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Is the Fight on the Right a Civil War or a Paradigm Shift? Or Maybe Both?

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I think much of the current chaos in American politics and the internecine battles among those of us who oppose the far left progressives are the result of a paradigm shift taking shape.

Physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn is credited with explaining the concept of a paradigm shift. The high level definition of a paradigm shift is just a fundamental change in the way something is done or how it is thought about. Kuhn’s work explained the process through which the shift happens in science. Here’s a very rough explanation of the process as I understand it.

If theory X is the dominant paradigm accepted by the scientific world but it is incomplete or incorrect, research will yield anomalous results. The anomalous results individually don’t disprove theory X but over time they build up and some scientists start to argue for theory Y. Often there is a bitter struggle as those who have spent careers studying and teaching theory X refuse to accept theory Y. They attempt to explain any anomalies in terms of theory X which only leads to more anomalies. Theory Y may not become the dominant paradigm until the theory X holdouts literally die off.

So how does all that gobbledygook apply to politics?

Let’s say that our theory X is the idea that the Republican Party is the party of conservatism and Constitutionally limited small government. Under that paradigm, any conservative is therefore obligated to align himself with the Republicans.

The tea party movement was mostly an expression of theory X. We fought back against the biased media who attacked the GOP. We held our nose to vote for John McCain and Mitt Romney. We got two terms of Obama. We elected more Republicans to Congress and offices in state governments, but it didn’t move us closer to a restoration of constitutionally limited government and responsible spending. The anomalies piled up. Calling attention to them was treated as heresy or crackpot-ism.

The resulting conflict led to the nomination and subsequent election of Donald Trump which led to a flood of anomalies. The people who were outraged by President Clinton’s poor character suddenly embraced a man just like him. Also anomalous was the fact that he wasn’t even a conservative and had no particularly identifiable ideology. In fact, he wasn’t even a Republican until very recently. Ironically, he was elected by people angry at being betrayed by pretend conservatives.

There’s no shortage of anomalies to make us question our theory X, but different people have different thresholds of how many anomalies they can explain away.

Some of us are done trying. Many left the Republican Party altogether. In my experience they tend to be people who are thinking in the long term rather than just election to election.

Others are demanding that we get back in step with the dominant paradigm. Some of them are people who were once the heretics and crackpots at our sides. We are condemned for not defending a reprobate, self destructive, pseudo-Republican against biased attacks from a media he intentionally antagonized while spoon feeding them examples of his dishonesty and incompetence. We are expected to believe that attaching ourselves to him politically is not an intellectually suicidal act.

What is theory Y then? Maybe it is an Article V convention of States. Maybe it is a new party. I honestly don’t know. At one point many of us thought that changing the Republican Party from within was the way forward. Recent history shows that to be a fruitless enterprise.

To those who still haven’t given up on theory X, I suggest that they pay more attention to the ever growing stack of anomalies than attacking those who no longer believe that theory X is the way out of the political mess.

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