Divide et impera. Divide to conquer. Julius Caesar knew it. He wasn't the first. He's certainly not the last.
Robert A. Heinlein made use of the concept in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress:
"Manuel, you wish to see Luna free."
"You know I do."
"You also know that Terra can defeat us."
"Sure. No projection ever gave us anything close to even money. So don't see why you set out to antagonize--
"Please. Since they can inflict their will on us, our only chance lies in weakening their will. That was why we had to go to Terra. To be divisive. To create many opinions. The shrewdest of the great generals in China's history once said that perfection in war lay in so sapping the enemy's will that he surrenders without fighting. In that maxim lies our ultimate purpose and our most pressing danger."
I added the emphasis of the last sentence.
Politicians have employed divide-to-conquer strategies since nations were first founded:
- Find "issues" that fragment the populace into contending groups. If you can't find them, create them.
- Identify a subset of those groups sufficient to constitute a ruling majority.
- Promise each of them what it wants at the others' expense.
- Leave worries about the details till after power is securely yours; campaign promises are not enforceable.
Ponder the political trend of the century past. The presidential campaign of 1912 is a good starting point. The pattern is there; all you need do to see it is to look.
And now, a few words from the inimitable Fred Reed:
Societies work best when they have a uniform culture. The next best thing is a dominant culture to which small numbers of people of similar culture must accommodate themselves. We see this in America with the Chinese, who are studious, industrious, abide by the laws, and do not set themselves in opposition to the ambient European ethos. They are few enough, similar enough, and quiet enough that it works.
But blacks are too many, too different, and too culturally raucous. Some syncretism occurs around the edges, yet even the middle classes of the two races mix seldom and somewhat awkwardly.
I do not see how things can change. The sprawling black regions of the cities are so homogeneous, so big, and so isolated from the white world, television aside, as not to be susceptible to outside influence. Whites do not go in, and blacks do not come out. A steady-state model of the universe, so to speak.
We are screwed.
Reed is speaking here of the race war brewing over the Zimmerman / Martin contretemps, but there are other cultural and quasi-cultural cleavages of equal importance: Hispanic immigrants. Muslims. Single mothers. Isolation-minded religious groups.
There is great irony in noting that of all identifiable groups, immigrants from Indochina, where America fought a terrible, nationally ravaging war, have been the most willing to accommodate themselves to America's dominant culture. Yet even these have formed next-to-impenetrable enclaves in parts of the Western United States.
And politicians like it just fine.
I don't know how the divide-to-conquer process can be turned against our political class. Coalition majorities are unstable, owing to the voting power of marginal blocs in a bare-majority coalition, but the political riposte is to form a new coalition by enlisting new blocs to replace the querulous ones, or better yet, to use the prospect of being outside a potential new majority to quell any embryonic uprising. Note how hoary this tactic is: Federalist Alexander Hamilton used it to persuade New York to join in ratifying the Constitution.
One way or another, this is the enemy's big gun. It's the weapon we must contrive to spike to have any chance at all of restoring freedom, justice, and political sanity to the United States.
And now, as I've said so often in the past: