Thursday, September 28, 2006

We Want You....

And now for some random thoughts on politics...

Like any college, there a myriad of clubs at Seattle U that I could join. Most of them are linked to some sort of interest or aspect that people share. This might include common interest law such as the intellectual property club, reproductive rights club, the ACLU (of course), or the Constitution Society. Or, these might include groups based upon who you are, such as; the Women's law caucus, a club for homosexual lawyers, a club for Latino or Asian lawyers, etc... In amongst this spectrum of different organization are the two political standards, the Democrats and the Republicans clubs.

I was talking to my wife about all these clubs and the various self sorting the student were making and she jokingly asked if I was going to join the Democrats. I laughed at the inside joke, as she is an ardent republican and laughs at me every time that I vote Democrat, but then I told her no, I was not going to be join the Democrats.

There is a lot of pressure to choose though. Whether I’m in school or out, there is a lot of pressure from people I know in both parties to "take a stand" or rather, "if you're not with us, you're against us", and other rhetorical pressure tactics. But, I don't want to choose sides, and it's not just because I think that both sides have become so beholden to special interest money that the distinction has become meaningless, although that's probably the case. I don't want to choose because I believe that both parties are as often wrong and they are right, and that both political philosophies are essential in our American government.

On the one hand, society needs conservatism. Society is, no doubt, changing all the time. As population grows, as people migrate, as people learn new things, as societies are introduced to new ideas, their viewpoints change and each new generation has a slightly different take on things than their parent's. This is a natural process and I might argue that it is an essential element to societal health. That said, within any organization, be it a student club, a corporation, or a nation; unchecked and rapid growth can be devastating. Growth can weight too heavily on the organization’s ability to manage itself. Change can ruin a society perception of itself so much that it looses it's identify and goals. Conservatism is a natural check on this problem. Conservatism, at it's best, tries to control growth and change, to retard the fire of change so that it doesn't consume all of society with it.

This is the reason why I think conservatism has enjoyed such resurgence. Technology has allowed new economies to bloom outside of large cities and manufacturing center, as a result, an enormous amount of internal immigration from the cities into what were once small towns has brought enormous amounts of growth and new ideas into the heartland. In response to this, conservatism has bloomed across America's interior as those populations try to cling to their why of life and their ideals and control change.

Liberalism is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Where as conservatism tries to control growth and social change, liberalism tries to manage, integrate and foster growth and change.

[The interesting caveat here is the approach to economics. Each party seems reversed to what their position on societal change is, the conservatives are welcoming to economic growth and change where as the liberals want to control and discourage it, it's an interesting phenomenon which I'm sure must have been written about somewhere.]

The political modes, if left unchecked would lead to disaster. On the one had you could see an oppressive, conservative regime controlling every social action or you could have a liberal regime that would allow the foundation of American society to be worn away by any waves of change sweeping across our shores.

Therefore, I think both modes of thought should be welcomed and embraced. I do believe that in the long run liberalism will be the dominant political camp just because it's more practical to accept and manage social change and growth than to try to control it (I need to do some fact checking but I think the 20 century was a good example of this as democrats were the dominant party of the century (FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton).

That’s why I can’t join a single party club. I don’t think every party has the exclusive domain on what is right and what is wrong and both types of thought are needed to manage this society into the future.

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