My fellow card-carrying members of the "Columnist Party" are clutching their pearls at the unprecedented degree of political polarization infesting politics.
Their consternation might make sense, that is, if polarization were unprecedented.
It’s precedented. What is deplored as "polarization" is merely democracy at work.
It’s "an old and recurrent phenomenon."
Democracy, into which our republic is degenerating, inevitably declines toward tyranny.
Polarization is merely a symptom of that. My old friend Jon Rauch, whose 2016 cover story in The Atlantic: "How American Politics Went Insane," nailed it as "chaos syndrome."
"Chaos syndrome is a chronic decline in the political system’s capacity for self-organization.
"It begins with the weakening of the institutions and brokers — political parties, career politicians, and congressional leaders and committees — that have historically held politicians accountable to one another and prevented everyone in the system from pursuing naked self-interest all the time.
"As these intermediaries’ influence fades, politicians, activists, and voters all become more individualistic and unaccountable. The system atomizes. Chaos becomes the new normal — both in campaigns and in the government itself."
The Ultra-MAGAs vs. the Bernie Bros? Not the problem.
The symptom. Of creeping, now rampant, democracy.
The Progs are ever eager to accelerate the degeneration into democracy, en route to tyranny, with inane proposals such as ditching the electoral college.
Sheesh! Recall the 1964 Harper’s article by Richard Hofstadter, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics":
"It had been around a long time before the Radical Right discovered it — and its targets have ranged from "the international bankers" to Masons, Jesuits, and munitions makers . . .
"In recent years we have seen angry minds at work mainly among extreme right-wingers, who have now demonstrated in the Goldwater movement how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority.
"But behind this I believe there is a style of mind that is far from new and that is not necessarily right-wing. . . ."
Going back a few more decades, find the wise words of the Sage of Baltimore, H.L. Mencken, from 1918, "In Defense of Women":
"Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary."
America’s original Founders were acutely aware of the toxicity of democracy when they created the United States… as a republic. James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution and America’s fourth president wrote, in Federalist 10:
"A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of 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 to co-operate for their common good."
And do consider the sentiments of our second president, John Adams, co-author of the Declaration of Independence, in an 1814 letter:
"Remember Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes exhausts and murders itself. There never was a Democracy Yet, that did not commit suicide."
And, let us take to heart the admonishments by the very father of our country, George Washington, in his 1796 Farewell Address:
"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. …
"It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form (e.g., democracy), it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy. 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" . . .
The ruins of Public Liberty?
What to do? Make Republicans (small r) republican again!
MRRA! Cue the new red bill caps!
To bring sanity back to politics just bring back the republic to which our flag stands!
Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply-Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $94T. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.
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