Left and Right Are No Longer Useful Political Markers

Traditionally, the left-right bifurcation of American politics is understood in reference to the federalist system. Conservatism upholds the sovereignty of individual’s judgments. Government it views as inherently limiting. To the limited degree government is a net positive, it is solely in its role as arbiter of disputes where one individual charges another’s actions have violated his rights. In all cases, organs of state and local governments as the superior means by which to rectify political…

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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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American Party Culture, Part 5: The Pressure to Conform

The quest for an efficacious politics is a coming-of-age tale of sorts. There is an inevitable moment of reckoning in the life of each and every member of the polity, a moment when the veil of winsome ignorance is lifted and the mind is awoken to the realities of civic life. In this moment, each citizen must grapple with their political identity and determine whether it is more personally efficacious to allow their opinions to…

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American Party Culture, Part 3: Purging Substance

A party which does not stand on substance, which does not appeal to voters on the merits of ideals but instead panders to vaguely defined social needs, cannot govern. Consensus, which is ultimately defined by the ever-shifting goalposts of public opinions, is worth more than demonstrably workable ideas. Modern politics defines morality by the numbers: the more people who approve of a policy, the more political capital is possesses. This attitude goes hand-in-hand with the…

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America’s Torquemada Complex

For Trump loyalists, the fallout surrounding CNN’s publication of an inaccurate report documenting supposed ties between Russia and Trump associates was vindication of the White House’s assertions that the administration is dogged by unfair media criticism. For Trump detractors, CNN’s acknowledgment of wrongdoing, was evidence that the network does hold itself to some sort of ethical standard, thus undermining charges that it is nothing but “fake news”.  To be a member of either group and…

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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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