Friday, October 20, 2006


Politics as Evil

While many of the reasons why and how Bush & CO have been able to drag the country around without seriously being checked or balanced have been amply and intelligently discussed in left blogistan, if not in the MSM, one key step has rather escaped the attention of many: the demonization of politics.

The way this country's supposed to work (e.g. according to Madison in The Federalist Papers) is that "ambition [is supposed to] balance ambition": if some politician would otherwise get too big for his britches, what'll keep him in line is that other politicians will oppose that politician, because they can score political points by mounting such an opposition. However, today, in part because of the increasing political power and participation of pre-millenialist Christians who view politics as inherently evil (and whose views are just as much radical in a Leninist sense as reactionary, cf. The Rhetoric of Reaction which goes into more detail on the reactionary origins of Lenin's thinking) and in part because of a concerted Republican effort to attract to and capitalize upon the presence of pre-millenialists in the political sphere as well as being part of their anti-gummint rhetoric in general, many view such "political posturing" as bad rather than as a necessary part of the functioning of a democracy. So, instead of rewarding a politician who opposes another politician who's got too big for his britches, many in our electorate would punish the opposing politician for "trying to score political points in important matters".

Bush & CO have thrived because of a lack of meaningful opposition. While we would hope that well-meaning folk would oppose the immoral actions of Bush & CO because it would be the right thing to do, the fact of the matter is that politicians are in the business of getting elected. So long as the electorate dismisses meaningful opposition as "political posturing" rather than rewarding such political posturing, which is how our system is supposed to work, there is no motivation, and in fact a substantial dis-motivation, for politicians to oppose the Bush & CO juggernaut. The Republicans have sown the seeds of demonization of politics for years (even their crazy sniffing around in Clinton's sex life benefitted the GOP in the long run because it made political opposition look bad, c.f. P.J. O'Rourke's comments about Republicans believing government is bad and then getting elected and proving it) and now they are reaping.

We liberal moonbats have done a good job of calling spades spades ... so let's start going after the elephant in the room: politics, as Toqueville could have told us, as part and parcel of Americana -- we are a democratic republic not just in large ways but small ways and everything in America is political because we ought to be a universally political people as befits a self-governing citizenry. While some playing politics does get to be extreme (and the biggest players here are reactionaries who not only play to win, but even if they don't win, their antics further make their case about playing politics being problematic) -- e.g. in the politicization of science by fundies and corporate interests -- in general the demonization of political posturing is, frankly, un-American.

Why do the media pundits, the GOP leadership, pre-millenialist fundies, etc., hate America?


Also, if GW Bush & CO do get deposed in 2008, would it be o.k. to do unto them as they did to others? I.e. to declare them enemy combatants and ship them off to Gitmo with no right of habeus corpus, etc? Or should we be just in spite of the Golden Rule? I'm thinking here justice might make better politics than the Golden Rule?

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