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OP/ED: Partisanship: Refuge Of The Scoundrel

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posted on Jul, 4 2005 @ 06:46 PM
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It's an extension of the human condition; we seek to form groups from which to derive comfort and support. The same expression of humanity is repeated over and over again in many different ways. But when it's used as subterfuge, and as a refuge, for scoundrels we have to step outside the safety of our own group and deny them their swords and shields. This Op/Ed seeks to shed light on the cause, use and ways to combat political partisanship.
 


We all do it

The strongest struggle we will experience will be against our own prejudice

We are all guilty of it to some extent. I label myself as “left leaning”, it helps convey my basic principles quickly. But it doesn’t convey everything about me. It doesn’t convey my unlikely distain for affirmative action. It doesn’t convey my unlikely support for the Iraq War during 2002. It doesn’t convey a lot of things about me but I still use the label.

Does the fact that I class myself as “left leaning” mean that I think those who are “right leaning” are inherently wrong? Of course not, but does my innate need to belong to a group cause problems? You bet. Do I want to correct these problems? Absolutely! Herein lays my impetus for writing this article. It’s my overture to bipartisanship and my reasoning for doing so.

The human condition is prone to creating groups and distinctions between people. The gender, race, nationality and religion of a person has all been used to prejudge and separate people for millennia. That we would eventually create political groups, and prejudge people based on them, was a certainty.

When evil men use our instinct of creating divisions to their advantage it becomes a problem. When political partisanship is used as a sword and shield for nefarious individuals it becomes a problem. Do we allow our partisanship to continue to take centre stage and allow the spotlight of public attention to continually miss its mark? Or is it possible to free ourselves from our comfort, convenience and ignorance?

To better understand why partisanship occurs, and why it has to go, our basic need for such human behaviour has to be understood.

Partisanship as a basic human trait

Humans are a social animal. The oldest and most primitive group we recognize is the family group. We all derive comfort and increased power from the unity our family group provides. The next progression of this grouping was the extended family, which provided increased security and raised our chances of survival.

The basic trait of banding together comes with requirements. Its no good banding together if everyone pulls in opposite directions. For example, Zog says the family should stay put for the winter but Zug says we should all go south. Half the family follows him and the other half goes with Zog. Now your overall familial strength is reduced, the chances of your family unit dying are increased. Consensus and like-mindedness within your group was a matter of survival.

Over the years, this basic trait of finding groups and the need for consensus expanded to include every aspect of human endeavour. With the advent of religion those who shared the same belief banded together. After contact between two different races, each race banded together to ensure their existence. With the creation of nations the same basic human trait applied, nationalism ensures the survival of the nation as a whole.

Not only does this instinct to form groups provide protection, it also expedites our appraisal of individuals. For example, you bump into a stranger in a foreign country, you are wary, you say "Sorry mate", the stranger replies "Hey are you Australian?", "yes!" you reply. You instantly recognize some kind of bond and both of you let your guard down somewhat - its human nature.

Democracy is another human creation; as such, the basic human trait of forming groups of likeminded individuals in the interest of combined strength, is applied to it. To form a democratic government you need to convince a lot of people of your worth. It’s a tall order, and one that would not be possible if you had to slug it out and argue over every single topic with every citizen.

How do you overcome the hard task of convincing the majority of an entire nation? You form political parties and create manifestos – a set of beliefs you can point to easily and not have to orate on a regular basis. Why reinvent the wheel and risk preaching to the choir? The creation of political parties saves time and increases your chances of forming a government. If you have a manifesto you can espouse to by simply labelling yourself a member of a party, you can draw strength from that group. This is not necessarily a problem.

When partisanship becomes a problem

Partisanship as a shield
Christian solidarity was used to shield those who carried out wholesale murder during the Crusades. The wilier amongst politicians similarly hide behind their group to deflect personal criticism. They do it knowing they will be protected; to not defend them only weakens the group as a whole.

We instinctively protect our own. If you see an attack on a member of your social unit, you retaliate first and ask questions later. If you didn’t, the use of groups as a survival mechanism would cease. We all do it, a parent does it for their child, a Pope will do it for his clergy, and political parties will do it for their members.

When this instinctive protection is cynically exploited, and used as a shield to protect wrongdoing from all criticism, it becomes a major problem. If you are partisan yourself, you cannot separate your attack on the wrongdoings of an individual from being seen as competing with their whole group

Partisanship as a sword
Partisanship is also used as an excuse to discredit an entire group based on the actions of an individual. The labelling of all members of a political party as wrong over the actions of an individual also insulates those who do wrong, on both sides.

When you get to the stage where you can dismiss a person by simply hearing where they supposedly sit on a political spectrum, we all suffer from ignorance.

What to do?

This leaves us in a situation whereby our basic human nature is being exploited by evil men to cover their tracks and to deflect attention from themselves. An attack on them becomes an attack on the group, and is defended as such. Criticism from a rival group loses all individual merit and becomes a matter of group survival.

Before complaining how its “other people’s partisanship” that’s the problem we need to realise that OUR partisanship is equally to blame. What chances do we have of disabusing others of their partisan tendencies if we cling to ours for dear life?

Only when you can step outside the sanctity of your own partisanship can you seek to stop the scoundrels that run wild in our governments. Only when we start to judge EVERY politician on their individual merits, instead of what political party they ally themselves with, can we appreciate that there is good and evil every where. Only when individual integrity is the predicate of our support can we remove the scoundrel elements that prey on our basic human instincts.

When some one asks you whether you are “left, right or centre?” tell them you are “above”. Tell them you are “above” the basic human necessity to hide behind a label. Tell them you are “above” judging individuals purely on the basis of what group they belong to. Tell them you are “above” defending scoundrels only because to not do so would weaken your group.

We’ve made racism, sexism, elitism and religious intolerance unacceptable, let’s evolve and do the same with our political inclinations. Beware EVERY politician that furthers partisanship. Only when we all shun partisanship can we truly deny refuge to these scoundrels.

[edit on 4/7/05 by subz]




posted on Jul, 4 2005 @ 06:56 PM
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What a great ATSNN story. One thing I do think though, is that if we have no more partisans then will there be a reduction of new ideas? With electorall votes there allready isn't anything new, but still...



posted on Jul, 5 2005 @ 05:25 AM
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I dont see how not being partisan will reduce the amount of ideas. On the contrary, if you dont have to tow the party line you can be free to put forth any idea you wish.



posted on Jul, 5 2005 @ 02:10 PM
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What an amazing editorial! Outstanding...

Not to argue, because I would love very much to see an end to the simple-minded partisanship that our political system is based on, but...
With the system the way it is NOW, how can it be changed from the outside by the voters? Of course, the answer would be "Just vote for the independants!", but...
That splits up all of the "intelligents thinker's" votes, and in the end, the rest of the sheeple in this country will win, because their votes were still only divided into two mainstream parties! How does THAT get fixed? grrr...



posted on Jul, 5 2005 @ 02:48 PM
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Subz, I offer an apology. I have disagreed with comments you have made in the past and immediately thought to "classify" you as a particular kind of person. That was wrong. I may share more in common with you than not but by slamming you or disregarding your views over one issue I have disagreed with you I lose my ability to think freely and independently. I paint myself into a partisan corner.

Your commentary is very thought provoking. A little niave maybe. I say that not because it's not a valid set of points that you brought up, but rather that the nature of politics is in partisanship. Moderates who avoid partisan politics often find themselves unable to be re-elected because it can be hard to discern where they stand on polarizing issues.

At any rate Subz, I think you bring a special light to a uniquely human set of problems.



posted on Jul, 5 2005 @ 03:09 PM
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Thanks for the compliments guys.


Looking4truth, any one who uses Zug and Zog as an example is asking to be called naieve
I understand you comments though, im no pyschologist or anthropologist, im just a guy that can see we are being exploited. And im sick of arguing with obviously good and morally sound people over issues that shouldnt rate a mention. And I appreciate your apology.

I hope any one reading this editorial can just see how futile partisanism is. It doesnt benefit their group, it weakens us all. Its a trojan horse that has been exploited for centuries. The sooner we close this vulnerability, the better



posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 11:19 AM
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Originally posted by subz
I dont see how not being partisan will reduce the amount of ideas. On the contrary, if you dont have to tow the party line you can be free to put forth any idea you wish.



That's me!

...and boy does it PO the partisans.


The right calls me left; the left calls me right; and the commies call me an anarchist.



SUBZ for ATSNN Councillor



posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 11:26 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow
SUBZ for ATSNN Councillor

Thank you Soficrow! That means alot to me


This was one of my favourite Op/Ed pieces. The notion of partisanship and its convenience to evil doers is eternally relevant to society. Deny it at all costs!

[edit on 9/10/05 by subz]



posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 12:04 PM
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What you propose Subz is downright laughable. If the world followed your thoughts it would end in nothing but chaos.



posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 12:08 PM
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Originally posted by shots
What you propose Subz is downright laughable. If the world followed your thoughts it would end in nothing but chaos.

Care to elaborate on your objection and stance? Or are we merely to discordantly agree to disagree? What is downright laughable? And how would it end in chaos?



posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 12:15 PM
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Very good comprehensive analysis there, it all comes to the bottom line we are humans after all and as humans we all are infected with the human condition of been conditioned into the way of thinking of the people you trust even if their views are not they right ones.

Even when we are able to exercises free will and individualism, we are conditioned by society that you have to chose one side or the other, because individuality and free thinking is seen as an anomaly.



posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 12:36 PM
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Originally posted by subz
And how would it end in chaos?


Simple with a no party system many would not agree with each other and nothing would ever get done when writing laws, budgets, policies etc.

Just look at the situation in Germany right now the election has been over for weeks and they still do not have a leader because they have so many parties. What you propose is worse then what they have and in their case it is only a few parties. Now imagine more parties/individual thoughts and what do you get Chaos


[edit on 10/9/2005 by shots]



posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 04:48 PM
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Originally posted by shots
...with a no party system many would not agree with each other and nothing would ever get done when writing laws, budgets, policies etc.




Oh, things would get done. Just slowly, with full awareness - and without the opportunity for destructive backdoor deal making.

How is that a problem?



.



posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 06:39 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow
Oh, things would get done. Just slowly, with full awareness - and without the opportunity for destructive backdoor deal making.


Really! What then is going on in Germany right now? Back door deal making that's what and you can bet your biffy a lot of back stabbing to get what they want.



posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 09:07 PM
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Originally posted by shots

Originally posted by soficrow
Oh, things would get done. Just slowly, with full awareness - and without the opportunity for destructive backdoor deal making.


Really! What then is going on in Germany right now? Back door deal making that's what and you can bet your biffy a lot of back stabbing to get what they want.





No - that's not what happens. The boyz need to compromise, and serve several agendas at one time. No steamrollers allowed. It's not 'expedient' in a business sense, but it's balanced in a human sense. And slow. IMO - better than fascism.


.



posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 11:04 PM
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I agree Sofi, it would be a lot tougher to get things done. But who ever said democracy is meant to be easy? Isn't the very core of our democratic way of life worth the trouble of hard work? We can clearly see how the expediency of the two party preferred system has failed us all.

Shots, the only people who benefit from the current system are the wealthy. They buy favour with both parties and its their agenda, and theirs alone, which gets served. You cannot deny that, and if you want to keep that your either very rich or completely under informed.

[edit on 9/10/05 by subz]



posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 11:13 PM
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I have no problem relinquishing any political or partisan labels that my poltiical beliefs may have urged others to apply to me. Now that that has been set aside, I urge all of you to agree with me...or at least to disagree with me without labeling me.

I stand firm in my political beliefs. Others stand as firm in an opposing view. There's no way to resolve this short of voting a banal restriction on name calling.

I vote we restrict those who don't have the same political convictions of myself from speaking hyperbole that paints the whole thing in an false light...that's the best I can come up with.



posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 11:20 PM
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Originally posted by subz
I agree Sofi, it would be a lot tougher to get things done. But who ever said democracy is meant to be easy? Isn't the very core of our democratic way of life worth the trouble of hard work? We can clearly see how the expediency of the two party preferred system has failed us all.



You misunderstand me subz. I think slowing things down is a really good idea. IMO - our world is a disease-ridden pig pen because too many people pushed to hard and too fast to make the big bucks. Now of course, they've killed the goose that laid the golden eggs....


.
subz for ATSNN Councillor



posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 11:22 PM
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I'm curious. Are we talking about Canada's subservient form of democracy here? or Britain's dominant form of democracy?

We really need to be clear on which one we're trying to perfect. I have a lot of ideas for either case.



posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 11:32 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow
You misunderstand me subz. I think slowing things down is a really good idea. IMO - our world is a disease-ridden pig pen because too many people pushed to hard and too fast to make the big bucks. Now of course, they've killed the goose that laid the golden eggs....

Ah I did misunderstand you there Sofi. I happen to believe that the wrong people have been pushing the wrong system too hard. Its not the conviction and the tenacity thats the problem.

Val, my Op/Ed is talking about partisanship in general, be it American, British, Canadian, wherever. It focuses on the politicians who use our partisan tendancies to get away with their crimes and lies. Whether you call yourself a lefty, righty, libertarian, etc is not really the problem. Its the politicians who play you off against those you genuinely disagree with which is the problem. In todays American and British governments its so very easy to do because we have two dominant parties who have been dominant for decades (and in America's case centuries).

We could even keep the two-party prefered system if the majority of us woke up and understand how it can lend to our manipulation. When we stop demonizing, or even condoning the demonization, of our polar political opposites we put an end to partisanista's who prey off our human condition.



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