Edward S. Beck
Edward S. Beck

This is no longer about right vs. left; it’s about fundamentalism vs. democracy

There is a distinct relationship between the anti-vaxxer, anti-masking, voter suppression efforts made in several states and the brutal dogmas and policies of tyrannical religious regimes emerging throughout the world. Pundits have been mistakenly analyzing these issues through the lens of Left vs. Right, instead of Fundamentalism vs. Democracy which is leading to many mistakes in terms of political, diplomatic and military responses.

The Left vs. Right paradigm has always suggested several paths to similar goals and sometimes common ground through different paths, especially in democracies.

Right vs Left has always implied there is a middle ground of Center Right and Center Left where folks can agree and agree to disagree.

Fundamentalism vs. Democracy suggest two completely different approaches to life itself with separate goals and very little middle ground. Left vs. Right implies moderates and aisle crossing and compromise, while Fundamentalism implies true believers vs. believers in many paths and agreement to not believe.

Fundamentalists believe in one true belief over others while those engaging in Democracy believe their can be several ways to achieve a path to a goal and that frequently compromising, coalitions and cooperation with others enhances support for the path chosen.

What has happened in recent years, political groups believing in a Democracy would work together to advance the greater agenda. Sometimes they would fight like cats and dogs and other times work cooperatively to get things done.

However in recent years we have seen American political parties and likewise Fundamentalist political groups international play the “winner take all game” to the point of exclusion and disenfranchisement of others.

Both American parties are fighting Fundamentalist dogmatic takeovers in what were once diverse democratically oriented political parties. Both parties are fighting their fundamentalist extremists from allowing the tails to wag the dog.

Sadly the fundamentalists have won the fight in the Republican party, thus removing a legitimate label of being Right. The fundamentalists of the Democratic party have co-opted the terms progressive, liberal and left for the fundamentalism of anti-Israelism, antisemitism and questionable and sometimes failed oppressive political ideologies.

As a result, many of us are living having to chose between which party radical fundamentalists will do the least harm to those of us in the “live and let live” center who just want to be good people, good neighbors and live life in peace and harmony with one another without fear of prejudice.

Inherent in both the Fundamentalism in both the parties is the loss of of individual control to make individual legal decisions within the confines of laws that embody personal freedom and societal responsibility. Psychologically and politically, there is little difference in the ideological Fundamentalism in a party wanting to limit the right to vote, control a woman’s reproductive rights and boycott and sanction a single country threatened daily with mass destruction for trying to defend itself ethically after being in a continued state of war for over 70 years after being established internationally as a homeland for the victims of actual real apartheid and genocide without calling out other international injustices and war crime far more treacherous and blatant which has resulted in an uptake in incidents of antisemitism. Neither are legitimate manifestations of Left or Right ideology. They are neither progressive or liberal nor conservative and tradition. They are radical manifestations of Fundamentalism and have no place in the discourse of Democracy. They are manifestations of the xenophobia, antisemitism and racism of neo-Fascists and radical genocidal Fundamentalists and have no place in a true Democracy.

Also inherent in this new political radical Fundamentalism which is such a danger to us is the culture of personality and the perpetuation, repetition and eventual believing in some very big lies, whether they be “Stop The Steal,” or ” Israel is a Genocidal Apartheid State” or “Mandating Masks is Unconstitutional” or ” Jews Enjoy ‘Jewish Privilege’ or ‘Zionism is Racism.’ ”

We need to learn from history, where, in fact, Fascists were elected democratically in Europe in the 1930s and look what happened there. Is that what we want in the United States. Do we what the White Supremacists, Christian Taliban or the hate-filled antisemitic supporters of our strongest Middle Easter allies who want to eliminate them to take over this government. Again, this is not about right or left. It’s about hateful Fundamentalism vs. a true Democracy.
I think not. I hope not, I pray that we don’t, as there will be no hope for the increasing number of diverse people and visions and version of truth that will come to this country to live the American dream to escape the oppression of extremism and fundamentalism. We must see the difference now or we are condemned to fall victim to radical Fundamentalism before we even know it.

We only have to look at the big lies and fundamentalist techniques that were employed in the January 6, 2021 Insurrection coup attempt at the Capitol in Washington DC to see how close we came to a politically radical  fundamentalist take over to understand, this isn’t about right or left, it’s about domination and power over good and evil.

Think about hope popular the radical Fundamentalists have become in states like Texas and Florida, in New York, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Missouri. Make no mistake, extremists Fundamentalists are already here and gaining power and if we are not careful, we will be involved more in struggling for our Freedoms.

About the Author
Retired College Professor ( Penn State University and others), President Emeritus and Co-Founder Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. Professional and Community. Founder, Publisher and Editor Kol Central Pa, Residing in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania
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