Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Central Political Issue of Our Time

The Central Political Issue of Our Time

by Seneca

Wed May 03, 2006 at 02:42:22 PM PDT

I start from the precept that the universe is an organic whole in which all individuals have a part to play. Justice, duty, and virtue are determined by the part we play in the cosmic totality. The essence of being human is to be rational and social -- we must think and act and at the same time be responsible and accountable for what we think and do.

As a people, Americans have been woefully short on both counts for many years. H.L. Mencken once said: "The typical American of today has lost all the love of liberty that his forefathers had, and all their disgust of emotion, and pride in self-reliance. He is led no longer by Davy Crocketts; he is led by cheer leaders, press agents, word-mongers, uplifters. ... the only way to success in American public life is in flattering and kowtowing to the mob."

But that's only part of the problem.
Seneca's diary :: ::

Tom Frank has the essence of what I want to say in his book "What's the Matter With Kansas": the terminal stupidity of the Democrats is largely to blame for the "backlash" that puts those whose economic status should make them vote Demoratic vote Republican instead. All this is due to the Democrats' abandonment of the groups and of the fundamental issue of economic justice that comprised their coalition of voters and their agenda of ideas through the post-WW II era. They have sold out and simply become Republican "light," conceding the economic ground.

Not until Democrats return to an earlier view, one articulated by a Republican president, will they begin to lead. Democrats need to look back at Theodore Roosevelt, who said: "The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means."

From this much follows. The central issue in politics is and ought to be seen as where to draw the line here -- how much of the public's burden is fairly carried by the rich now?

But Democrats appear merely to have bought into the Republican game of hiding in plain sight using culture wars and social issues to mask the real political issues of our times, which IMHO are fundamentally economic in nature: energy policy, health care, jobs, pensions, trade policy and this country's crumbling sanitation and transportation infrastructure -- and all of this flowing from the continuing laissez faire looting of the country, the growing divide between haves too much and haves not enough.

The problem at the center of all this is the headlong fall into laissez faire capitalism, which we escaped from with great pain in the post-Civil War era. Learning nothing from our own history, we are doomed to repeat a lot of it....