The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Danger Of Cooperation

The following is a re-print of a post from August of 2011, I think it is still relevant...

Some people don't like partisanship. Quite a few, actually. That might be the wrong position to hold.

Political partisanship can be a problem. It's difficult to reach a compromise when there is a lot of that. On the other hand, compromise is not always a good thing. I refer you to the several compromises made in the decades leading up to the Civil War as examples. The ultimate goal of these compromises was to avert the disintegration of the United States. They failed, in a sense. All they accomplished was to delay the inevitable Civil War. And that could have made the war worse than if it had happened 20 years earlier.

There are times when compromise is impossible. When it would be the same as capitulation. Principles have to be violated in order to compromise. It doesn't start out that way, of course, the idea is to give up only that which is unimportant to you while getting the opposition to give up that which is important to them. Compromise is simple if one side is weak. Compromise is hard if both sides are firm in their principles.

I read a lot of political articles and the comments they generate. The Democrats want the Republicans to go away, to disappear, or (at the very least) just not impede the goals of the Democrats. Likewise, I see Republicans advocating the end of the Democratic Party. There is no chance of compromise in that kind of environment. Any compromise would require one side to cede power to the other.

If I align with a political party, it is because that party represents the principles I strongly believe in. Why would I want that party to violate any of them? Why would I want it to cede power to the opposition? I wouldn't. Nor would the opposition.

We call that partisanship. It's actually a good thing. It is part of the foundation of our system of governance. Of any form of multi-party democratic system. It helps prevent any one ideology from getting too much power.

Dictatorships consolidate power by outlawing, or marginalizing, any opposing party. Look at China, look at the former Soviet Union, look at the rise of Mussolini and Hitler. They gained enough power to outlaw all other political parties. Before that happens, they gain control or the sympathies of the dominant part of the media. Constant repetition of the party line encourages the party in power and attracts more adherents. We are, after all, herd animals for the most part. We also like to jump on bandwagons. Watch the crowds at stadiums and political rallies swell as the teams improve their records and political candidates rise in the polls.

It is why you read and see/hear about political polls. It's akin to the advertising strategy that portrays a product as wildly popular. The more popular a product is deemed to be, the more popular it becomes. Or, as my mother used to put it... "Them that has, gets."

We do not want a single party system. We do not want one party to be wildly popular, much more popular than any opposition party. Too much power will adhere to that party.

It is better that we have constant bickering, political arguing, and even gridlock than have cooperation that leads to one party becoming dominant.

At least, that's how I see it.



Tom Sightings said...

I just wrote a post about this very issue, in which I decry excessive partisanship. I don't disagree with you in the sense that, sure, people should be able to believe whatever they want to believe when it comes to religion, politics, astrology, conspiracy theories or anything else. That's the American way, isn't it? But when people's beliefs start to affect others, then we need to hold them to some level of honesty, common sense, and social acceptance. (After all, jihadists strongly believe in their principles, but that doesn't justify their actions.) So we need to hold people -- esp. those in politics and the media who have access to the public airways -- to some level of reasonable thinking, not in terms of being compromising, but in terms of using real facts, not made-up facts (hence, my citation of the Punditfact study on FOX and MSNBC); in terms of considering all the facts, not just the ones convenient to their point of view; in using real logic to argue a point, not faulty logic to try to mislead people, and by appealing to people's true sense of humanity, not resorting to cheap emotional ploys to try to get people to ignore common sense.

I absolutely agree that "we do not want a single party system," for all the reasons you mention, which is why I'd hate to see one major political party become so extreme that it talks itself into irrelevancy -- thus ensuring the one party system that we agree would prove so dangerous.

Douglas said...

Yes, Tom, you did write a post about this very subject... prior to reading which, I had re-posted this one.

I wonder which party you are referring to? Extremism exists in all of them, I think.

Ask yourself... "Is a democratically elected despot any better than one which took the role through 'the divine right of kings'?"