Monday, April 23, 2007

Ideology Über Alles

If we are not the country most concerned with ideas, and least concerned with human life, then I simply don't know what we are.

Item: Newt Gingrich blames the shootings at Virginia Tech on "liberalism." Even individuals are captives of ideas, not agents of their own actions.

Item: the Supreme Court upholds a ban on "partial birth abortions." Of course, the US infant mortality rate is higher than any country in Western Europe, with the exception of Ireland. In states like Mississippi, it has reached a level almost double the US rate. Does this worry politicians or activist groups? Apparently not.

Item: Canada is publicly concerned about its role in Afghanistan after 9 Canadian troops die there in a 10 day period. The US lost 35 soldiers in Iraq in the same period. Which isn't to say we aren't questioning our role in Iraq, also. But we didn't start after losing 9 soldiers in 10 days. We consider people much more expendable than that.

The idea of aborting fetuses, though, sends us into a frenzy. The idea of people disagreeing with our politics, makes us livid. But the idea of doing anything about it, such as, say, having elections where we have runoffs for the Presidency, thus encouraging multiple parties to participate in public decision making, an idea that prompted an 87% turnout in France's presidential elections....well, we can't have that, either. It might actually encourage people to participate in their democracy.

Even in left blogistan, the idea of a third party is anathema, because it would lead to a dilution of political power. We don't want people to participate in the political process, unless they agree with us. We can't allow the concept of a third party unless we first change the electoral system. But without the pressure of "third parties" (a term that already considers two to be normative), there will be no pressure to change the electoral system because why change a system that already works with the two parties we have established? And why start a third party, because without a change in the electoral system, a third party will simply weaken the power of one of the two "major" parties? We don't care about people. We care about the conversation, we care about the political ideologies. We want to control that.

Ideas are everything here. People are simply another means to power. People are simply another way to make sure our ideas prevail. We have become a nation of Platonists non pariel, convinced that we only serve the truth of the Good. Whatever the mysterious and ineffable "Good" might be.

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