Beyond Political Partisanship

Three Protagonists and the Life of Society

Prosperity is the goal for mankind. As individuals and as a collective. To govern large groups of individuals congregated into a collective, as in a metropolis or a rural village, as in a city hall or a neighborhood shop, to prevent chaos, violence, injustice, and disturbances of the peace, institutions are needed. Security provided by appropriately appointed law administrators allows societal functions of education, travel, medicine, and commerce to receive well-deserved focus and resources. From the sanctity of authority, institutions engineer the erection of infrastructure and offer their guidance for the organization of social elements. While elected representatives are of the people, governance flows from the occupied institutions to the people. Albeit, creative initiative and prosperity are experienced fundamentally at the level of the individual and their families. At the same time, it should not be overlooked that prosperous institutions conduce to prosperous communities, and prosperous communities ultimately will be undermined if individual health and wealth disparities are so extreme as to undermine the very fabric of safety and security in a society.

Partisanship, Unity, and Justice

Partisanship is defined as loyalty to a group of people or a camp of ideology over and above its merits or its rightness or wrongness on individual issues. Initially parties are purportedly selected on the basis of personal affinities for the rightness or wrongness of their stance on issues, the very existence of parties beyond the issues implies loyalty on the basis of something other than whats right. What does partisanship add where the issues end? What does a party contribute that principles could not? Party choice is maintained often in the absence of close affinity with many issues, or even of those issues with the reality of the exigencies of the people. Party affiliation is not repeated for each issue, deciding what is best in each case. Moreover, oftentimes party membership is selected on the basis of cultural values or family position. For those in politics, often the choice is a pragmatic one brought about by the considerations of career opportunities and personal success. Times change and issues come and go, issues are even conjured up as distractions or partisan chess pieces; throughout all this proponents of a given party are expected to adapt their beliefs to the platform propounded by the partisan goals and agenda. Little thought is given to alternatives to this system given how antithetical partisanship is to nurturing right, moral, constructive, reasonable, and honest governance and societies. Partisanship is by definition antithetical to unity. To say “we have a partisan system” is to deny the successful functioning and the very unity of the system itself. A broken system is all that remains, a so-called “gridlock” is what they call it today. Partisan politics does not produce governance, it entails conflict between warring factions.

Solutions: Secret Ballot and Bans on Campaigning

Keeping our political views personal and voting privately allows justice, thoughtfulness, and more nuanced governance. Publicizing our political viewpoints, public displays of party loyalty, talk of voting choices, and expensive campaigning all force people to act more than they think, force people into camps before the issues are considered, and prevents them from being able to reflect privately. Privacy and humility in these considerations allows voters, politicians, governments, and populus to reserve their choices for what they think is right and best, and protects political action from public confusion or particularistic coercion. The concept “special interest” is contrary to the betterment of the people; all that should be considered is “general interest”, and common well-being, as the prosperity of the part is best safeguarded by pursuing the prosperity of the whole. Politics will, as medicine has, learn this. With the thought of the betterment of society in the uppermost of our consideration a better modus operandi for political action is achieved. Conversely, the continual flow of statements of loyalty, mass action, and emotional hysteria in the political sphere prevents people from considering and planning based on the their perception of what is just in a given issue before contributing their voice, vote, assistance, or position. A) Being morally correct, and B) being applicable to the priorities of society is foremost in people’s deliberation. Without secrecy from public scrutiny, without privacy from particularistic detractors, how can one reconsider one’s views on challenging questions? Said another way, without thought, how can difficult problems be approached? Excessive publicization has suffocated the internal thought process. After pledging commitment on one topic, voters are drawn in by ties of partisanship to support other viewpoints propounded by the platform and whatever irrelevant issues the party leaders deem strategically useful in the expedient time frame.

The presence of campaigning detracts from the selflessness and virtues prerequisite to the very act of leadership. Indeed, campaigning itself raises questions as to the motives and intentions of the individual whose foremost requirement would be qualities of selflessness and self-abnegation in deference to the interests of the good of all people. The implementation of a system of secret ballot for voting for positions of all offices and all important issues would eliminate the counterproductive conglomeration of individuals into morally superfluous partisan factions. What does partisanship add that private principle does not? What fame does campaigning achieve that successful service to human good does not? Disqualification of any candidate for office on the basis of attempts to campaign would protect those offices from the corruption that self-serving politicians have inflicted upon the populus since the inception of democracy.

“O ye the elected representatives of the people in every land! Take ye counsel together, and let your concern be only for that which profiteth mankind and bettereth the condition thereof, if ye be of them that scan heedfully. Regard the world as the human body which, though at its creation whole and perfect, hath been afflicted, through various causes, with grave disorders and maladies. Not for one day did it gain ease, nay its sickness waxed more severe, as it fell under the treatment of ignorant physicians, who gave full rein to their personal desires and have erred grievously. And if, at one time, through the care of an able physician, a member of that body was healed, the rest remained afflicted as before.”