Why Are There Two Dominate Political Parties?Submitted by Anti-Stupid on Tue, 09/25/2007 - 16:10
This is a response to FZ1_Rider’s “Two Party system - Why?”
This whole Ron Paul Revolution has made me rethink some of my previous concept of politics and human interaction. Like you, I asked myself “why are there only two dominate political parties, why not three or four or six?” While third parties can have significant influence at the local levels (smaller numbers needed to win) they seem to flounder on the national scene (massive numbers). While the two primary parties have millions of supporters, each of the other parties only number in a few hundred thousand supporters at best.
Is this phenomenon a rational consequence of human nature? I always thought that the Democrat and Republican Parties were appropriately named as they seem to stand for just what they are labeled. These concepts are as old as civilized man and can be traced back to their early beginnings with the “father of democracy” Socrates and the “father of individualism and republicanism” Aristotle. So these are certainly not new concepts. Third parties are really just variations of these two concepts.
After listening to Edward Griffin’s stirring opening comments about individualism and collectivism to one of Ron Paul’s speeches, I began to think of what this actually means. For some time I considered individualism to be the ultimate good and collectivism to be the ultimate bad. But this opinion makes for a win-lose “us against them”, conservatives against liberals, Republican against Democrat, positions. The Republican concept of individualisms being the winner and the Democratic concept of collectivism; the losers; but can it be that simple? In a word, No! By their very nature, political parties do not represent individualism; they represent liberal and conservative concepts of collectivism.
Webster’s dictionary defines “collectivism” as “the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution by the people as a whole, socialism”. This seems to me to be a pretty narrow definition when you consider that the root “collective” has multiple definitions, one of which is: “2. of or as a group; of or characteristic of individuals acting together”. This has nothing to do with control of production. Because of Webster’s narrow definition of collectivism as the “official” description, we have been trained to equate collectivism with socialism; something we just know is inherently wrong.
Socialism has nearly the same definition as collectivism, but here again the root word is “social”: of or having to do with human beings in their living together and dealings with one another”; hardly the negative concept of socialism as defined by Webster. Maybe we need to take a new look at what collectivism really is. My definition of collectivism is this: when two or more people come together for a common goal or purpose. If we take the onerous definition of socialism out of the equation, we are less likely to condemn these associations of people, including Democrats as being “Socialist”.
I have come to the conclusion that these two concepts of individualism and collectivism are joined at the hip. By human nature, we are all social beings. Plus the days of a self-sustaining agrarian existence has been replaced by a division of labor beyond what most people of 200 years ago could even envision. No one individual today can survive very long without being part of or affected by a collective.
From the smallest collective of 2 people coming together such as marriage all the way to a nation of people such as the United States, are all collectives practicing collectivism; my definition not Webster’s. This includes corporations, associations, religions, non-religions, political parties, charities, any group of people with a common goal and purpose.
So if, in my opinion, collectivism is not inherently bad, why does it almost always lead to bad policies and oppression of the individual? There must be a further description of collectivism. Collectivism must be broken down into two categories; Voluntary (good) and Involuntary (bad). The use of force is the primary difference between these two collective categories.
Collectives whether large or small are not human beings and therefore have no human rights unto themselves; only the individuals within the group have rights. These individuals also have responsibilities to abide by the laws as they pertain to other human beings. When the individuals within the collective use force to infringe on the rights of another individual either within or without its own membership, they are breaking the law and can and should be punished for their criminal acts.
Only when a collective usurps the power of government force to infringe on the rights of individuals, can they become exempt from the laws that could otherwise be used by the individuals to defend themselves from the collective. It does not matter whether the government “endorsed” collective is corporate in nature (oligarchy), religious in nature (theocracy) or even non-religious in nature (secular), the results of abuse are the same; the infringement on individual rights.
It would be no more appropriate for an atheist group to use the force of government to prevent religious freedom then it would be for a religious group to use the force of government to enforce religious compliance. It is the use of force that is evil not the collective and not the individual.
Once we accept the basic precept of the need for human interaction as represented by the collective and the need for individual freedom go hand in hand, we may be able to close some of the division between Democrats and Republicans. The democratic concepts of supporting the individual through collective activity and the republican concepts of protecting the individual from force of government and the collective, work together to raise us to a higher level of understanding and brotherhood.
In today’s political arena, neither party reflects the Socratic or Aristotelian concepts. Our political parties have been corrupted by the misuse of these ideals by the elitist in both party collectives that have set us against one another. It is the misuse by the few for their own aggrandizement that has corrupted our system of government from its natural humanitarian interaction of ideas.
To me, our revolution is about returning to the great foundation of a country incorporating the best ideas of both republican individualism and democratic processes. To that end, we must find the will to put aside our differences and work together. We must throw off this yoke of oppression brought upon us by the social planners and elitist now so dominate in our society who uses the force of government to their own ends. Hopefully we still have time.
It is up to each of us to recognize our liberal or conservative collectives must be free from the force of government for us to survive as a free people. When our individual freedom is once again secure, we can then argue the values and specifics of our different philosophies within our variety of voluntary collectives.