On the Reactionary Character of Democratic-Republican Politics and the Necessity of a Tertium Quid

Duopoly ideology, the ruling ideology of the Democratic-Republican two-party state, is wholly reactionary in character. There are at least two senses of the term 'reactionary' we might apply equally to the Democratic and the Republican ideologue. In the first sense, 'reactionism' designates the desire to return to a status quo ante, to "the way things were before." In the utopian fantasies of Democrats and Republicans, the time before is conceived, of course, as a golden age of peace and prosperity, characterized by moderation and accord. Ironically, however, the exemplary epochs cited by duopolist ideologues are almost exclusively eras of war and hardship, excess and discord: the presidencies of Lincoln and F.D.R., for instance. In the second sense, the reactionary character of duopoly ideology is symptomatic of an incapacity for autonomous, independent thought and action. As German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote in a different context: "Psychologically speaking, it needs external stimuli in order to act at all—its action is basically reaction."

Partisans of the Democratic-Republican duopoly system of government define themselves first negatively, as what they are not, and from this they derive their political identity. At The Other McCain, Robert Stacy McCain provides us with a fine example of this process when he writes:
You're a conservative, and what is conservatism? The belief that liberalism is wrong. Very simple, and you don't really need anybody to explain that to you. Given that Democrats are the party of liberalism, you oppose Democrats generally and specifically, both in terms of politics and policy, which is also pretty much self-explanatory.
Examples are not hard to come by on the other side of the duopoly divide either. At Booman Tribune, Steven D writes in support of the Democratic Party:
we must also fight harder to elect Democrats, even ones we may not like very much. Why? Because the alternative is a recipe for chaos and stagnation . . . The Democrats are a deeply flawed political party. The Republicans, however, harbor within their ranks a theocratic despotism based on the most violent and ugly interpretation of Biblical scripture. Based on those facts, the decision to continue to elect Democrats, and to work with and for change within the Democratic party is an easy one.
Two-party politics is thus doubly negative: the individual ideologue does not support the lesser evil as such, rather support for the lesser evil is the default result of opposition to the greater evil. In other words, conservatives do not primarily support Republicans because they are conservative or republican – how could they? the Republican Party is neither conservative nor republican – but rather because they are not Democrats; similarly, liberals do not primarily support Democrats because they are liberal or democratic – how could they? the Democratic Party is neither liberal nor democratic – but rather because they are not Republicans. Given this state of affairs, it is highly naive to expect the two-party state to produce anything other than a negative politics. And this holds for those of us who advocate third party and independent activism, for we are not exempted from this process. But we draw its logical conclusion. When Democrats and Republicans pillory one another for their most mendacious hypocrisies, when each argues that the other is to blame for the crises of the day and the erosion of constitutional government, when each proclaims the other to be the embodiment of bureaucratic backwardness and political perversion – how could a rational person disagree, as neither is wholly wrong? Democrats and Republicans are mendacious hypocrites. The Democratic and Republican Parties are responsible for the erosion of constitutional government by opportunistically exploiting, or even manufacturing, crises of all kinds for short-term political gain. The Democratic-Republican global warfare and corporate welfare state is the embodiment of bureaucratic backwardness and political perversion. Today, political independence begins with the recognition that we are not free insofar as we are subjugated by the politics of the two-party state and the duopoly system of government. Political autonomy requires affirmation of a tertium quid.

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