Wednesday, June 25, 2014

On Property & Party Pooping

Guys like Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly like to play like they are above any party. It is part of conservatives' larger libertarian charade. The Fox News crowd likes to pretend to be independents who are only interested on honoring the founding fathers' original intent. But apart from Bill O'Reilly claiming that he believes in global warming, their criticism of the GOP consists entirely of claiming it is not conservative enough. The Tea Party's calling their targets in the primaries "RINOs" (for Republican in Name Only) sort of spoils the affectation.

Accordingly, they are awfully fond of quotes by the founders lamenting the evils of political parties. James Madison, "the Father of the Constitution," thought parties were unavoidable, but he gave five guidelines for mitigating their dangers. Two of his five guidelines focus on regulating the accumulation of wealth: 

In every political society, parties are unavoidable. A difference of interests, real or supposed, is the most natural and fruitful source of them. The great object should be to combat the evil: 1. By establishing a political equality among all. 2. By withholding unnecessary opportunities from a few, to increase the inequality of property, by an immoderate, and especially an unmerited, accumulation of riches. 3. By the silent operation of laws, which, without violating the rights of property, reduce extreme wealth towards a state of mediocrity, and raise extreme indigence towards a state of comfort. 4. By abstaining from measures which operate differently on different interests, and particularly such as favor one interest at the expence [sic] of another. 5. By making one party a check on the other, so far as the existence of parties cannot be prevented, nor their views accommodated.

 - James Madison, Papers of James Madison, ed. Robert A. Rutland, et al. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983), 14:197-198.

Surely, we as a people can come together around this wise advice from Mr. Madison. Let me be the first to extend the olive branch.



EDIT 12/17/15:

And almost nobody in politics shows what a shabby charade being "above parties" is quite like Donald Trump. This Washington Post article argues that he is an ideological moderate despite his extreme ideas. And the Post is technically correct. Trump is a maverick on taxes and said that going into Iraq was a mistake. Normally, you only see this "non-partisan" charade from pundits rather than candidates. But Trump is not unique. Recall the appeal of Ross Perot.

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