Saturday, February 24, 2024

Musings on Religion and Pragmatic Altruism in Democracy

By Rudy Barnes, Jr.

The pragmatic moral imperative of altruism is to love God and your neighbors of other races and religions as you love yourself.  It’s the greatest commandment taken from the Hebrew Bible and taught by Jesus, and it has been accepted by Muslim scholars as a common word of faith.  That makes it a pragmatic moral imperative for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. 

Altruism is about providing for the common good, and in democracies voters expect their elected officials to enact altruistic laws and policies.  Political  parties are a part of the process, but voters expect their elected officials to enact laws that provide for the common good based on standards of pragmatic altruism, not on divisive partisan objectives.

Supporting Ukraine against unprovoked Russian aggression is a major issue stymied by a polarized partisan Congress and a massive national debt.  Donald Trump has complicated the issue further by saying he would not defend any NATO nation attacked by Russia if it has not paid what it owes NATO, and “encouraged Russia to do whatever the hell it wants.”

Meanwhile, President Biden has continued to fund a broadening Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza that has killed 29,000 Palestinians.  Biden’s Zionist loyalty and friendship with Netanyahu seem to have blinded him to Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law; and in an election year, neither Biden nor Trump have addressed America’s massive national debt.

For now Biden and Trump are the only viable choices for President, but Democrats have the option of an open convention.  With little prospect of a viable third party candidate, and with a polarized partisan Congress, both parties have ignored the common good by failing to balance partisan proposals with America’s economic constraints.

Churches should be moral stewards of democracy by promoting pragmatic principles of altruism; but in 2016 churches lost their moral compass when a majority of white Christians elected a narcissistic President.   Now it seems increasingly likely that 2024 may be deja vu all over again--unless one or both parties seek redemption through an open convention.

Ross Douthat has indicated his skepticism of Trumpism populism and Bidenomics “in the future, but he has not offered an alternative to Biden’s ‘post neo-liberal policymaking’ or Trumpist populism.”  And Douthat’s suggestions don’t even address how to fund long-term aid to Ukraine while reducing spending to control America’s “unsustainable” national debt.          

Pervasive materialism and hedonism indicate that education and affluence will not protect American democracy from the corruptions of greed and crony capitalism.   Providing for pragmatic altruism is essential to a stable democracy, and that requires freedom with social and economic justice.  That doesn’t require economic equality, only equality under just laws. 


Ross Douthat has said “that Neither Trumpism Nor Bidenomics Has an Answer to Inflation. Douthat asserts that The right’s populism and the left’s socialism were hardly models of rigor and consistency, but behind both Donald Trump’s ascent and Bernie Sanders’s popularity lay an array of concerns about problems the existing elite consensus didn’t seem well equipped to deal with — the downsides of free trade and China-America intertwinement, the painfully slow recovery from the Great Recession, the rising costs of health care and education. “much of the Biden administration’s economic agenda has been designed with full-employment stimulus, the big infrastructure spending deal, the experiments with industrial policy, the attempt at student-loan forgiveness, the push for family-friendly tax policy, the trade brinkmanship with China: As much or more than Trump’s White House, this has been a post-neoliberal administration. Politically, the debate about whether Biden has gotten the post-neoliberal mixture just right clearly matters less than the fact that a post-neoliberal agenda has no clear answer to inflation. Instead, all of the ideas that came out of the mid-2010s reckoning with neoliberalism’s limits assume a certain degree of fiscal capacity. Which, in those years, is exactly what we had: more room than the fiscal scolds and deficit hawks assumed for spending and for tax cuts, more room to run the economy hot, more room to debate whether a Green New Deal or a big beautiful infrastructure bill or a pro-family tax code should be the most important populist priority. But they are no longer responsive to the biggest problem facing voters: prices that keep climbing or just feel stubbornly high, a cost of living increase that doesn’t just affect positional goods like college but hits you at the grocery store, gas station and everywhere else besides.” Douthat says “the hope, for Biden’s fortunes especially, has been that the Fed really can do it all by itself, that post-neoliberal fiscal policy can avoid hard choices so long as monetary policy comes through. Is any sort of American populism, be it Bidenomics or Trumpism, capable of offering a responsible program under those kinds of circumstances?

I suppose one should say something constructive here, but the answer is pretty obviously no. Instead, if post-neoliberal policymaking is to continue, in either Biden’s second term or a Trump’s, it will do so only because of the careful ministrations of the most credentialed, anti-democratic, anti-populist institution in America.

Doutat concluded, “Only the Federal Reserve can protect post-neoliberalism from its own limitations. Only elites can keep populism alive.”  But Douthat doesn’t address the massive and increasing national debt that haunts liberal spending. See t

On an open convention for the Democrats, see Democrats Have a Better Option than Biden (Ezra Kleine) at

On Musings on How Altruistic Values Can Prevent a Dysfunctional Democracy (2/3/24) at

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Musings on Strengthening America's "Unsustainable" Economy in Perilous Times

         Rudy Barnes, Jr.

The Great Depression lasted from 1929 until WWII, and there are few survivors of that time of fiscal austerity and economic hardships that led up to WWII.  Today America has the strongest economy in the world, and its people are indifferent to a massive national debt and spending their money with wild abandon in their materialistic and hedonistic culture.

There are two major indications of difficult times ahead.  First, America’s massive and growing national debt of over $34 trillion that Jerome Powell has asserted is not sustainable.  Second, the threat of Russia and China seeking to wrest global dominance from the West.  Those factors have ominous consequences, especially in an election year.

Both President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump, who lead America’s two-party duopoly, have ignored those economic threats to domestic and foreign policy.  They know that voters will reject the economic burdens needed to control the spiraling national debt while countering the aggression of Russia in Ukraine, and of China in Taiwan.

Trump has been outspoken on that issue, saying “he’d encourage Russia to attack those NATO allies who don’t pay their bills;” and “once critical GOP officials now stand by Trump after his NATO comments.”  Jamie Dimon “believes U.S.debt is the most predictable crisis in history, and experts say it could cost Americans their homes, spending power and national security.”

Over the years, liberal Keynesian economists have insisted that Americans need not be concerned about the national debt, but the warnings of Jerome Powell and Jamie Dimon have shattered that illusion.  And Trump’s reckless invitation that Russia attack NATO members if they don’t pay their bills has obviously weakened NATO.  What can be done?

The problem of the debt is the cost of maintaining it indefinitely, with neither party expressing a willingness to promote austerity measures.  Dimon has observed: “If the government is issuing debt to pay for high-return projects, then it’s good.”  But our national debt doesn’t produce high returns; and the interest cost for one year could equal the defense budget.

       William G. Gale has observed that “If government creates debt, it has to be financed with taxes or money creation.  If debt get’s out of hand [as it is now], “higher government debt increases interest rates.  [And] Money creation has historically been the (false) solution, as it is easier to issue money than to raise taxes, but it’s often more disastrous in the long term.”

In our perilous times, there are no easy options to strengthen America’s unsustainable economy without worsening its fiscal and political mess with more taxes.  Dimon has noted that “this is about the security of the world.  We need a stronger military and a stronger America, and we need it now.”  Holman W. Jenkins considers both Biden and Trump “can-kicking politicians” who will avoid the unpleasant truths needed to strengthen America’s “unsustainable” economy.  


Jerome Powell, Chair of the Federal Reserve, has said “the U.S. is on an unsustainable fiscal path.  That means that the U.S. national debt that now tops $34 Trillion is growing faster than the economy.”  While some Senate Democrats urged Powell to cut interest rates, Powell “pushed back on any implication that politics would play a role in the Fed’s decision on interest rates.”

See also, After Jamie Dimon warns of a market rebellion against $34 trillion national debt, Fed’s  Jerome Powell says It’s past time for “an adult conversation” about sustainable fiscal policy.  See htttps://

Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan Chase believes the U.S. debt is “the most predictable crisis in history” and experts say it could cost Americans their homes,spending power  and national security. “More than a decade ago when national debt sat at a measly $19 trillion, America's former joint chiefs of staff chairman Admiral Michael Mullen said debt was the top threat to national security. Fourteen years on, former Speaker Ryan told the Bipartisan Policy Centre in January that before long the government will be spending more on servicing its debt than it is on investing in the Pentagon. Dimon added: “This is about the security of the world. We need a stronger military, we need a stronger America. We need it now.  It’s a risky thing for all of us.”



A surge in credit card debt has made consumers complicit in America’s debt crisis.  According to a new WalletHub report, Americans are spending like they never have before — and are showing little signs of slowing down. The United States as a whole has over $1.1 trillion in credit card debt, over $1.6 trillion in auto loan debt and a few hundred billion dollars in personal-loan debt,” per WalletHub. High levels of debt can have profound effects on the economy, influencing everything from individual financial stability to national economic growth and stability. A country burdened by debt will have fewer resources to create a prosperous future. “Rising debt reduces business investment and slows economic growth,” per the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. “It also increases expectations of higher rates of inflation and erosion of confidence in the U.S. dollar.” See

Biden has not mentioned reducing the national debt under his Bidenomics, nor has Trump   suggested any reduced public spending, or aid to Ukraine.  Instead, Trump criticized NATO nations for failing to pay enough to NATO, and on February 13 Trump told cheering supporters that “he would not support any NATO nation attacked by Russia if “they did not pay enough to NATO, and that he would 'encourage' Russia to 'do whatever the hell they want.'  See also, GOP Officials, Once Critical, Stand by Trump After his NATO Comments at

On Biden and Trump as two politicians who are “kicking the debt can down the road and not owning up to the prospect of a global war,” see America is having the wrong election at

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Musings on Preventing Crimes Against Humanity in Israel, Gaza and Ukraine

Rudy Barnes, Jr.

America remains the world’s most powerful nation, and its democracy has made Americans masters of their destiny.  But the destiny of America as a nation depends on how it uses its formidable powers with other nations--as with Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza, and with Ukraine in defending its democracy against Russia’s unprovoked aggression.

South Africa charged Israel with genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, but Russia has not been charged for its similar crimes in Ukraine.  While the U.S. has launched retaliatory air strikes against Iranian terrorist proxies in Iraq and Syria for strikes against Israel and its allies, the U.S. has continued to support Israel’s use of excessive force against Palestinians in Gaza.

President Biden ordered strikes against Iran’s terrorist proxies in Iraq and Syria, but neither Biden nor Congress has approved additional aid to Ukraine.  In an election year the Jewish vote seems more important than challenging Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law and the Law of War, dimming America’s beacon of libertarian democracy. 

Terrorists in the Middle East have not been deterred by U.S. bombing.  Biden says he doesn’t want to widen the war, but he has done that by bombing Iranian proxies in Iraq and Syria.  So what’s the message?  Maybe America should be bombing Iran rather than its proxies in other nations.  War in the Middle East has never been a subtle game of brinkmanship.

Netanyahu’s unlawful aggression against Palestinians in Gaza is a continuing cause of violence in the Middle East, just as Putin’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine is the cause of the war in Ukraine.  Both Israel and Russia are democracies, and both are committing war crimes to further their political objectives.  America should sanction both Russia and Israel.

While international humanitarian law and the Law of War are not panaceas that will end the wars in Israel or Ukraine, they are essential to minimizing the ravages of those wars on non-combatants.  America should condition U.S. foreign aid to Israel on its compliance with international law.  Netayahu would likely comply and consider a two-state resolution of the war.

In 1863 the Lieber Code became a precursor of  the Law of War in the U.S., but in 1865 it was ignored by Union General Sherman when he burned Columbia, S.C.  Today enforcing international humanitarian law and the Law of War are the best means of preventing crimes against humanity, so that U.S. foreign aid should be conditioned on compliance with those laws. 

Israel and Ukraine are both democracies--one an ally of the U.S. and the other its adversary--and both have violated international humanitarian laws and the Law of War.  While Israel has a right to defend itself subject to international law, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was unprovoked.  An international military tribunal like the 1946 Nuremberg war trials should be convened to hold Israel and Russia accountable for their crimes against humanity.


On Israel’s Self-Destruction: Netanyahu, the Palestinians, and the Price of Neglect in Foreign Affairs, by Aluf Benn, Editor in Chief of Haaretb, Benn discusses Israel’s history, beginning with Moshe Dayan, and covering the rise of Netanyahu, and he concludes: “Ultimately, then, Israel’s future may look very much like its recent history. With or without Netanyahu, “Conflict management” and “mowing the grass” will remain state policy—which means more occupation, settlements, and displacement. This strategy might appear to be the least risky option, at least for an Israeli public scarred by the horrors of October 7 and deaf to new suggestions of peace. But it will only lead to more catastrophe. Israelis cannot expect stability if they continue to ignore the Palestinians and reject their aspirations, their story, and even their presence.  This is the lesson the country should have learned from Dayan’s age-old warning: Israel must reach out to Palestinians and to each other if they want a livable and respectful coexistence.  See’s Self-Destruction | Foreign Affairs.

On What Zionism Means to Netanyahu and Biden  (10/28/23), see

On Why Criticism of Netanyahu’s Militant Zionism is not Antisemitic (12/16/23), see

On How The Law of War Fails to Protect Civilians in Wartime (11/11/23), see .

On What International Law Can’t Achieve in Gaza and Ukraine, see Janna Dill, Time, January 26, 2024, at

On What South Africa Really Won at the ICJ. For much of the world, Pretoria has restored its reputation as a moral beacon—at America’s expense.  See

On A Biden Doctrine for the Middle East Is Forming. And It’s Big.  By Thomas L. Friedman, NYTimes, Jan 31, 2024.

On the Stakes of the Lawsuit Alleging Biden is Complicit in Palestinian Genocide, see

On the Nuremberg war trials of 1945-46 as a model for holding Israel and Russia accountable for their

crimes against humanity, see

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Musings on How Altruistic Values Can Prevent A Dysfunctional Democracy

             By Rudy Barnes, Jr.

Altruistic values are needed to promote the common good In America’s pluralistic democracy, and American values are reflected in its elections.  Current polls indicate that Donald Trump is likely to defeat President Joe Biden in November.  If Trump is elected for a second term, America is likely to become a dysfunctional democracy.

Is a second Trump term inevitable?  If it happens, we can’t blame it on an uneducated electorate or lack of job opportunities.  Over 44% of Americans have a college degree, and the unemployment rate is under 4%; yet in 2016 a majority elected Trump, and most still support him.  They are white “Christians” who, like Trump, ignore the altruistic teachings of Jesus.

In America, tribal partisan loyalties outweigh providing for the common good.  Biden is not as nasty and narcissistic as Trump, but he favors his Democratic constituencies, contributing to America’s polarized partisan politics.  Race remains a major factor in politics, with most Blacks voting Democratic, and most Whites claiming to be Christians and voting Republican.

In the cosmic battle between the forces of  good and evil, a shrinking and racially divided church has lost its moral compass and failed to promote the altruistic morality taught by Jesus.  God’s will is to  reconcile and redeem humanity, while Satan’s will is to divide and conquer.  The problem is that Satan does a convincing imitation of God in politics and the church.

God’s will is summarized in the greatest commandment to love God and our neighbors of other races and religions as we love ourselves.  It’s taken from the Hebrew Bible, was taught by Jesus and accepted as a common word of faith and politics by Islamic scholars to provide for the common good; but the Abrahamic religions have ignored its altruistic moral imperatives.


When the church subordinated the altruistic and universal moral teachings of Jesus to exclusivist church doctrines that were never taught by Jesus, it ignored the moral stewardship of democracy and enabled white Christian charlatans to promote Donald Trump as a political messiah.  In that way, the church has promoted Satan’s will over God’s will.

The failure of  the church to promote the altruistic teachings of Jesus in politics has been the major cause of the dysfunction of democracy in America, Russia and Israel.  The Russian Orthodox Church supports Putin’s unprovoked aggression in Ukraine, while Netanyahu is using militant Zionism to promote Jewish nationalism to force Palestinians out of Gaza.

Today none of the Abrahamic religions promotes the altruistic morality of the greatest commandment as a common word of faith and politics.  If they did, those religions would all be moral stewards of democracy.  Instead, the failure of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to promote altruistic morality as a common word of faith and democracy has corrupted the moral legitimacy of both their religions and their politics.



Modern monotheistic religions have condemned the dualism of good and evil that acknowledges that the world is in a cosmic battle between the competing forces of good and evil.  See  Dualism: Satan’s Evil Versus God’s Goodness,  By Rudy Barnes, Jr., Nov 22, 2015 at 

Musings of a Maverick Methodist on Good and Evil in Religion and Politics (11/7/20):

        Ignoring the existence of evil is an impossible reality for monotheists.  According to the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, those who believe that God is all good, all powerful and the creator of all things cannot also believe that evil exists independent of God’s goodness.  That would make them dualists rather than monotheists or Trinitarians.  Dualism originated with the Gnostics of ancient Persia, who believed that the forces of darkness (evil) were in a cosmic battle with the forces of light (good); and Sacks acknowledged that dualism is found in both Judaism and Christianity.

Rabbi Sacks addressed dualism in the context of religious violence, and he explained that “Dualism entered Judaism and Christianity when it became easier to attribute the sufferings of the world to an evil force rather than to the work of God.”  For Sacks, God is the source of the bad as well as the good, judgment as well as forgiveness, and justice as well as love, so there is no room for Satan in Sacks’ monotheism.  Sacks explains that “…the bad God does is a response [punishment] to the bad we do.”  

Sacks articulates a dualistic concept of an omnipotent and universal God in matters of justice, and particular in favoring the Jews as a chosen people.  God loves and judges, forgives and punishes; and Sacks acknowledges that dualism simplifies the complexity of that concept.  Sacks attributes religious violence to a “…pathological dualism that sees humanity as …divided between the good and irredeemably bad” in an Us versus Them dichotomy of fundamentalist and exclusivist religions that assert one true faith with all others false, and condemned by God.  

Jesus was a Jew who was tempted by Satan before predicting a coming kingdom of God based on love and mercy rather than on fear, divine law, and judgment; it was a spiritual kingdom opposed to Satan’s worldly domain.  Jesus and the Jews of his day spoke of Satan’s evil as opposed to God’s goodness, and Jesus exorcised demonic minions of Satan.  In The Lord’s Prayer Jesus taught us to pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven, and to deliver us from evil.  Muhammad also spoke of Satan’s evil versus God’s goodness.

Jesus taught that God does not favor one religion over others, and that all who do God’s will, summarized in the greatest commandment to love God and one’s neighbor as oneself, are spiritual brothers and sisters in the family of God.  The Hebrew Bible teaches that those who are obedient to Mosaic Law are rewarded, while the disobedient are punished.  The Qur’an teaches that only those who believe in the Qur’an as the immutable word of God and follow its holy laws (shari’a), will be saved, while all unbelievers are condemned to eternal damnation.  

Such exclusivist views give rise to what Sacks calls altruistic evil, which is based on the belief that God saves His chosen (Us) and condemns all others (Them).  Satan uses the theme of fear and condemnation in a convincing imitation of God, and some of his best performances are in the synagogue, church and mosque.  How do we tell the difference?  God reconciles and redeems us with love and mercy, while Satan divides and conquers with fear, hate and violence.   

All religions—and for monotheists, even God—can be the source of good and evil.  The seeds of evil germinate from a fear that progress and modernism threaten traditional religious beliefs, and that fear is the motivating force for religious fundamentalism.  Most Jews and Christians in Western democracies are not religious fundamentalists and share belief in the greatest commandment as a common word of faith.  But most Muslims in Islamic cultures are fundamentalists who fear libertarian political beliefs are the enemy of Islam and Allah/God.

In a world of increasing religious diversity, justice depends on all religions sharing the libertarian values of democracy, human rights and the secular rule of law.  Those values are prevalent in Western religions but rejected by Islamism.  Unlike Moses and Muhammad who taught the primacy of holy law, Jesus taught the primacy of love over law.  For God’s reconciling love and mercy to defeat Satan’s divisive fear and hate, religions need to reject their exclusivist and fundamentalist doctrines and emphasize universal religious reconciliation. 

Rabbi Sacks was right to attribute religious violence to a pathological dualism in religion that considers unbelievers as evil, but wrong to dismiss the idea of a cosmic battle between spiritual forces of good and evil.  That must remain a mystery known only to God.  The challenge for people of faith, whether monotheists or dualists (or both), is to do God’s will and love all their neighbors, including unbelievers, as they love themselves.

Notes to Dualism: Satan’s Evil Versus God’s Goodness:


The quotes from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks are from his book, Not In God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence (Schocken Books, New York, 2015 at pp 49,51 & 53). For a book review, see

On the origin of Satan as the personification of evil in 1st century Christianity, see Elaine Pagels, The Origins of Satan (Rndom House, New York, 1995).

The Editorial Board of The Washington Post characterized the Paris attacks as evil. See  The editorial asks, “What can containment mean in a war like this?”  For my response see A Containment Strategy to Defeat Islamist Terrorism, November 1, 2015; Tough Love and the Duty to Protect, November 8, 2015; and American Exceptionalism: The Power of Persuasion or Coercion, November 15, 2015.    

Paul Waldman refers to the debate over whether to use the words “radical Islam” or to avoid using the word Islam in referring to Islamist terrorism as a “silly, distracting” debate.  See  It is a legitimate and important debate since Islamist terrorism must be recognized as a fundamentalist (and evil) form of radical Islam, or Islamism, in order to be effectively countered within Islam.

In the battle against ISIS and Islamist terrorism, experts have explained how global powers can smash ISIS and agree that it will take religious reform within Islam.  Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamist, has criticized those who say that Islamist terrorism has nothing to do with Islam as disingenuous.  It will also take putting the defeat of ISIS ahead of ousting Assad from power in Syria, and establishing legitimate governments in Islamist cultures which provide “fair justice” (that must include libertarian human rights, beginning with the freedoms of religion and speech).

On the objective of Islamist terrorism to polarize Western society by destroying the “grayzone” of tolerance to pave the way to Jihad, see ttps://

On the Paris attacks as “precisely chosen targets” chosen by ISIS, with Paris as “the capital of prostitution and vice,” see

For an earlier commentary On Altruism, see Altruism: The Missing Ingredient in American Christianity and Democracy at (3/31/18).

Both Christianity and Democracy share an essential ingredient: altruism.  It’s defined as concern for the public welfare, and it’s conspicuously absent in American religion and politics.  Jesus taught altruism as a moral imperative of faith in the greatest commandment to love God and our neighbors as we love ourselves, including our neighbors of other races and religions; and it is recognized as a common word of faith for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.

Providing for the public welfare, or common good, is as much a priority in democratic politics as it is in religion; but that civic value is missing in America’s increasingly self-centered, materialistic and hedonistic culture.  That became evident in 2016 when America elected a narcissist as its president, and this past year Trump confirmed his utter lack of altruism.

On Easter eve 2018, in a nation where the vast majority of voters consider themselves Christians, there is little sense of common purpose, much less concern for the public welfare.  America is now more polarized by partisan politics along racial lines than since the Civil War, and Trump’s election has exacerbated that polarization.  We can only hope that America can be resurrected, reconciled and redeemed as a nation of people who truly care for one another.

Unfortunately, American politics are becoming even more polarized, with little evidence of reconciliation.  Demographic data indicates a decrease in white voters, an increase in voters over 50 years old, an increase in college educated voters, and an increase in those who claim no religious preferences, all of which have widened political and religious differences in America.

The percentage of white voters in the U.S. has dropped by 14%, with a decrease of 16% among Democrats and 9% among Republicans.  Among voters over 50 years old, there has been an overall increase of 10%, with 18% among Republicans and only 5% among Democrats.  Overall there has been an 8% increase of those with a college education, with a 15% increase among Democrats, but no change among Republicans.  As for religion, Americans claiming no religion has increased by 16%, with 24% among Democrats and 8% among Republicans.

Partisan politics are becoming more polarized with competing identity groups, and the church is not promoting the altruism needed for political reconciliation.  Instead, the evangelical wing of the church actively supports divisive radical-right politics, while mainstream Christian denominations avoid political issues, even those essential to providing for the common good.

This can be attributed to the church emphasizing exclusivist beliefs, such as Paul’s atonement doctrine, rather than the universalist and altruistic teachings of Jesus summarized in the greatest commandment.  While that emphasis has allowed Christianity to become the world’s most popular religion, it has ignoring the self-denial and sacrificial love taught by Jesus.

America has always been diverse, but that diversity has become a weakness rather than a strength.  America seems to have lost its sense of common destiny and purpose, with divisive identity groups in both political parties promoting tribalism rather than political reconciliation.  Republicans have become a white radical-right party, while Democrats have become a leftist conglomeration of minority groups.  Neither party relates to moderate conservatives.    

A nationwide nonpartisan moral revival is needed to restore altruism as a religious and political virtue in America, and that will require religious and political revolutionaries willing to challenge the divisive tribal norms of  religious and political institutions.  It will take a 21st century reformation to resurrect the altruistic spirit that gave birth to American democracy.


After 20 years, data shows dramatic changes in party alignment based on fewer white voters, more voters over 50, more with a college education and more disclaiming religion.  See

Political reconciliation is needed for our polarized politics, but it must be based on shared altruistic values; and the values of Donald Trump and his supporters are not altruistic, but divisive and hostile to providing the common good.  In response to Henry Olsen urging conservatives “to make peace with a Trump dominated movement” and seek “fusionism” with them, Michael Gerson has advised conservatives to forego any “fusion” with the Trump regime because of the damage they have done “in the realm of values and norms.”  Gerson urged elected leaders to “affirm our common bonds,” and “for principled conservatives to hear the call of moral duty and stand up for their beliefs until this madness passes.  As it will.”  See

In a recent poll “61% of Republicans considered Trump a good role model for their children.”  The dramatic difference in values and lack of altruism in Trump’s “Christian” supporters and those  conservatives before them is evident in recent interviews of Trump supporters.  See

In 1834 Alex DeTocqueville observed that Democracy in America flourished with a diversity of social and religious organizations and was dependent on shared altruistic religious and political values that balanced individual rights with providing for the common good.  That was before the Civil War and the residual racial animosity that has haunted America ever since.