Myth #1: The purpose of government is to advance the common good.
In modern American politics, the concept of the common good no longer has any practical meaning. It hasn’t for decades. The phrase might work for ceremonial occasions — inaugural addresses, prayer breakfasts, that sort of thing — but finds little application in the actual business of governing.
When did politics at the national level become a zero-sum game? Was it during Richard Nixon’s presidency? Bill Clinton’s? While the question may be of academic interest, more pertinent is the fact that, with Trump in the White House, there is no need to pretend otherwise. Indeed, Trump’s popularity with his “base” stems in part from his candid depiction of his political adversaries not as a loyal opposition but an enemy force. Trump’s critics return the favor: their loathing for the president and — now that Trump’s generals are gone — anyone in his employ knows no bounds.
It’s the Mitch McConnell Rule elevated to the status of dogma: If your side wins, mine loses. Therefore, nothing is more important than my side winning. Compromise is for wusses. (Andrew Bacevich in TomDispatch. His most recent book is “Twilight of the American Century”, published by the University of Notre Dame Press)
The deliberate and knowing promotion of division, racism and hatred of your fellow citizens is anti-Epicurean. Epicurus, were he alive to day, would probably be discovered in Canada, having fled a country where ataraxia and polite debate are for wimps, wimps who are stupid enough to have served their country in the military or the civil service, and are glad to give something back to the land they were born in.