Functioning Government or Gridlock
There’s a popular conception, I prefer misconception, that the best government is one which does nothing, one that is in perpetual gridlock. That way no one else gets screwed and no other problems get “solved” or we don’t end up with a solution in search of a problem as so often happens. When there is a republican congress and a democratic White House or split congress people have said this is the best of all worlds because then no one can agree and nothing gets legislated into law, (at least until Obama came along). But is this the best? Didn’t we just have an administration that decided get out his phone and pen and just do things because he thought they needed to be done? How’d that work out for everyone? Personally, I see a much higher deficit, more unemployment, (no matter how you attempt to redefine it), poor economic growth, and a whole lot of small businesses, (at least in the fashion industry) gone, (poor business acumen not withstanding).
Don’t we all get along and discuss problems? Work things out so we get the best answer? That’s the original idea but as you can see things have changed slightly such that a few individuals have pushed for their point of view by adding emotion into the discussion and attempting to embarrass their opponent, you can fill in the name, there are plenty of them on both sides of the argument. What everyone needs to recognize, in my opinion, is when anyone must resort to that kind of argument then they don’t know their subject as well as they should and they have to fall back to identity politics and manipulation in order to get people to believe what is probably a flawed idea in the first place. After all, if the individual knew his subject so well wouldn’t they be able to explain it such that the rest of us would understand? Remember a certain high level administration official (Obama) saying in his speech about how great Obamacare was “…It’s my fault for not explaining it better…”, no it was just a terrible idea and many people didn’t believe it. Including the professor who dreamed it all up and was caught on tape saying the American public was too stupid to know the difference. A willingness to debate and discuss without putting yourself ahead of the idea or the other person down is important to furthering the flow of legitimate ideas. So what is a legitimate idea? If, in the context of the largest reasonable subset of facts you can explain all the details without making very many assumptions you probably have a good start, (if no assumptions are made you probably have too small of a subset). And when you can take all the assumptions to their illogical conclusion and the conclusions to your idea still holds up, then you have a winner.
This is not a new observation, I have no doubt this kind of politicking has existed since the constitution was first proposed. I think the difference now is the people fighting the extreme identity politics on the conservative side are not nearly as well grounded in their history as they were back in the time of the constitution when people had lived their history and knew just how we had built the kind of country we have. We are far enough removed from the personal experience now that we must rely on someone else interpreting historical events honestly and then teaching our vulnerable children that history accurately. When these children grow up they will have to deal with the difficulties life has thrown at them and it is in part learning this history and the bias from the teachers which will direct their responses and reactions. Thus far it certainly seems those who lean towards the Star Trek Utopia, (the perfect Marxian society), have been guiding our youth and these are the people we depend on defending us against the increasing socialism intended to care for (coddle) those not as fortunate. All is not lost though, as we get older we tend to mature and more easily see some of our actions intended to help actually hurt others. Those few who come to realize this actually understand that sometimes you help others best by insisting they do it themselves instead of depending on someone else to hand it to them. These are the few who are defending against the socialism and fighting for an exchange of ideas from everyone instead of just the ones who agree only with us, (does the phrase “settled science” ring a bell). I would note this same framework of ideas our children are being taught in schools where safe zones must be established for protection against other ideas is what our children and young adults will also be the framework by which they judge the actions of others, with forgiveness and realism of our imperfection or with the perfection and ego of their own lives. Can you say “Safe Zones” or “Snow Flake”. But I digress, politics and debate or politics and good ideas, really can be a thing.