Saturday, October 31, 2009

Advanced Demonstrations In Not Getting It

by Smitty

Mark Pascal, over at The Moderate Voice serves up the aristocratic softballs:
For over 200 years we developed a preference within our constitutional system for just two parties – essentially the Ying and Yang of our unique history. Some have argued that we could use up to 5 political parties, with a new center and two additional extremes to the left and right along with the Republicans and Democrats. Without sizable financial support and charismatic leaders for all 5 points of view, plus some major changes in how we conduct Federal elections, I am unsure we could ever achieve such a multi-party system. And it might devolve into a free-for-all without effective party control that would result into more paralysis.
Except that we've always had more than two, and the dominant two or three have changed over time. If you're peddling 20/20 hindsight, at least be clear. But you at least hint that control is your main issue here, in addition to willingness to free-base the Constitution.
Over the past 20 years with power shifting between Republicans and Democrats, we have had seen some incremental changes that interrupt the continuous flow of relative inaction. This comports with a political system that is not in control of major events and at best reacts to some. Both our political parties have ossified a bit over the past decade as many elected officials have become captives of large campaign contributors and powerful special interests. Some may argue we already have achieved complete systemic paralysis, but I respectfully disagree.
No, there has been ~100 years of increased Federal control. Look at the action on the debt front. Of course the Federal government is reactive by design. Internationally, the US does not run the world, for all some seem to think that. Domestically, the whole point of the government is to support people figuring out their own destiny, de-conflicting as required.
It may be possible to see the growth of independent candidates that can win with just a plurality in 3-way elections is a distinct possibility for the U.S. Unfortunately, the results on governing our country would be anyone’s guess. After some reflection, most Republicans and Democrats might prefer a known opponent to an undulating group of people whose political, economic and social views are completely chimerical and unpredictable from issue to issue, and who have no party loyalty whatsoever.
Completly chimerical? What chimericals are you smoking? Parties merit as much loyalty as they received Constitutional mention: 0. We're all one 330-million strong United States party, where Federal matters are concenerd, and 50 separate parties below the 10th Amendment waterline.
With a strong independent contingency of elected representatives not aligned with any political pole, and who float back and forth, in and out, around and around, and often completely out of the entire playing field, we might end up with absolute paralysis that would also result in a total inability to articulate any coherent policy positions, whether they be conservative or liberal.
In other words, in a system where the voters elect principled representatives who remain un-owned by non-voter-based blocks like parties the potential for transparency is utterly terrifying.
There are limits to independent thought if it can never be focused anywhere. For each piece of legislation, not only would a dozen Senators need to be convinced, now 100 would be constantly in play. At that point, the only question would be "why bother?"
Exactly. What in the name of Phineas J. Whoopie would we do if Senators were not fretting about the NFL? So, if independent thought makes a fine crap filter, why are you so inimical, Mark?
There may be no party leaders left because no one could exercise any control when the participants cannot reliably calculate any group patterns or loyalties from week to week. Being ruled by a group of pure independents might prove to be exciting and entertaining, but no guarantee anything will ever get accomplished.
I'm willing to have a go at this theory. I want to test it to see if a large external threat will be less reliably managed in the absence of party control than, say, the Axis threat was under FDR. Because he certainly got way out in front of that one and saved millions of lives, didn't he? Oh, and the crushing debt burden brought on by his socialist policies was a big win, too. But you don't seem to notice the bills anywhere, Mark.
Over the past 30 years, Republicans have managed more party unity within their ranks so they have been more successful in promoting their agenda as compared to the Democrats. Due to their size and diversity, Democrats have been particularly poor at enforcing party discipline and that has been evident by their overall poor performance in actually getting their agenda passed, even when they have a clear majority.

Wow, talk about looking at the same facts and arriving at different conclusions. I'd re-state the last 30 decades (Reagan onward) as: those who love liberty are increasingly conscious. Incumbency and careerism amongst the ruling elite and their purportedly two-party system are bankrupting the country. An internet-fueled coalition of people with shred #1 of common sense are increasingly aware of the resurgence of aristocracy on the world stage, as bogus ploys such as government health care, global warming, and hate speech/crime laws are used as tools to crack down on liberty the world over.
However, demanding extreme fealty to a narrowly-defined party identity might shrink a party and permit the opposition to win and govern by default. But if the default winners still can't get their collective act together, then we are faced with continued stalemate and overall inaction. The overall success of any political party depends upon the particular leadership and cooperative talents of its member individuals, and how they can effectively work as a group to achieve specific goals.
Action action action. 1,990 pages of "it's more important to employ bureaucrats than for you to have freedom" isn't enough action for you? Would that the Speaker's Botox would break free and paralyze the whole House of KleptomaniacsRepresentatives, rather than see the action of the 111th Congress continue. The action we need is to streamline laws and dismantle the vast Federal bureaucracy, not enhance it.
This historical and constitutional preference for incremental slow change may have worked for the U.S. in the past when we were relatively isolated from each other and the rest of the world, and we were not a troubled global empire with more than 300 million inhabitants. Furthermore the rapid pace of change during the past decade will only escalate for the rest of the 21st Century. This is simply a result of our global communications and transportation systems, plus the actions of many other countries in an inter-connected global economy.
You bozo. The requirement to preclude tyranny is in no way diminished by globalization. Just because information moves rapidly around the world doesn't mean that the entropy of the human soul has lessened. Far from it. A Madoff can steal more than any non-governmental thief in human history. So, instead of agreeing with your apparent tendency towards centralization, I'd argue the exact opposite. In communications, packet switching trumps circuit switching. Because centralization generally bites. I'd argue that the same holds true for politics.


  1. The Democrats do very well with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Sanders and Obama campaign together (video):

  2. Heck, after the end of the Federalists we had one party. It took a while for the Whigs to develop to counter the Democrat Republicans. It wasn't until slavery boiled over in the 1850's that the Republicans emerged to counter the Democrats. The Democrats also were really two parties then with the whole pro-slavery portion making up a minority.

    Pascal's article is pretty low level analysis of US political history.

  3. Domestically, the whole point of the government is to support people figuring out their own destiny, de-conflicting as required.
    Not bad.

    I'd re-state the last 30 decades (Reagan onward) as: ....
    As awesome as Regan was, I don't think he was a time-traveler.

  4. Smitty is right of course to raise the issue of “aristocracy” except that the label is wrong. In truth what we are seeing is the rise and entrenchment of an ELITE. The difference is that an aristocracy is based on merit whereas an ELITE is based on the opposite of merit, whether it be birth or some other marker of unearned privilege.

    Also note that as Aristotle observed, a genuine aristocracy rules in the Common Interest whereas an ELITE rules only in its own illegitimate interests.

  5. @Anonymous,
    I find your distinction interesting, but theoretical at best.

    A better objection is that they're not handing out titles, except that Senator and Representative are now seen as career titles. Stand by for seeing them become hereditary, if we hold the current course.

  6. "...the Ying and Yang of our unique history..."

    It's Yin and Yang. Sorry, Mark Pascal, I didn't read the rest of your article because I figured if you're too illiterate to know the difference, your article wasn't worth my time.

  7. Dear Smitty1E:

    This is a big topic, so just let me say that if you look into the work of Sir Henry Maine you might see what I’m talking about. Maine noted that pre-modern societies were based on “status” rather than “contract”, and by contract Maine meant “merit.” By status Maine meant “who” someone is rather than what they achieve. Russell Kirk has a good summary of this in his book The Conservative Mind, brief and excellent as always.

    Note that both Michelle and Barack Obama obtained “patents of nobility” from Harvard and Princeton and Columbia. I’m not picking on them because of race preference as I’ve met and observed plenty of “whites” who have received similar patents of nobility. Think of the attempt to hand a Senate seat over to Caroline Kennedy as an example of what I’m talking about. And contrary to the lies of those in the current ELITE, we are at the opposite ends of a “meritocracy” today.

    In the book the Shadow University, around page 218, the authors sum up the Politically Correct ideology as holding that an individual’s merit depends on his ancestry, and thus a white heterosexual male is bad, whereas the other categories are generally deemed to be good (with exceptions made of course for the children of the leftist ELITE). It is a return to a pre-modern primitive way of looking at the world and will take us back to a more primitive material condition as it has already with our intellectual life.

  8. @Anonymous (Mr. Pascal?)
    Thanks for the Russell Kirk recommendation. It's on the Wish List.

    Your objection to the post is unclear. Was the United States founded as a 'better moustrap', to effect the good things in the Preamble, or was that just a toss-off for a few Dead White Dudes, so that now we can return to more historically hierarchical modes of societal organization?

    Are we packin' the gear or not, sir?

  9. Dear Smitty:

    I’m not objecting, just adding a little perspective. I guess what I’m really saying is that we shouldn’t miss the forest for the trees. It isn’t Congress that is the problem as such, but rather the social organization based on left wing elite ideology which ends up controlling what Congress does and who is in it.

    Recall that James Burnham who basically ran the intellectual side of National Review from the 50s to the late 70s taught us that Congress should be in charge of the government, not the President or the permanent civil service.

    We need to destroy by exposing as fraudlent, the left wing cultural dominance in order to establish a permanent conservative old style American government. Once we have a conservative culture the politics will mostly be taken care of automatically. People will simply think in traditional ways and reject out of hand left wing crazy talk.

    Check out the Shadow University too, by Alan Kors.

  10. Smitty

    No, I’m not Pascal and I might make my point clearer by noting that it was Thomas Jefferson who wanted America run by a natural aristocracy rather than an entrenched ELITE.

    The main problem with the left wing group ideology (see the Shadow University) is that the groups they elevate to ELITE status are alienated from the traditions that gave birth to America and the civilization it was heir to. Check out Kirk’s book The Roots of American Order for a survey of the civilization that should be our inheritance. One of Kirk’s last books is also good if one can find a copy, Our British Culture.