Like this blog, society is about positive relationships among empathetic people. Today’s post is another encouragement to diversity and pluralism.
Lack of empathy leads to adversarial polarization, which is a primary threat to domestic tranquility in the family or in the state. Polarization is a path to gridlock, which is a barrier to progress. A two-party political system is inherently an invitation to polarization. Shame on the two-party system!
Should the two-party system be replaced? The one-party alternative typically poses even worse prospects. A very limited reference to the Soviet Union might illustrate a shortcoming of having the Communist Party essentially coincident with the State. History (discussed here) recorded political jockeying before Nikita Khrushchev became premiere of the Soviet Union. Instead of being expressed as variant political party platforms, different viewpoints were driven by hostile factions within the party / state. Instead of a democratic selection process, there was essentially a power play among political actors, producing a mixed scorecard of favors and repression. Victims released from some of Stalin’s harsh policies probably felt more tolerance than did Hungarians and Ukrainians. The single-party state was not a homogeneous panacea with equal treatment of all.
In principle, political parties within a democracy are more functional than factions within a power-driven state. For example, if I rebel against a state policy of slavery or capital punishment, the state and I both suffer a degree of mutual destruction. The extremes of destruction are pogroms (against individuals) and revolutions (against states). On the other hand, if I rebel against a party platform on either issue, I retain options for other party affiliations while remaining in good standing with the state. Functional democracy avoids forceful suppression while it accommodates the freedom of judgment expressed in the above Wishy-Washy post of November 14. As the test of time, applied with proper checks and balances, weeds out improper party platforms, the state itself continues constructive organic evolution. Hurrah for a party system!
The next post will suggest a way to rise above the limitations of the one-party and two-party systems.