The Shutdown Highlights Oligarchic Attitudes in Government

There is perhaps nothing so indicative of an increasingly oligarchic trend in government as language from politicians signaling their actions are oriented around what is most convenient to others of their ranks. By way of example, a recent story in Roll Call detailed how, in the waning hours before the government shutdown took effect, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) attempted to broker a three-week stop-gap spending measure. Though one might hope his motivation was some respect…

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America’s Party Culture, Part 2: Destructive Behavior

Discrimination is an operative force in politics; a functioning government must calculate what courses of action are likely to benefit the citizenry and the nation as a whole. To do so, politicians must have a vision of an end towards which they are working, meaning ideological belief is the driving force behind an efficacious politics. Parties are an organizational tool to this end; they connect members of the citizenry, who have disparate sets of belief…

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Party Loyalty Is Destroying Politics

America’s political culture has become such that the charge of disloyalty is a far more indelible stain upon a person’s character than a charge of criminal behavior or personal misconduct. The 2016 election was a race between a career politician whose record of abusing the law for personal gain was as long as her record of public service and a businessman with an unsettling habit of personally denigrating any who criticized or disagreed with him.…

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In defense of political polarization

The attempt by a deranged individual to assassinate a group of Republican legislators was all too illustrative of the ugly rhetoric of force, the last resort of those who know not how to reason. It cast a pall over the collective mood of the nation’s elected officials and led to a rare moment of universal clarity, causing both Democrats and Republicans to descry the discourse of venom and acrimony which seems to increasingly dominate politics…

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The Faux Narrative of Ideology Killing the AHCA

National politics has become built on consensus, so much so that the possibility that the opposition party, or even dissenting subfactions within a party, are treated as intransigents acting purely from a desire to be spiteful and obstructionist. Dissenters are never allowed to be genuine actors who stand on principle. The result of this is a political dialogue that juxtaposes intransigent ideology qua functional practicality. Practicality is connected to attempts to “do good” for the…

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The Freedom Caucus Changed Nothing But Still Won A Huge Victory

There is nothing easy about being an ideologue. The rhetorical slings and arrows of a political faction on offense are always aimed towards the ideologue. Impugning epithets like “intransigent” and “extremist” fly thick and fast in the midst of the internecine fray. Should the party’s fortifications collapse and the last bastion of defense fall, it is always the ideologue who is named at saboteur; it is far easier to blame the abstract idealism of the…

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The importance of ideology

Today, society has a decidedly apocalyptic outlook on the state of partisanship, perhaps with some merit. After all the mere mention of an individual’s party or ideological affiliation is generally met with a rancorous, disdainful sneer by those who identify with the opposing position. This is decidedly an unfortunate practice, but it’s hardly a new threat. Factional contentiousness has raged since America’s political antecedents first convened with the aim of practically applying their ideas in…

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