By: Cameron Lugo, Contributor
Capitol Hill has been buzzing with controversy over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings and appointment to the Supreme Court. But this struggle was not kindled by virtuous concern regarding the nominee’s suitability for the Court. Rather, Kavanaugh’s confirmation exposes Americans’ unbending ideologies — totalitarian worldviews that dictate truth and falsehood, fact and fiction.
America is divided along a false antithesis: conservatives versus progressives. Conservatives insist on preserving our Judeo-Christian heritage and family values, waving the banner of religious liberty — and occasionally the Confederate flag. They berate progressivists and the leftist media for undermining conservative agendas with “fake news” and false allegations. They are quick to reject the left and their socialist leanings.
Conversely, progressivists adopt a semi-Marxist paradigm: women and minorities are systematically oppressed — as sexual harassment, anti-LGBT and anti-choice dogmatism demonstrate. If they are religious, they are often left-of-center, shunning evangelicalism’s unloving stance on social issues. They seek immediate reforms, invoking principles of human rights — and judicial activism. Common-sensical and compassionate, they too pledge allegiance to indisputable facts, denouncing conservatism’s outdated dogmas.
This sketch is broad, and there are those like me who draw the lines of antithesis elsewhere. But this only confirms that Americans are divided along a false antithesis, one so so deep that it determines — in advance of any evidence — how we address political issues.
Under oath, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford gave a compelling testimony of sexual assault; Judge Kavanaugh swore to God that he was falsely accused. To me, it seemed that they both told the truth as they knew it. Without any corroborating evidence, conservatives and progressives across the country should have determined whether the allegations were true and debated whether an allegation while Kavanaugh was a minor — even if evidence could be adduced — would be grounds to disqualify him from the Supreme Court. In the face of no hard evidence — only conflicting testimonies — each side concluded in advance who was right based on ideology rather than evidence.
Republicans across the nation suspect that the allegations were a political ploy that politicians exploited to delay a Senate vote past the midterms. Kavanaugh himself capitulated to the conservative dogmatism, speculating that the assault on his reputation was “a calculated and orchestrated political hit,” associated with anger over Trump’s election, unfounded rage over Kavanaugh’s intentions regarding Roe v. Wade and revenge over Kavanaugh’s work unearthing the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
While this perhaps casts doubt on the allegations, it does not imply that his name is clear. But many in the conservative populace impugned the Democrats’ motives in this way. Kavanaugh is their messiah to overturn Roe, so it makes sense that he would be falsely accused and politically crucified.
Conversely, bringing allegations against Kavanaugh was at least partially politically motivated. Ford would have no “civic duty” to testify unless she believed that this information was politically relevant. For progressivists in the #MeToo era, a white, middle-aged, Catholic male who sexually assaulted a girl — and who personally opposes abortion — coheres gloriously with their narrative of patriarchal suppression of women’s rights.. Thus, although everyone considered the same facts and heard the same testimonies, the two sides pronounced opposing verdicts — voting almost entirely along partisan lines.
This should be scandalous. What should bother us is the false dichotomy between conservatism and progressivism, neither of which can be correct: both are married to the vicissitudes of history and human opinion. The difference is how much history and whose opinions they consider. As a socially-conservative Christian, I believe that conservatives’ pragmatic attempts to preserve traditional values by trusting in unscrupulous politicians or a conservative Supreme Court will simply provide fodder for the progressivist narrative, and rightfully so. Until conservatives cease defining truth as whatever-opposes-progressivism, they can never genuinely implement moral change.
Both the left and the right must abandon the illusion that facts speak for themselves. Instead, Kavanaugh’s hearings should incite us to examine the worldviews that underlie our engagement with politics and dictate our morals.