Insanity and Party Loyalty

The Truth in Black and Right argues that the two-party system is corrosive of the republic's very foundations. The post is well worth quoting at length:
Political parties serve a purpose, an important purpose of providing organizational strength and “strength in numbers” for ideological commitments. At least that’s what they should do. And none of this is supposed to interfere with the primary responsibility of Congress to represent their constituents . . . It is because of this fealty [to the Republican and Democratic Parties] that Congress has such low approval ratings and why Congressmen are increasingly avoiding meeting with their actual constituents. It is a sad and scary thing when representatives are afraid to represent. More importantly, it is a danger to the republic and an indication that what was the most glorious experiment in large scale representative democratic and republican government is rapidly on the decline . . . They do not respect and they do not fear the people they are meant to represent; rather they despise them. They pass legislation they have not read, vote for health care plans to which they themselves are not subject, vote pay raises for themselves, gerrymander legislative districts to ensure their continued dominance and write legislation effectively restricting the competition to which they are subject.
The piece goes on to argue that many aspects government in the United States resemble more an aristocracy than a democratic republic. However, responsibility for the installation of a virtually hereditary ruling class ultimately lies with the people who, like loyal peasants and despite their discontent, continue to (re)elect these politicians, their relatives and their co-conspirators to positions of power. As the old saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.


Samuel Wilson said...

It occurred to me recently that the republic began to go out of control once representatives rejected the idea of taking instructions from their constituents. Since Madison meant the government to work through a constant interplay of interests rather than clashes of ideology, allowing representatives to act on their own prerogative encouraged them to consult ideology rather than local interest. The sad irony is that Madison himself, as a founder of the original Republican party, helped start this process.

d.eris said...

How would you relate this back to your birth of the bipolarchy (from June already?!) post on the 1824 election?

Samuel Wilson said...

My comment from yesterday only refers to the devolution of representative government from the original idea of interest-group politics to the kind of ideological politics that encourage party formation. That itself doesn't guarantee a Bipolarchy, though Federalists and Jeffersonians did form one for a time. My June post suggested that our eventual bipolarchic system evolved from fears of repeating the 1824 result of deciding the Presidential election in the House of Representatives. Ideological solidarity had broken down into personal factionalism that year in what might be seen as a partial reversion to the original ideal. The Jackson movement cultivated a democratic ideology among voters to make his defeat in the House look like a crime, uniting disparate interest groups who would soon fight one another over tariff policy. There was no reason for 1828 to be a two-man election except for ideology.