In the interests of accuracy and in order to reduce double talk I’d like to suggest we stop the equivocation around the word Christian. Let’s use Christian to describe someone who follows the doctrines of a mainstream sect of Christianity. And let’s call the Religious Right political nut jobs Christianists. Calling them Christians brings disrepute on the faith of many decent people. The suffix ism clearly separates religion from the politics of nutters, traitors and fools.
In politics words are used to confuse and persuade all too often. Arguemnts take the form of equivocations and false logic. An example is the politician’s syllogism, also known as the politician’s fallacy is a (falsely) logical argument of the form:
We must do something
This is something
Therefore, we must do this.
Oh man, do we choke on this all the time or what?
Thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes can be modified, but they can also remain intransigent in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. And we have seen the horror and ultimate failure of force to make a permanent change in thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes in the XXth century. I think one persuades people to change, who are willing to change, and that takes time… generational time.
I’d suggest much behavior at least is conditioned to the rules and incentives that pertain in a given society. For example, look at the variety of societies that stem from Britain as “mother country.” Are the day to day differences derived from divergent behaviors, thoughts, and attitudes, or derived from divergent electoral and governmental rules and incentives?
My point, made another way for example in regard to Congressional corruption: do we remake the people or the institution. I am skeptical that the kind of people drawn to and successful in congress as is, are reformable. But what if we changed how we selected our national legislature, and how they were held accountable: would that result in a different sort of person in the legislature?
Instead of an expectation of heroic legislators fighting against human nature and a system evolved to absorb individuality, instead why not create a system that can succeed while acknowledging human nature: outcome oriented rather than process oriented.
Toward this end I suggest:
1. Proportional representation by statewide popular vote.
2. Additionally each state gets two more representatives.
3. Expand the number of representatives, to a total of the combined number of state and federal legislators, staffers and lobbyists as a start.
4. These members constitute both their states legislatures and their state’s delegation to the U.S. legislature, which should become unicameral.
5. The state governors, major office holders in the state and federal government should come out of this pool of talent. All departments and personnel reportable and responsible to the Congress.
6. Public funding of elections. Good pay for those elected. And to reduce lobbying and attendant corruption, make it illegal to give a bribe, but legal to accept a bribe, as long as it is fully reported. This is designed to break the bond of trust between briber and bribed.
7. A secure and impartial electoral commission system, with parallel functionaries and observers. Voting to extended over a one week period, 24 a day at publicly maintained locations. Ad hoc sites and equipment should be reduced to a minimum.
8. Plenary authority moved to the national government
9. Clarification, transparency and reorganization of national and regional chains of authority and responsibility, with an emphasis on delivering service not denying eligibility.
We shouldn’t be surprised that people feel disenfranchised in a government in whose staffing they have only a partial and limited say. Perhaps people would vote in large numbers if they felt it mattered and there was an open polling place that didn’t require missing work, in other words don’t require a choice between the economic and the democratic aspects of life. The latter either requires a national holiday, a real one, where employers are penalized for each person who works that day or 24 hour seven day per week polling stations.
I suggest these changes as being more likely to produce coherence in government and more democratic than the current system which has devolved quite far from what was originally created, though the nomenclature remains the same.
Conservatives lack personal responsibility, and blame others when they and their policies fail. They engage in Liberal baiting, yet are themselves thin skinned whiners, fighting their own personal demons. Conservatives fail time after time to implement workable policies and then blame the opposition for their failure: this is even more apparent in foreign policy than elsewhere.
A favorite rhetorical device is, to blame the opposition or some oppositional group for Conservative policy failures. The inverted logic of dreams is their gut check. Criticism of a failed policy is not actually able to be the cause of the preceding failure. The thing that causes home front support to crack is when the governments rhetoric becomes so obviously detached from the reality of the situation people lose heart. But, the failure preceded the loss, and to expect people to support a failed policy is to misunderstand human nature, and to dishonestly abjure the personal responsibility of the decision makers.
Conservatives indulge in “stab in the back” rhetoric: that a given war could be won if only the people will maintain their resolve. That is only true for things that are hard, not for pipe dreams. The Civil War was hard, WW2 was hard, and American will did not falter. Vietnam and
Iraq were ill considered and reckless gambles that in neither case went to our national security. These two wars were sold on falsehoods and their perpetuation served no good purpose.
The outcome in Vietnam in 1975 was far worse than what could have been expected without our intervention. There were no dominos and Communism was never monolithic. The revolutionary nationalism that motivated war against foreign occupation was broad based initially. The course and pointless viciousness of the war gave a dedicated cadre of true believers (communists) control of the movement and then the country. They could not have done the same in a peaceful transition and early western withdrawal. We expended inordinate blood and treasure in a manner that actually helped the communists versus their own domestic opposition.
Foolishly we initiated a war that we went on to lose in a humiliating spectacle, and worse we learned the wrong lesson, took no responsibility and blamed the people opposed to the war. We are fighting in a country that did not attack us, for an impossible goal, we name our cause noble and forgive us our own transgressions, we are doing it again: Conservative
race-baiting liberal-baiting and all.
The Conservative movement philosophy is diametrically opposed to every reason this country was founded and every article of the Constitution. The damage inflicted on our economy, constitution and civil liberties from Conservatives is an indictment of their asinine world view. That their movement is still getting any support when it has been so consistently wrong, and wrong in a way that is verifiable, is an indictment of our system, and the foolishness of people who think marginal change wrought by congressional democrats constitutes change of any kind.
We need a new government.