Monday, April 11, 2011

#9: I is for Independent

Politically I am an Independent, not being a member of any party. There's a reason for this.

I'm morally opposed to political parties. I consider them - all of them, whether I agree with them or not - an unconscionable intrusion in the proper priorities of elected officials.

The proper priorities of an elected official should be the people of the area that elected him or her, and the people of the entire area served by the body he or she was elected to. (So, for a US Congress member, his or her district and the country as a whole.) There is a natural tension between these two priorities, which the official needs to balance - getting government benefits for your district vs. the cost on the rest of the country. Is it right to fight for a defense contract in your district? How about if the military doesn't want or need the item?

Political parties want themselves to be the first priority. Defeating the other party is more important than improving your district, state, or country. (They argue this by claiming that letting them win is better for the country; any look at their actual performance tends to disprove their point. Leaving corrupt members in place because they're on your side is not good for the country.)

But then, this is normal for any organization. The first goal of any organization is always to perpetuate itself, more than any nominal goal they carry. An organization dedicated to ending some form of suffering can never declare victory and disband; instead, it will find new things to fight, even if it's not the right group to fight it. (MADD has pretty much defeated drunk driving as much as it's possible; it's gone from 'something to joke about' to 'morally abhorrent' in the past 20 years, largely through their efforts. They won. So they've moved on to fighting against alcohol in general.)

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