Archive for March, 2009

Hey all,

This is it: the time to move on – from political tirades to actual creativity.

I have wasted too many hours preaching to the choir about politics, which truly mean nothing unless there is a discussion going on, so one side can defend itself. On a blog, there is very rarely any meaningful discussion going on, simply because of the disadvantages of the medium. Therefore, I will stop producing a good that no one wants, and instead produce a good that no one wants. But, as any good salesman knows, you can sell a customer anything as long as you do not give them the choice to not have your product; instead, you ask them whether they’d like a red or a blue product.

I am moving to blogging logic puzzles. No, not creating sudoku or kakuro puzzles (both of which I immensely enjoy), but word and number problems you all probably did when you were kids. I am a bit of a puzzle junkie myself and have been making puzzles for awhile, so that’s what I’ll do here on the internet, because I don’t know of any sites that continually produce logic puzzles on a daily basis. Yes, they do make daily sudokus, crosswords, and whatever else people do everyday, but they do not produce word puzzles or anagrams like I will. Creating and solving puzzles are what I like to do in my spare time (as well as read and write), so that is what I will concentrate on here in my corner of the internet (probably a different corner since I’ll be making a new blog to house my puzzles).

In the meantime, for my political (intellectual?) side, I will be reading. I currently have a list of 62 books that I will try to read before 2009 is over, spanning philosophy, political theory, and classic literature. I highly, highly, highly recommend that anyone who is currently a political blogger starts blogging less and reading more, for that is the only way to real thought.

This post has been long in the making: it has resided in my brain since the time I started this blog and it has certainly made itself apparent throughout this part of history that will surely become known as the Great Manic Depression (you heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen). This will be the last post, officially, of the 59 Second Minute in its current, utter useless form, but it will also begin an era of new, more fresh, political commentary by me, as well as another project that will ultimately end up taking more of my time and is totally different from anything I’ve done here in my blogspace in the cybersphere. This post carries a message of imperative importance to everyone who considers themselves politically informed, or is involved in any way in the politics of the United States.

The message is this: both the Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same, wretched coin. Together, they compose an entity that is against the liberty of all American citizens. There is not a party that is for freedom – no mistake about that.

Consider that most people dislike the Republicans for their over-reliance on evangelicals; for their restrictions on the decisions of women via their “pro-life” stance; and for their traditionally anti-gay views. This is infringing upon peoples’ social liberty because it restricts their freedom based on sexuality, gender, or, in some religious extremists’ cases, religion.

Consider that some people dislike the Democrats for trying to increase taxes and increase the role of government in all sectors of life, especially now in the economy. This is infringing upon people’s economic liberty because they seek to restrict the way that people trade goods and conduct their business. Having freedom of any kind naturally carries risk – the risk of failure. The government, in essence, seeks to remove the risk of failure by taking over the banks, etc., etc.

When you put these parties together (have a compromise between the two), what do you get? General authoritarianism, where the government dictates what you do, both socially and economically. Is this the type of system the “land of the free” deserves? NO!

I’d argue, that since the founding of this country, political thought has become increasingly homogenized, especially in the past 60 years, due to the two-party system. Again, ask, “What makes two people in the Democratic party any different from one another?” Not much; and I’d wager that that fact is a cause (or is it an effect?) of the lack of diversity in political thought from our people, and, thusly, the representatives they elect. And if there is no diversity in political thought (along party lines, of course: Republicans vote Republican and Democrats vote Democratic), then, one can argue that no one’s really thinking at all. Think about it: if your political views mesh with the typical Democratic robot, then you don’t have to think, for they think for you! You hear them talk, you nod in agreement, and life goes on. Then you hear a left-leaning journalist spit fire at the Republicans, you, again, nod in agreement (for Republicans are The Enemy), and life goes on. Whenever you talk politics, you just vomit back what you heard on TV or read in the newspaper, and life goes on, without any analyzation of your beliefs.

This type of system benefits nobody but the ruling class. We’ve become programmed like Pavlov’s dogs: the majority of the populace has been conditioned to think highly of a person that has that capitalized “D” next to the state they represent when they’re interviewed on the major news networks (note: substitute “D” for “R” when appropriate). And when the “R” shows up – well, he’s just another Bush and shouldn’t be listened to.

(As a side note: when there is infighting among parties – witness the fears of Hillary “ripping apart” the Democratic Party during the Conventions last year- people hope they all “get along” and keep going with the party line. Back then, I said I hoped she would concede to Obama but now I realize there was no correct choice, and I imagine that it would’ve been preferable for the party to be torn apart if Hillary pulled a stunt during the Conventions. My reason? I don’t want parties)

Is this the kind of divisiveness we need in our country?

As I said before, if we all think along the party line(s), who do we elect? The same people, or, at the very least, people who follow the party line(s) – the sad thing being that there is no tangible difference between the two options. And so, we elect the same people, and they continue to get nothing done or they decide to do the worse alternative: make bad laws.

We wonder why the country is going downhill, and then you look at Congress’s approval rating, which has hovered around 30% for what seems to be time immemorial. If we really dislike who is in Congress that much wouldn’t it make sense to vote them out of office by replacing them with someone more competent and has a political ideology that would better represent us?

But, the problem is, we’re given two choices in most races, and are forced to pick one of the two party lines that fits ours the best. And, most often, we elect people of the same party – people who closely share political ideologies… Who are likely going to repeat the failings of their predecessor. So we vote in what seems to be a revolving door of people who follow a certain party line, but, somehow, 70% of us more or less disapprove of Congress as a whole.

The issue lies in the homogeneity of the parties and of the populace. It has become evident that the two-party system is worthless and is destroying the quality and quantity of political thought in this country. It gives no choice to those who disagree with the dominant parties and force their hand into voting for the lesser of two evils. I say that we abolish the party system and vote for people based on the quality of their thought and their policies, not the name of the party they’re a part of. I say we stop casting our votes for both parties, since they are against our liberty. I say we open our minds and encourage those with alternative viewpoints and vote for them instead. I say we pick up a book on political theory or economics instead of turning on our televisions.

And, if you don’t believe me, I think you’ll take George Washington’s word that the party system does not work. From his farewell address in 1796:

They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion…

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally…

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.