Reply to Charlie Cook

On July 23, 2016, we discontinued our forums. We ask our members to please join us in our new community site, The Hartmann Report. Please note that you will have to register a new account on The Hartmann Report.

1 post / 0 new

A reply to the following:

Some food for thought by one of the shrewdist political commentators alive today...Charlie Cook. Politically...Charlie is as independent as a hog on ice. Both parties agree that when Charlie speaks it is wise to listen...

"...what of the rancor? The discord? The partisanship? The politics? Like George Washington, we are quick to dismiss “politics.” This is naïve. Conflict in politics is not only inevitable; it is axiomatically imperative. Politics is division. Political parties do not exist arbitrarily, but are a rational, practical response to dispute. As long as we keep our republic — and in fact even if we do not — people will form cliques in order to forward their agendas. The only way to remove the need for parties, and the disruption they cause, is to remove the capacity for disagreement completely. One cannot help but suspect that for some who claim to find antagonism so tiring, this is the latent desire."

"The cacophonous noise, argument, and hysteria that has characterized Washington over the last few weeks is not, in fact, a sign that the system is broken, but that it is working — this is what is supposed to happen. The federal government was designed to divide power, and to set factions and branches against one another. Our founding fathers made a conscious and reasoned attempt at blunting the unifying edges of the British parliamentary system in favor of Montesquieu’s separation of powers."

"This is politics, not ballet. Representative government should be a noisy process. But for all the system’s flaws, we should be pleased that the sound we hear on C-SPAN is of bickering and argument and debate, rather than the eerie silence of enforced acquiescence or the boisterous failure of gunfire. It should be enough that we can resolve our differences peaceably without expecting tranquility."
What say you?

A reply:

"Separation of Powers" is what is necessary when rule by wisdom is absent. Whose wisdom? you might ask.
Wisdom is wisdom and those who know it and have it are not troubled by who speaks it. Checks and balances
arise from a recognition that society lacks sufficient depth of self-knowledge to trust itself. It is like the addict saying,
"Look, I am trying to quit, but I need you to throw me down and tie me up when I can't stop my habit."

This is a form of wisdom, as you can see. We have been passing through a period of human development in which
shallow concepts of ourselves and what is valuable in life have dominated. We actually know better. There is
deep agreement within us all as to what makes for fulfillment and happiness. But that wisdom has been shouted
down during this time of perfecting our control over the physical, the material world. We have become intoxicated
with our ability to make nature do what we want and to seek our security in emphasizing differences between us
out of fear, then resorting to naked power to dominate each other.

It is becoming clear to us that no one ever really wins. And whoever is on top is there tenuously. We are part
of Nature, and like Nature,
humanity cannot continue if one part prospers at the expense of another part.

We are now realizing the results of this experiment. A fatique is overtaking our intoxication with external "solutions"
and external manipulations to control ourselves via laws because these have brought us face to face with an emptiness, a vacuum of meaning
and happiness. Technology - indeed all the "priesthoods" - from science to law, cannot save us from our own ignorance about what and who we are.
Separation of powers has only resulted in ever more clever forms of corruption, because surrendering personal
responsibility to the rule of laws created by people like ourselves who sell their leadership and public trust to
special interests can only lead to serfdom for those who relinquish power to them. And it has.

Making certain that no one branch of government dominates may prevent tyranny by any one branch, but it does not
mean wisdom will prevail. It does mean a noisy, inefficient clash of selfish interests resulting in deals that avoid
the core issues facing the nation but which preserve what the representatives want most - their own jobs and
power. Such a system eventually has to succumb to its own fundamental flaws. Playing musical chairs with the
public wealth and well-being must oneday end in facing the truth: the public cannot indefinitely pay for a charade
that saps their prosperity and sense of security to benefit the few.

A council of the wise would be calm. In a circle of such persons, the intrinsic value of what is said by any member
is immediately apparent to all because none are pursuing special interests. No one is there with a personal agenda.
Vision is clear, therefore.

Can you imagine a congress rising to this level? Any modern system of government?

Now that the futility of our system of separation of powers is becoming painfully obvious, people turn to better
sources. They know very well that there is a voice within that can speak with wisdom and is not swayed
by ambition. We all have it. We forgot to use it for a while.

We are beginning to remember.

We will be fine. We are finding our voices again. Voices that speak for the whole, not just a part.


Jun. 15, 2010 9:07 pm

There's a 1 in 20 Chance of the Apocalypse. Shouldn't We Act Now?

A new study published in Science argues that we as a civilization need to move "rapidly" -- as in almost immediately -- towards a carbon emissions free future if we are to have any chance of holding off runaway global warming:

Powered by Pressflow, an open source content management system