Why Do We Even Need Political Parties?

It doesn’t matter who you are, when you registered to vote you were asked to choose which political party you wished to be recognized as supporting. The Pew Research Center keeps tabs on a great many things, but one of them is the percentage of registered voters and what political party they affiliate with. According to statistics gathered, from the years 1992-2016, roughly 48% of the voters were registered as Democrats, while 44% were registered as Republicans, with the other 8% spread out amongst the other parties.

Have you ever stopped to think about political parties; I mean truly think about them? Have you ever asked yourself why we even need political parties? Have you ever asked yourself what political parties actually are, how they came into existence, or how they have changed over the course of our nation’s history? I know to most of you those kinds of questions don’t matter and you find the study of such things boring; but I find it fascinating and essential if you are to understand the extent to which you are being controlled and manipulated.

Did you know that our very first president under the Constitution did not belong to a political party? George Washington was elected by an almost unanimous vote of the people without the divisiveness that followed in American politics after Washington chose not to serve a third term as president.
Are you also aware that a great many of our Founders believed that political party’s, or factions as they called them back then, were dangerous to our system of governance and to our liberty? Well, they did.

John Adams once wrote, “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 under our Constitution.”

Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of our Declaration of Independence, and 3rd President of the United States, said this about them, “I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics or anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”

Finally, in his Farewell Address to the nation, George Washington discussed the dangers they posed, saying, “However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

If those who participated in securing America’s independence and establishing its system of government felt so strongly about the dangers political parties posed, why is it, do you think, that so many people flock to them today like moths flock to a source of light?

As long as there have been systems of government, there have been those who sought to gain the power those systems held over the people. In his personal notes, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Wherever there are men, there will be parties; and wherever there are free men they will make themselves heard. Those of firm health and spirits are unwilling to cede more of their liberty than is necessary to preserve order; those of feeble constitutions will wish to see one strong arm able to protect them from the many. These are the Whigs and Tories of nature. These mutual jealousies produce mutual security; and while the laws shall be obeyed, all will be safe. He alone is your enemy who disobeys them.”

The key point in Jefferson’s comments is, “… while the laws shall be obeyed, all will be safe. He alone is your enemy who disobeys them.” So, if our Constitution is the law which established our system of government, and the law which proscribes what powers it shall hold, then does it not make sense that this is the law Jefferson was speaking of? Does it not make sense that the enemy he speaks of is the man, or group of men, who violate that law? Does it matter then that the law is being violated by those on the political right or the political left; Republicans or Democrats?

In answer to my own question, no, it does not matter. It does not matter that the Constitution or is violated by Republicans or by Democrats. What matters is that those who perpetrate such violations are your enemy. Why then do you still support them? Is it because if you were to think for yourself, to stand for what you truly believe in that your vote wouldn’t matter; as the people who stand for truly constitutional government don’t stand a snowballs chance in hell of getting elected? Is that why you vote along party lines rather than vote for principle?

I don’t mean to come across sounding insulting, but that shows a serious lack of character and integrity on the part of anyone who does that. You know, John Quincy Adams once said, “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”

I may be alone in thinking this, but I doubt it; nonetheless, I believe that the seeds from which our current political parties grew out of were planted during the debates which produced our Constitution. There were those in attendance at that convention who wanted a much stronger government than the one our Constitution outlines. Alexander Hamilton wanted an elective monarchy for crying out loud! Even James Madison did not get a government with all the power he had hoped it would have.

So it was little surprise that as soon as the government outlined by the Constitution went into effect that those who sought to subvert its limits upon the powers given government would worm their way into the system itself and work to expand the powers held by government beyond those specifically mentioned in the Constitution.

When Washington chose not to seek a third term as President it opened the doorway for those who sought a much more powerful government to get a like minded candidate elected as president. Thus the first political parties in America came into existence; the Federalists, who favored a liberal interpretation of the powers given government, and the Democratic-Republicans who favored a stricter interpretation of the powers given government.

I find it somewhat ironic that the first true conservatives were known as Democratic-Republicans, while today those two words are used to differentiate between the so-called liberals and conservatives; when in truth today’s political parties are all liberal in their interpretation of the powers granted government by the Constitution.

So, the origin from which our current two party system stem are from the differing beliefs as to how much power our government should exercise. Therefore, can it not be said that true conservatism is a strict adherence to what the Constitution says, and that liberalism is a disregard for the limits imposed upon the powers our government shall exercise?

I don’t want to go into a lengthy discussion of all the dispensations of political parties in America over the course of her history. Let it suffice to say that over the course of time the question of how much power government shall exercise has taken a back seat to the ideologies of those who form the two political parties in America.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds exactly like what Washington tried to warn us about, how “… cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government…”

It may come as a surprise to you, but for a substantial period of America’s history it was the Democratic Party which was the true conservative party in America; being founded upon the beliefs and ideologies of Thomas Jefferson and his belief in a very limited central government.

What shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone capable of critical thought, is that if there is a group of people in any country who seek to gain control over the government of that country, they certainly wouldn’t offer to support candidates from the party that seeks to limit the powers exercised by government. So it should come as no surprise that it was the early Republican Party who was the target of business and banking interests as the party they would support and lend funds to in order to get their candidates elected.

Of course, as the old saying goes, nothing in life is free. This support, the funds donated to campaigns, this promise of blocks of voters to candidates, all came at a cost; the cost being that those elected owed their election to those who had backed them and were obligated to enact laws which benefitted their beneficiaries; the birth of special interest groups.

I don’t want to go into the Civil War in any great detail either, but I must point out that it is my belief that the loss of the Confederacy was the death blow to the Democratic party that adhered to the principles of men like Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. Once Lincoln’s war of aggression settled the question of whether the government itself could use force against any and all who may choose to leave its sphere of influence, then for the Democrats to survive they must adapt to the times and become more like the Republicans; they must develop their own political base or fade into oblivion.

It was during this period that the distinction between a constitutionally limited government and a liberal interpretation of power by our government vanished forever from the political discussion. It was at this point that the two parties went from being strong versus limited government to being both in favor of strong government; the only difference is in who they represented.

The Republican Party of today saw its origin in being supportive of big business, while the Democrats were the party of the common man; the man who society and big business took advantage of. Even those lines of distinction have become blurred. Sure, the two parties may campaign on differing ideologies, such as pro/con abortion, pro/con gun control, and all kinds of other issues. But were you to examine the financial records of both parties to see who contributes the huge chunks of money that keep the gears of the two political parties turning, you would see that they ALL take money from similar business interests.

Banks, pharmaceutical companies, labor unions and other huge corporations such as Microsoft all make huge contributions to the two political parties in an effort to curry favor and get laws passed which benefit them. What happened to a government that represents the people and seeks to safeguard their liberty?

The sad thing is, most people play right into the hands of those who truly control our government by voting along partisan lines. Why should it matter whether your rights are violated by a Democrat or a Republican? Why should it matter whether an unconstitutional law is passed by a Republican majority or a Democratic majority?

The only thing that should matter is whether or not the candidate you choose to vote for has shown you that they will adhere to the limits the Constitution imposes upon the office they are seeking, and that they will work tirelessly to protect your rights.

That’s what differentiates between a true conservative and a true liberal; and from my viewpoint both political parties, and those who support them, are liberal in nature in that neither of them give a rats ass about what the Constitution says, nor do they care about safeguarding your rights. After all, the Patriot Act, which basically decimated the 4th Amendment, was passed with bipartisan support. That alone should tell you how much YOUR party cares about protecting your rights.

This two party paradigm keeps people from seeing the truth; that truth being that their government has exceeded the powers given it so much that it is highly unlikely we’ll ever be able to restore it to the purposes for which it was established. We could slow the corruption down, and possibly even undo some of the damage if people would just wake up and stop voting for candidates who are puppets to the masters behind the curtain who fund their campaigns and care nothing about you and me; we are just serfs to keep the economy flowing and fund the tax coffers of government.

If you can get that simple fact through your heads, then their might be a chance. If not, if you keep supporting your party because it’s not the ‘other party’, then I don’t see much hope for our future.

And, as Thomas Paine once wrote, “When I contemplate the natural dignity of man, when I feel (for Nature has not been kind enough to me to blunt my feelings) for the honour and happiness of its character, I become irritated at the attempt to govern mankind by force and fraud, as if they were all knaves and fools, and can scarcely avoid disgust at those who are thus imposed upon.”

At least now you know why I’m scowling all the time…

About Br'er Rabbit

I'm just one person out of millions of others. The only thing different about me is that I don't walk around with my head up my ass.
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