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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Shrinkwrapped's Nightmare Scenario

Shrinkwrapped wrote a thoughtful post about utopianism and its effects in our society. The post begins with this sentence:
On almost every front in our culture wars, there is an underlying thread that distorts our understanding of the issues involved and makes compromise and resolution significantly more difficult than in the past.
You'll want to read the whole thing, but he ends with this:
Let me offer a nightmare scenario: The 2008 Presidential primary season and elections are likely to be presented as a choice between various Democrats promising us that there are simple solutions to major problems in the world and the (incompetent, evil minded, venal, take your pick) Republicans (and some allied Democrats) who have thwarted their attempts to bring the live flying reindeer of Peace, Love, and Happiness to the world. Furthermore, since achieving Peace, Love, and Happiness should have been an easy matter requiring relatively minor changes in the lives of their supporters, consider the implications when the world refuses to cooperate. If the next President, whether Gore, Bayh, Clinton, or someone as yet unknown, is a Democrat, they will find themselves trapped by the unrealistic expectations of a large segment of their base, who are already filled with rage and lusting for revenge. The MSM will only be able to protect the Democrats from reality for a short time before even the most fervent supporters of the left become uneasy. If a Republican wins despite the sense that everyone can see they are evil and corrupt, then the feelings of betrayal and hatred can only escalate. How can any President hope to govern in such an atmosphere?
This touches on a common theme among multiple bloggers recently. SW links to several, and you will find excellent additional links in my prior post. I honestly don't know how any president can hope to govern a nation if it will not be realistic. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves...."

Consider the left's war against Lieberman, and Richard Cohen's hate mail. There are some both on the left and the right who consider the centrists and those guided by conscience and pragmatism to be the worst possible betrayers, and in doing so the absolutists diminish themselves, not those they declare beyond the pale. Whenever you find yourselves declaring all those who don't entirely agree with you to be your enemies, a rational person ought to pull up short and rethink. You are multiplying your foes and diminishing your friends, and you should not do that unless it is a matter of the most extreme moral necessity.

I am thankful to live in a democracy. My best, most informed guess has often turned out to be wrong, and that of other voters has often turned out to be right. Sometimes you really win when the candidate for whom you voted loses the election.

Can we not at least try to recollect this feature and benefit of a democratic society? The best judgment of 51% of the voters, over time, is going to be better than the best judgment of a dictator over time - as long as we do try to exercise our best judgment when voting. Stamping our feet and demanding impossibilities is not exercising our best judgment.

Shrinkwrapped's post distinguishes the real threat ideologues pose in the attempt to hijack the political debate.

The litmus test is clear: If a particular political platform leaves no room for real compromise and/or accomadation, then it is clear that ideologues are attemting to impose their beliefs- and they need to be identified as a threat to the democratic process.
Yes - our constitution and our country was set up with the idea and the mechanism for modifying things as we go along. To lose sight of that reality is to abandon rationality.

Times change, and something that works well in one set of circumstances may not always work well. Administrations and philosophies come and go at the behest of the voters.

The rhetoric we hear is helpless rhetoric, but the helplessness is an illusion created by spinsters.
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