Monday, December 27, 2010

The Death of Parties?

And every good argument deserves an equally good counter-argument. Not that I could aptly debate Anya's very good points, but for the sake of argument, and a balanced opinion, I will try to do so.
To understand the importance of political parties, we first have to look at why they originally came about (at least in the United States). In Federalist No.10, Madison basically says that "factions" are a necessary evil. Madison states, "As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed...The latent causes of faction are thus sown into the nature of man; and we see them everywhere...a zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well as speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than co-operate for their common good." He goes on to say the development of factions is inevitable though because, "The inference to which we are brought is that the causes of faction cannot be removed and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects".
And Madison believed that the Constitution was the means to control the effects. Madison is essentially telling us that yes, these factions cause problems, but they are a necessary evil in that we, as humans, naturally develop these factions in a democratic form of government. He says that eliminating democracy to eliminate the factions is absurd, and to make everybody think the same way and hold the same beliefs is also equally absurd. So, he proposes we don't eliminate the factions at all, we just deal with the effects of them. He thought the Constitution would handle the effects, and for the most part I agree with him. I also agree that it is in our human nature to form the factions, or political parties, because we like to form groups, we like having a consistent platform and having unwavering ideals. Anya mentions Bernie Sanders, and although I don't like his politics, he does have unwavering ideals. I think parties strengthen these ideals, not weaken them. What better way to stick to your ideals if you have other people backing you up? We like having a sense of safety and consistency because everything else in the world is wacky. On a psychological level, I think abolishing parties would be harmful for people's well-being and we would somehow find a way to drift back to a party system; it's just in our nature like Madison suggests.
We also have a long history of political parties in this country. Our political parties were developed very early on, one could stay it's essence started with the Federalists and Anti-Federalists. The Federalists being supporters of the Constitution and the Anti-Federalists being the people who didn't want the Constitution. These, however, weren't official parties. Then came the Federalist party and the Jeffersonian Democrats, or Democratic-Republicans. And why is having this history important? We know it works pretty well. Our political system was copied by many other countries, people are dying to live here, and we do get things done. Now, I don't always advocate complacency, but there's something to be said for, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Anya seems to believe our government is "broke" and I happen to disagree with this. Also, the reliance on history to keep a decision is a common legal argument. The Supreme Court very often relies on stare decisis, or adhesion to past decisions, when deciding cases. It takes a lot for them to overturn their decisions. Just like it would take a lot for us to overturn our party system in exchange for something that would be perceived as chaotic as well as uncharted territory. But, if anything could make a no party system work, it would definitely be the fighting spirit and lion's heart of the people of the United States.
For the most part I think we, as humans, like a party system. That combined with the fact it has been with us since the early inception of our government, makes it very unlikely we will have a no party system. But, who knows what the future holds for us?
Oh, and also we are happy to say this is our 50th blog post! We are so glad to have made it to 50, now on to 100!

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