Dividing by two isn’t very hard. But if the divisor is large the resultant halves will also be quite large. The disposition of large countries has never been homogeneous no matter the dense accretion of national myths. Typically, there is a degree of truth on either side of internal disagreements. It is rare for one side to be completely wrong about all the important controversies that engage the attention of the whole. But the Unites States over the past decade or so has managed to divide along true and false – a split that is virtually without parallel among the foolishness of nations.

Consider the litany of horribles that separate most Americans into opposing camps. Here are some of the issues that seem on the same side of every partition:

  1. Gender fluidity
  2. Same sex marriage
  3. Non-enforcement of conventional laws
  4. Weak or non-existent standards of election laws
  5. Contempt for differing views
  6. Poor analytic skills
  7. A tendency to violence
  8. Enforced uniformity of thought
  9. The perversion of science
  10. The law as a weapon rather than an instrument of justice
  11. The media unwed to truth and accuracy
  12. An insane and authoritarian reaction to a moderate respiratory epidemic
  13. A general separation of reality from conviction

The list could be extended, but its general nature is easily apparent. About half the nation is convinced of a litany of propositions that on their surface are so absurd as to beggar belief. And worse, the segment devoted to these flights from reality thinks itself the best educated and informed of the society it inhabits. This self deception is integral to the collapse of education in the country – a purposefully self inflicted wound. An “elite’ education seems to carry no advantage or distinction, rather it seems more like a scar than a badge of accomplishment.

A country cannot endure as a fable masquerading as a system for longer than the briefest of interludes. Facts, no matter how unpleasant or denied, will out. Fairy tales often have gruesome endings. Living happily ever after is often what happens when everyone has been suitably punished. When all is said and done, the divided fool babbles on.