First this great post (again, from Steve
. . . we really do have to stop meeting like this) on Pelosi's recent suggestion
that what's wrong in contemporary politics is all the "politics." That is, she doesn't think it ought to matter (very much) who wins elections because there should not be these vast and, seemingly, insurmountable disagreements between Democrats and Republicans over the ends of government. As Steve puts it:
Of course, if you determine that a function of government, like traffic
enforcement or tax collecting, should be beyond the reach of partisan
political argument, then you have essentially ruled the other party out
of order when it objects. Pelosi and confreres believe that once any
welfare state measure is in place, it cannot be questioned. The tacit premise of Pelosi's remark is that today's Republican Party is
an illegitimate party, akin to Nazis or Communists or other subversives
who reject the principles of the Constitution. At best, elections to
the Progressive mind would increasingly become ceremonial exercises,
like Fourth of July picnics. At worst, it is an argument for tyranny.
But do read his whole post. It's very thoughtful and thought provoking.
I offer another example of the ways in which progressive hostility to politics has infiltrated even the most ordinary of conversations, this time from my local web-paper
. The author cannot understand the people she terms "thinkers on the political right" who will not march in lock step with Michelle Obama and others who, to this authors way of thinking, only want to draw common sense attention to the problem of childhood obesity and draw from it policy prescriptions to combat the problem. She takes it as a given that the problem is one that must be combated by government and cannot fathom dissension. If people disagree they must be either peevish or stupid or hostile to the well-being of children. The question of the limits of government reach and capacities does not even enter her realm of possibilities.
But with the news, just yesterday, of one public school in Chicago banning all home-packed lunches for "health" reasons and of other schools on similar grounds now banning chocolate milk--is it really so strange that parents might begin to suspect that there is something more nefarious at work here than a well-meaning and wholesome concern for children's health? The question is not as simple as this author and many other good people who want the best for children would have it. It is not merely a question of,"What would make children more healthy?" It is also a question of determining who has the authority to make determinations like this on behalf of children. In other words, it is a question of liberty. In a system where health (as determined by an administrative expert) is more important than individual liberty, this author would have some grounding for telling the opposition to shut up. But in our system of government--a system that progressives have not, I repeat
, had the courage actually to change--neither she nor Nancy Pelosi have any reason to think that they are within their rights in telling us to shut up.