Each Tree Shall Be Known By Its Fruit: By the Time the Machines are Ready, It will Already be Too Late.

Given the contemporary political climate, an apparent uptick in popular references and allusions to Richard Hofstadter's 1964 essay "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" on both sides of the duopoly divide was likely inevitable. One of the constitutive mechanisms of the paranoid style is, of course, psychological projection and so we should not be surprised to find that projection is a constitutive element of US politics under the conditions of the two-party state. The ubiquity of projection in Democratic-Republican politics may go some way toward accounting for the universality of hypocrisy among the partisans of the Democratic and Republican Parties. We can be almost certain that when a Democrat accuses a Republican of corruption, dishonesty or hypocrisy, and vice versa, the charge will hold just as much for the one who levels it as it does for the one against whom it is leveled. It is no coincidence that the greater part of Democratic-Republican politics amounts to little more than the revelation of such inconsistencies and has thus deteriorated from ad rem argumentation to ad hominem, if not ad personam, attack.

Nonetheless, when arguing with supporters of the two-party state, advocates of third party and independent politics can, in many if not most cases, safely assume that any charge against third party and independent activism holds just as well for the politics of the duopoly system of government. For instance, duopolists are fond of claiming that third parties are little more than personality cults, which is highly ironic coming from supporters of the Republican church of Ronald Reagan and the Democratic idolization of Barack Obama. But perhaps a more concrete example is in order. Since "Palin posts" are now obligatory, let's consider the former governor's recent interview with Rush Limbaugh.
LIMBAUGH: What are your thoughts now on the viability of a third party if the Republican Party can't be brought around?

PALIN: You know, to be brutally honest, I think that it's a bit naive when you talk about the pragmatism that has to be applied in America's political system. And we are a two-party system. Ideally, sure, a third party or an independent party would be able to soar and thrive and put candidates forth and have them elected, but I don't think America is ready for that. I think that it is... Granted it's quite conventional and traditional, but in a good way that we have our two parties, and I think that that's what will remain. [Emphasis added.]
So, according to Palin, third party and independent activism is naive and idealistic given the two-party system, and so pragmatism is required, pragmatism being defined as deference to the parties that control the state. For the moment, let's recall the maxim which states that pragmatism sounds good in theory but doesn't work in practice. Limbaugh continues:
LIMBUAGH: But these magical, whatever it is, 20% of people that are not identified or do not self-identify themselves with either party, what's the way to get them?

PALIN: I think just naturally independents are going to gravitate towards that Republican agenda and Republican platform because the planks in our platform are the strongest to build a healthy America. We're all about cutting taxes and shrinking government and respecting the inherent rights of the individual and strengthening families and respecting life and equality. You have to shake your head and say, "Who wouldn't embrace that? Who wouldn't want to come on over?"
Palin would do well to observe with the evangelist: "Each tree is recognized by its own fruit." With the appropriate substitutions, the very same argument could have been put forward by any given Democratic demagogue. The only people who are so naive as to be convinced by such arguments today are Republicans and Democrats, the dead-enders of the duopoly parties, whose utopian idealism serves nothing more than the ruling establishment and political status quo, when it dictates that a third party or independent candidate for office could never win an election but that the Democratic and Republican Parties will be reformed over the course of the next election cycle. Those who are attracted to the Democratic or Republican Party on the basis of their stated platforms and agendas are like the ill-fated cartoon creatures who never fail to take the bait and always live to regret it.

It is not "America" or the people of the United States who are "not ready" for an independent politics, for a politics independent of the Democratic and Republican graft and patronage machines, rather it is the graft and patronage machines of the Democratic-Republican Party and their enablers in the mainstream media and political establishment that are "not ready" for an independent politics. And they will remain "not ready" until they can be assured that any "new" politics will ensure the smooth functioning of the machines that (re)produce the political status quo. By the time the machines are ready, it will already be too late.


Samuel Wilson said...

I give you credit for extracting any kind of meaning from Palin's enigmatic utterances. "I think that it's a bit naive when you talk about the pragmatism that has to be applied in America's political system." All I get out of that is that pragmatism is naive -- or do I not understand Alaskan? I did figure out that she thinks it "conventional and traditional, but in a good way" that we have a Bipolarchy because that suits her own manichean ideology, but her faith that everyone will view the political landscape in the same bipolar fashion strikes me as naive -- or is it pragmatic?

d.eris said...

heh. Yes, I did have to think about it for a bit while reading the transcript. There are a lot of unstated premises. But if you assume a simple duopolist ideological framework, everything seems to fall into place. In effect, Palin makes it completely plain how duopoly ideology functions on the basis of tautology, unstated premises, contradictions and unreasonable limitations.

Septimus said...

Well said.

But even more important, you satisfied the current blogger requirement that you reference Palin in a post.

d.eris said...

Thanks, Sept. I really didn't want to post on Palin, but I couldn't not. ;-)