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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bipartisianship

One of those words that seems to get tossed in when politicians need something vauge and positive-sounding is bipartisian. The idea, I guess, beind an homage to that central idea of democracy: meeting in the middle and compromising.

But, like most newspeak, bipartisian is a word to be feared. Again, look at the admirable bipartisian co-operation on the housing front going back at least twenty years. Conservatives wanted to promote home ownership becasue (for whatever reasons) they believed it promoted family values. Liberals wanted to increase the standard of living by giving people things. Imagine the flash of bipartisian insight! "Gentlemen, I think we can work together. We'll pretend to give people houses, both parties are satisfied, and nobody looses unless we run out of rungs on the pyramid, in which case we can blame it on the banks that own the houses."

I think its a Jefferson quote that says: "No citezen's life, liberty, or property are safe while congress is in session. "

Match that with Franklin's quip: "when the public realizes that they can vote themselves money, the republic is doomed."

... and we have cause for pessemism. Oh those insightful old fogies, if only they had been insightful enough to, ah... prevent all this. How? Well they certainly couldnt have forseen any of the specifics, but stronger restrictions on government power would have been nice. I understand that both those guys above advocated for exactly that, they just didn't fully with the argument. Oh compromise, you strumpet!

As far as where we're going from here, see this terse and un-hopeful analysis on Overcoming Bias.

And with regards to the comparison of Obama to FDR (and the negative consequences of government meddling in private affairs), this op-ed from the WSJ offers a take on what we've seen so far. You could state the obvious and object that the Wall Stree Journal has a distinct adgenda to promote, but that fact alone doesn't invalidate their logic. If you're brave enough to set aside your own bias (however temporarily) and investigate the validity of their claims, I think in most cases you'll find that the answer is "disturbingly so."

Maybe filling the blogosphere with discontent will have some tiny effect on the environment. Come on, everyone, do your part!

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