America is an aberration in human history; that, with all the problems that a society made up of flawed human beings will inevitably have, America has been and remains a uniquely decent society. Therefore, conservatives worry that fundamentally transforming America — making America less exceptional — will mean that America gets much worse.

Liberals, on the other hand, worry over the opposite possibility — that America will remain more or less as it is.

Two famous statements encapsulate the operative liberal worldview.

The first was attributed to Robert F. Kennedy by his brother Edward M. Kennedy:

“There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

The other is one of the most popular songs of the last 50 years, John Lennon’s “Imagine”:

Imagine there’s no Heaven 
It’s easy if you try 
No hell below us 
Above us only sky 
Imagine all the people 
Living for today 

Imagine there’s no countries 
It isn’t hard to do 
Nothing to kill or die for 
And no religion too 
Imagine all the people 
Living life in peace 

You may say that I’m a dreamer 
But I’m not the only one 
I hope someday you’ll join us 
And the world will be as one 

Imagine no possessions 
I wonder if you can 
No need for greed or hunger 
A brotherhood of man 
Imagine all the people 
Sharing all the world 

You may say I’m a dreamer 
But I’m not the only one 
I hope someday you’ll join us 
And the world will live as one 



Text  


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

NRO Polls on LockerDome

Subscribe to National Review