Editor’s Note: This is another guest article, this time by Paul Otto, Professor of History at George Fox University. This article originally appeared in Capital Commentary, a a weekly current-affairs publication of the Center for Public Justice in Washington, D.C. You can find the original article here.
Most Republicans and Democrats know that they associate with their parties because they are conservative or liberal, respectively. A close scrutiny of each party actually demonstrates that neither the party nor the conservative and liberal ideologies feeding them are monolithic entities–a diversity of opinions can be found among members of both parties. Yet compromise between members of the two parties and constructive dialogue between their followers often seems impossible to accomplish. Why is this? I posit that, despite the nuances within each group, broad generalizations about the underlying commitments of each party are possible. In fact, those broad commitments operate as fundamental beliefs. Understanding them clarifies the conflict and distrust between the two major political groups and points to the difficulties in pursuing justice in the current political environment. Continue reading