The good news: America’s politics are neither polarized nor dysfunctional. That’s also the bad news.
Summary: How sad that we so underestimate our leaders, confusing their skillful political engineering with folly. Of course their successful manipulation of us allows them to laugh at our scorn. This is the next in a series; at the end are links to previous chapters.
Many Americans rage at the dysfunctional polarization of our politics. How can our representatives agree upon necessary policy reforms when the two parties have such different positions and refuse to compromise. Our imbalance between government revenue and expenditures will bankrupt us if not closed. Our health care policy will bankrupt us if not changed. This is the consensus viewpoint, and totally wrong.
In 2007 and 2008 we saw a similar polarization in foreign and homeland security policies. Widespread domestic surveillance, torture, rendition, illegal foreign wars, kangaroo courts for foreigners imprisoned on flimsy evidence. These were necessary to protect the homeland — or the acts of a second Hitler. This led to the fiercely contested presidential election. The Democratic Party’s anti-Nazi platform won, but once in office their candidate continued and expanded Bush Jr’s policies (eg, see this Glenn Greenwald article about conservatives and liberals applauding Obama’s foreign and national security policies).
The apparent polarization was a farce, played by our ruling elites on a gullible American public. We accept it, conditioned to fear by years of scary propaganda and FBI-manufactured terrorist conspiracies — expert information operations directed at us.
Now the same dynamics repeat. Scary stories (mostly fake) about the nearly bankrupt Federal government incite panic and prepare us for what is to come. No matter who wins in the 2012 elections, in 2013 our representatives will raise taxes, cut expenditures (including Social Security and Medicare), start rebuilding our infrastructure, and begin the long process of reforming health care. It will be another Morning in America.
There is no crippling polarization, just distracting music masking a bipartisan consensus on key points of economic and foreign policy. It serves the valuable secondary purpose of distracting the proles. It gives them mock battles to fight and tribal loyalties to adopt (dirty hippy commies vs. puritanical ignorant fascists). Preventing the discovery of common causes, mutual allegiances, and the need for fundamental reform.
America is well-governed. But not in our interests.
How to choose a political party
Today we get to choose a political party like cattle at the Chicago stockyards get to choose a chute. The cattle (being smarter than us) don’t bother with party identification. They don’t cheer the “left-side” pen, or admire the virtue of its prisoners, the beauty of its fence, the wisdom of their keepers, or the free food. Those in the “right-side” pen don’t wear logos or trumpet their superior intelligence over those in the other pen.
It need not be like this. Both parties belong to us. Both must and can be retaken. America needs a choice, not an echo (to borrow Phyllis Schlafy’s memorable phrase).
For more information
For more about this see the FM Reference Page America – how can we reform it? Especially sections 8 and 10.
Other posts in this series:
- Programs to reshape the American mind, run by the left and right, 2 August 2010
- Which political party will best protect our liberties?, 10 September 2010
- Our leaders have made a discovery of the sort that changes the destiny of nations, 1 September 2010
- Polarization and hot rhetoric conceal two similar political parties. Will we ever notice?, 29 October 2010
- We have the leaders we deserve. Visit McDonald’s to learn why., 30 October 2010
- The winners and losers from this election, hidden amidst the noise, 3 November 2010
- In America, both Left and Right love the long war, 30 March 2011
- A look at the future of America, unlike the expectations of conservatives and liberals, 10 August 2011
- Our fears are unwarranted. America is in fact well-governed, 18 August 2011