Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another Point of View

Here is a bit from a post by Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert cartoon, on the role of political parties:
... imagine what would happen to campaign funding if political parties didn't exist. In our current system, a union can give a million dollars to the Democratic Party and it doesn't seem too wrong because the party represents about half of the voters in the country. But if political parties didn't exist, unions or corporate interests would have to donate to individuals. And a large donation to an individual campaign would either be illegal or it would look so much like a bribe that it would be counter-productive.

I think political parties made sense in pre-Internet times. It was a good way to organize and to produce candidates who had a legitimate chance of getting elected. Now it's easy to imagine the Internet being a better platform for electing the right people. The problem is that there's no way to get to a different type of system from here. The major parties are too entrenched to give up power, and belonging to organizations is a fundamental freedom.

I'm fascinated by the fact that the freedom to organize into political parties limits our other freedoms more than most people realize. Political parties make the government incompetent, and the result of ineffective government is that citizens are less prosperous. Poverty is the ultimate restriction of freedom.
He makes some interesting points, but I don't agree. It is just too hard for individuals to "do their political duty". There are only so many hours in the day. So we delegate. We delegate legislating to representatives. We delegate political organizing to political parties. Nothing wrong with delegating so long as your underlings are honest and report back when problems occur. That's the problem with current politics. The parties and politicians try to hide problems and misrepresent things to "get away" with stuff. Usually they are being bought off by special interests but presenting themselves as "servants of the people". There's the problem. How to keep them honest. How to have transparency. How to eliminate the corruption of money.

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