It’s the people, stupid.
What I mean is, the reason politics is broken is not a matter of political philosophy, nor even an issue of contending groups. It’s that the politicians themselves, taken as a group of human beings, are horrible. (The ultimate responsibility lies with the voters for electing horrible people, of course, but I’ll deal with THEM later.)
I am pretty right-wing, but I wouldn’t mind living in a state with socialist policies if the society was cohesive and high in trust. Regarding the current ruling class, I am far more unhappy that they are corrupt fools who wish me and my kin ill, than that they are implementing a stupid and damaging national health care system, for example.
We have an Evil Party which thinks the Stupid Party is evil, and a Stupid Party which thinks the Evil Party is stupid. As in the great Monty Python skit (with the Sensible, Silly, and Very Silly parties involved in British elections), the official positions on issues aren’t the main problem.
(Even though I think the policies of the current administration are ruinous, they are ruinous because the administration doesn’t mind if people like me get hurt, and the other party isn’t doing anything effective to oppose them.)
Politics works only when the voters have enough in common, socially and philosophically, that they can regard those who disagree with them as opponents rather than enemies, and count on their opponents to be pursuing the good of a group that includes rather than excludes them.
What makes it worse in America is that so many people are blind to the true situation, having grown up believing the propaganda about how great the American political system was, and they assume their opponents are acting in good faith and can be persuaded about issues. In recent decades who-whoming has come to dominate what actually happens politically, even though it is dressed up in terms of “issues”. Politicians who try to appeal to and to persuade people who hate them are bringing a knife to a gunfight, but if they try to focus their appeal on people who are actually likely to support them they get accused of being racist and so on (why does that word STILL have power to deter people from standing up for themselves?).
This is one good thing that came out of Obama’s being re-elected: the gloves have come off and people like me (productively employed middle-class married straight Christian white males and their families) can finally see how they are now the designated targets who will pay for everything and get economically squeezed out and socially denigrated as well. The encroachments are coming thick and fast now.
So Claire Wolfe was right, I think, that it is too late to work within the system and too early to shoot the bastards. But political action can still accomplish some very good things, even if it is not going to be possible to take over completely and kick out all those clowns.
In the next post I’ll talk about how to deal with the game being rigged, and what can still be accomplished politically. But ultimately the nature of the struggle will be more religious than political.