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Monday, March 4, 2013

The Triadic Ideological Balance of American Government

     Our nation’s government is carefully balanced with conflicting ideologies in power that are ever mistrustful of each other.  Liberalism,  conservatism, and socialism are all chained in different corners of American politics like watchdogs that are not protecting the house from intruders, but protecting the house from the inhabitants. This system seems dysfunctional at times but is the best system in place today that shows the promise of true governmental and practical sustainability for the future of our society, and more important to some, our democracy; all three ideologies serve a vital purpose in American government.

      Liberalism can be compared to the watchdog of individual liberty. The early liberal philosophers of the “State of Nature” in the common man, and the average man’s “Natural Rights” in society pioneered and promoted public debate in the 17th century. Liberalist founders such as Thomas Hobbes  carried his ideologies two hundred years later into the 19th century with Utilitarian thinkers such as John Stuart Mill, believing profoundly in the harm principle of ’ let no sane man be held back from doing as they wish, as long as they do no harm, or threaten to do harm to others.”  This principle in dealing with our fellow man is a liberal concept that has still failed to truly mature in modern society. The war on drugs, the right to bare arms, and how we deal with other nations and different societies abroad still paints a picture of an America that still believes in liberty to achieve ones goals unhindered by governmental bureaucracy, but when it comes to Americas trust in too much liberty, it still falls short at home and abroad, especially when it falls outside the limits of the rights our government currently allows us.

     Critics of liberalism would suggest that a liberal society puts too much trust in the hands of the individual, allowing freedoms that can erode established values of culture, class, and social standing that will eventually end up leading the nation into anarchy and lawlessness. I counteract this claim by citing that when the vast disparity between the rich and poor hinders social mobility and equal opportunity which then is withheld from the majority of the masses, that this apathetic action by the elitists of America towards its nation’s working class citizens will also lead the country into the same unrest, lawlessness and anarchy.

     Liberalism it should be noted was founded by avid capitalists. Although modern liberals are staunch believers in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, they still back away from being associated with socialism; modern liberals quietly enact the same or similar social programs and public welfares as socialist countries while adamantly denying socialism. The balance to the excesses of liberalism in our mixed form of government is conservatism. The conservative ideology professes to be the watchdog of governmental waste, inefficiency, and public abuse, along with being the upholders of traditional moral values, ethics, and social standards. They see these ideals as being absolutely essential to a healthy democratic well ordered society. They also see liberalism as being a constant threat to these ideals; god forbid in their minds that too much liberty would then spread through our country promoting socialism and then rampant communism.

     Conservatism is the American governmental watchdog against fast paced social change and too progressive a government, which can threaten to erode the very social fabric our forefathers so painstakingly wove together as one strong united social cloth. Traditional ways of thinking of cultural and community instilled standards of moral ethical values are the slower but safer road to a sustainable successful society. In this way our governmental bodies are able to orderly achieve civilized societies ultimate goals and true God given potential. This conservative sentiment is echoed in the words of William Wordsworth’s Sonnets Dedicated to Liberty and Order”Perilous is sweeping change, all chance unsound.” This emulates the ideals of modern conservatism today with an ever-mistrusting eye given by republican conservatives towards the attempts of liberals to accomplish anything that is deemed too progressive or self-serving to the Democratic Party and its liberal agenda. The American conservatives of today fight off these perceived liberal attacks on aristocratic capitalistic society as if they are fighting off angry dirty street peasants in the French Revolution - knowing deep inside that if the traditional aristocratic order should fall to unbridled liberalism, and then into anarchy, the masses will be coming for the heads of our nations aristocrats next to put under the bloody guillotine blade.

     One of the founders of traditional conservatism Edmond Burke, felt that things such as personal freedoms are like fire, a good thing if it is kept in strict control and is put to good use, but dangerous if it is left unchecked in the hands of the reckless. Burke and traditional followers of conservatism all unanimously agree that liberty is only worthwhile when kept in proper societal order. With a formidable watchdog like conservatism in charge of traditional social standards culturally enforced in the modern day republican, it is no wonder why President Obama’s promises of sweeping change failed to materialize. The conservative watchdog was right at the gates between the opposing liberal and conservative ideologies.  Few of Obama’s idealistic campaign promises were able get past the “dogs” without the traditional conservatives biting them to death as they tried to get past them in President Obama’s first term.

     Although the two conservative and liberal parties are squarely at odds with each other they also have one thing in common. The universal ground that they both share is in their mutual beliefs in democracy. This is not a common ground in appearance, especially when it comes to socialist ideals which are even scarier and more offensive to the very core beliefs of conservatism than liberalism is. All three main conceptual ideologies of American politics barrow from each other in several subtle ways when it comes to democracy; socialism threatens to totally take everything that traditional capitalism has ever built by their own financial risk and superior knowledge, and then hand it all over to the common masses that conservatism finds so untrustworthy at being able to make rational choices and judgments given the lower classes flawed human nature and unruly predictability. This is where the separate ideologies can never officially truly meet in public although they secretly acknowledge the need for the other in modern democracy, especially for American society to truly to be sustainable in the far future. The study of the past histories of recorded democracies shelf lives on this planet is a cause for serious doubt of our current public citizenries’ commitment to any or all of the three ideals of American democracy.

     Socialism is in all three American governmental ideologies in some form. In liberalism it is in the form of food stamps, social security and welfare programs. With conservatism socialism is simply relying on the charity of the private sector in your communities, church groups, and organizations, ran with private donations from the wealthy rightful proprietors of your community. In order to give a hand up to the lower classes rather than an endless hand out, conservatism ensures that the lazy do not benefit from the diligent. Socialists feel that the inequality of capitalism is what makes the need for charity in the first place. The division between the class systems of capitalism must be overthrown and wealth and goods be distributed equally through the masses in order for charity, poverty, hunger, homelessness, social-immobility and public apathy towards their fellow man and society to become unjust things of the capitalistic past.

     The socialist’s vision of Utopia is devoid of most capitalistic perceptions of private property. This idealistic sentiment is expressed by Thomas More when he states “Wherever men have private property and money is the measure of everything, there it is hardly possible for the commonwealth to be governed justly or to flourish in prosperity.”  The leveling of the economic and social playing field is what conservatives fear most in socialist ideals. The fall of Russian style “Soviet Block” communism is an example that is quick to be given in criticizing the merits or safety of allowing radical socialist idealism to flourish and spread. It must also be noted that Russia skipped a few steps in Karl Marx’s road to utopia and went straight to the dictator mode without the industrialized sector of its society being fully developed yet. When the seizure of state power fell into place after Marx’s “Revolutionary Class Consciousness” the Russian people were still left in not very much better shape under communism than they were under the Czarist regime. Some also argue that if Russia was to try communism in a better industrial state than it had been during the Russian Revolution, with the modern advances in technology and more importantly efficiency in production and distribution, Russian style communism might have fared much better than it did then.

     Socialism in the modern age will scarcely have to go through the dire predictions of Karl Marx’s upheavals and public sufferings before progression to the next phases of his roadmap to Utopia of: Economic crisis, immiseration of the proletariat, revolutionary class consciousness, seizure of state power, dictatorship of the proletariat and the withering away of the state, then finally the Utopia of absolute communism.  The flaw that I see in Marxist ideology is that Karl Marx used absolutes when factoring in the entire World’s human nature factor, forgetting in his own idealistic nature that people are just as unpredictable by their own self interests as they are predictable by their shared human nature. Like humans, human nature has similar faces but comes in an endless array of shapes, sizes and colors. Although we seem different from each other in many ways, like our American government and its diverse population we all barrow from and depend upon each other in some way or form. This is what makes being American truly unique compared to other societies and a great source of public pride both for ourselves, and for the triadic ideological government that our American forefathers of conflicting ideals conceived together.