Friday, November 9, 2012

Principled vs. Partisan

Principled, adjective... 1. (of a person or their behavior) Acting in accordance with morality and showing recognition of right and wrong.

Partisan, noun... 1. A firm adherent to a party, faction, cause, or person; especially: one exhibiting blind, prejudiced, and unreasoning allegiance.

I find it fascinating that the term "partisan" is bandied about so much. Truly, to be a "partisan" is a negative thing. Blind adherence to a political party is beyond dangerous. It was partisanship that allowed Nazism to rise so prominently and quickly. Many people were willing to turn a blind eye to a lack of principle in favor of the party.

I notice, however, that people are quick to accuse others of "partisanship" when what they really mean is "principled." An unwillingness to compromise on basic principles does not equal partisan behavior -- it's principled behavior, which is something we should all desire in our elected officials. How does one, in good conscience, compromise on issues of life? Of liberty? These compromises should not be made. Being willing to compromise on fiscal theory is different. There's nothing unprincipled about saying, "Look -- we'll do it your way for now and see how things go. We can revisit this conversation later if it doesn't turn out the way you hope."

Truth be told, when it comes to fiscal issues, there are partisans on both sides. I, personally, do not think that compromise (in the true sense of the word) is the answer. It makes much more sense to say, "Hey. We'll do it your way. Then we'll try it my way. In the end, we'll see which way works the best." It's like having a debate where one person wants cooked chicken and the other prefers it raw. One could argue that cooking it half way is better than not cooking it at all, but in the end the one ingesting it is likely to be sick.

I think that unfettered capitalism, while having problems if its own, is the best way to a prosperous nation. It can be argued that having fettered capitalism is preferable to socialism, and socialism is preferable to communism, etc... But I would argue that giving way to fettered capitalism ends up giving way to socialism. And socialism, as a theory, is actually designed to be the stepping stone to communism.

If the Republican party wishes to remain so partisan as to compromise principle in order to gain and/or maintain power, so be it. I no longer identify myself as a Republican when speaking to others anyway. I am independent of any party because I think they both have come to worry more about party than principle.

I do wish, however, that the American people weren't so anxious to see their politicians joining hands and singing Kumbaya while walking off a fiscal cliff. It would be much more honorable for one side to try and hold the other back. Or turn in a different direction. Or at least begin construction on a bridge.

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