“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil.” – John Adams
The Great Illusion of the two-party system is that it allows the voter a choice – usually between a liberal and a conservative government. The reality is that, whichever party wins the election, the government is, in truth, a totalitarian one. The “choice” is a mere distraction from the true objective.
Recently, an American college student, Justin Snyder, commented on his choice for his country’s next president and his reasons for it. Mister Snyder said, in part,
“I support Hillary Clinton for president … When you add up her knowhow, leadership, and experience, it’s clear that Hillary Clinton is a perfect fit to be the commander-in-chief of the largest military the world has ever seen … The thing is, we’ve been trying the free market thing for centuries. All we have to show for it is a super wealthy class of people who run the country. What we need is someone to represent the common man, and that someone is Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
Mister Snyder has done quite well in absorbing the modern liberal party line, one that both advances itself on the concept of collectivism, yet reverses itself on its position just two generations ago that war is an evil concept, promoted by conservatives in an effort to control the world.
His comments are not unusual, and that’s what makes them significant. He’s a modern, educated, effectively indoctrinated liberal. His political counterpart is a modern, educated, effectively indoctrinated conservative. Together, they comprise the backbone of governmental dominance over a people: different party, same blind acceptance of political party dogma.
John Adams had it right in his 1780 letter to Jonathan Jackson, as quoted above. He understood that the old method of thought control – that of kings ordering their vassals what to believe – had had its day.
It had never been fully effective, as the vassal was free to decide whether he believed the king. But, as early as 1780, the future would belong to those politicians who were skilled in giving the public “A” and “B” choices.
People need to believe that they have a choice. Interestingly, though, they seem to be content with only two choices. A skilled politician therefore limits the number of choices to two and, today, this is the way it’s done in most “advanced” countries.
Whether it’s Democrat vs. Republican, or Tory vs. Labour, there are two dominant parties. Each is represented by a group of individuals seeking to gain or maintain public office.
Initially, in order to sell the two-party concept to voters, it’s important for each party to have a philosophical identity. These two identities would seem to need to be based on opposing primary principles or ideologies, such as a free market system vs. collectivism, or empire-building warfare vs. a commitment to peace.
The US did, indeed, follow this route in developing its own primary sports teams, the Democrats and the Republicans. And, along the way, it learned that the public can be best manipulated if they are blindly devoted to either one team or the other. (Those in the red T-shirts detest those in the blue, and vice versa.)
Once this blind devotion has been achieved, it becomes possible to dispense with the extreme polarity of principles and ideology. As stated above, only two generations ago, there was a “collectivism and peace” party and a “free market and empire” party in the US.
What they had in common, however, was that both required an increasingly larger government to support its objectives.
Today, the US political system has evolved to the point that the principles and ideology are disappearing. Today, Democrats fully accept and even encourage overseas aggression.
This has been achieved through the illusion of “terrorism.” Similarly, the Republicans have watered down their commitment to a free market system through the soma of ever-widening entitlements.
No longer is it necessary that the two dogmas are polar opposites. They can only be five degrees apart from each other, yet each team of supporters fully believes his team is morally right and the other team is morally wrong. Meanwhile, they’re both headed toward the same warfare/welfare end. And of course, both teams fully accept the concept that an ever-expanding government role is necessary in achieving these ends.
But how is it possible that the principles and ideologies have been virtually erased? After all, the very idea of principles is that they are not based on popularity, but on inner conviction.
Well, truth be told, the great majority of people have no real moral compass at all; no real inner sense of convictions. Their convictions can be manipulated in such a way that the portion of the brain that wishes to deal with convictions can be redirected into areas that are of little consequence.
On the surface of it, this seems like a bold and even radical statement, yet, as we can readily see, as long as never-ending debates are maintained over the less vital issues, such as abortion rights, gay rights, etc., a people can be distracted away from primary principles.
Therefore, the government has the ability to create the illusion that a two-party system exists when, in truth, as the caption below the above photo states, “VOTING: It’s deciding which criminal gets to steal everything you have.”
The concept of a government as a body of individuals that are chosen by election to represent the voters is a good one, but it’s not a concept that’s shared by those who are elected.
Those who are elected almost unanimously see the concept as one in which the rulers are determined. They have no illusion about representation, although they do understand that they must give the impression to voters that they see themselves as representatives. Rulers seek to rule. All other concerns are secondary.
Over time, those elected will look for every opportunity to increase their own power (both politically and economically). Consequently, the longer a governmental system exists in a given country, the more it will deteriorate toward tyranny.
At some point, there is, in almost every country, a rebellion of some sort that causes a reset – a return to a more democratic structure where a greater level of representation once again takes place. Then the deterioration, inexorably, begins anew.
This is why Thomas Jefferson was so fervent that, every so often, a revolution is essential.
It should be pointed out that the US is not alone in this deterioration. In all fairness, many other countries are in a similar state. Increasingly, people in these countries recognise that conditions are becoming tyrannical. Yet, most hold out the hope that the next election will somehow magically result in a return to basic freedoms.
This will not be the case. Deterioration is baked in the cake. Regardless of the candidate, regardless of the party, regardless of the country, the outcome will be the same.
But, as stated previously, the deterioration process is a very long one and, at any given time in history, there are countries that are not so far along in the process. A bright future does indeed exist, but it lies not in the hope of a reversal by political leaders. It lies in choosing one’s domicile – one where basic freedoms remain.
Jeff Thomas is British and resides in the Caribbean. The son of an economist and historian, he learned early to be distrustful of governments as a general principle. Although he spent his career creating and developing businesses, for eight years, he penned a weekly newspaper column on the theme of limiting government.