Saturday, October 25, 2008

We Need a Two Party System

I've always seen the Republican party as the party for rich people. Being a poor person, or a working class person, it never appealed to me. However - I can see a need for opposing points of view - someone has to stand up for the rich, because some rich people use their money to employ the poor.

From an article in The New Republic -
"For years, many of the elite conservatives were happy to harvest the votes of devout Christians and gun owners by waging a phony class war against 'liberal elitists' and 'leftist intellectuals.' Suddenly, the conservative writers are discovering that the very anti-intellectualism their side courted and encouraged has begun to consume their movement.

The cause of Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Robert Nisbet and William F. Buckley Jr. is now in the hands of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity--and Sarah Palin. Reason has been overwhelmed by propaganda, ideas by slogans, learned manifestoes by direct-mail hit pieces."

Rush, Sean and Sarah are not going to build a coherent political party platform - they are good at energizing the base/mob, attacking people and providing sound-bites, but not at all good at articulating alternative ideas. In this sense they are conservative, i.e. they want to maintain a status quo - some fuzzy vision of what things are like or were like.

The Republican party rode the "polarize the country" and "fool poor people into thinking we are looking out for them" for a few decades - and it was a good ride from a power point of view - not so good for the average citizen.

It's time for some new ideas.

One thing liberals are good at is coming up with new ideas, believing in unlimited possibilities of the individual, nothing is impossible.
"As has often been acknowledged by conservative writers, one of the fundamental traits of the conservative attitude is a fear of change, a timid distrust of the new as such, while the liberal position is based on courage and confidence, on a preparedness to let change run its course even if we cannot predict where it will lead."

Source - Institut HAYEK - Why I Am Not a Conservative
Liberals need conservative thinkers to debate and moderate their ideas. We need a strong thoughtful conservatism - not fear tactics, dopey name-calling, labels and yelling - aimed at stopping thoughtful consideration of ideas.

A party willing to give up individual liberty for a government defined and mandated morality was never a good idea - and has gradually led to an erosion of individual liberties that makes this such a great country to live in.

If the Republican party wants to rebuild itself as the party of fiscal conservatism that might work...but the fact of the matter is a strictly conservative point of view will never be sufficient for good government - we need a second party that offers viable alternatives.