Farcical Politics v. Real Politics
February 17, 2012
“But the reason it is a farce is not because of "negative ads" or any other technique. The reason it is a farce is because we don't have two parties but only one, the oligarchy, and so they are forced to fabricate differences to make it seem like there are two parties. Peggy Noonan knows nothing about politics, that is, real politics and as a result is utterly unable to make any contribution to understanding our situation. This column is an illustration of this: Stephen D. and Abe did not engage in "negativity" because they had real issues to debate and were willing to debate them. Just like the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. Debate is farcical when it is pretend debate, which is what we have now. No one, with perhaps the exception of Ron Paul, is raising any issue of fundamental importance. I mean, come on: Mitt Romney's religion is an issue? It is not a real issue. And contraception is a real issue? I don't think so. It is all smoke and mirrors and, hence, farcical.”
This is my response to a former student who sent me a column by Peggy Noonan in which she concocted a negative ad on behalf of Stephen Douglas about Abe Lincoln. The student involved saw that our presidential campaigns are farcical, but like Noonan seemed to want to attribute this to certain techniques, like “negative ads.” My argument is that our politics is farcical not because of negative ads but because no one involved in our political process is willing to debate real issues, as Douglas and Lincoln were willing to do. Hence, because no one wants to debate the real issue, which is of course the issue of oligarchy versus republic, our political discourse is farcical, focusing on such non-issues as gay marriage [already settled] or contraception [when only the smallest minority practices non-contraception] or Romney’s religion [you’re upset he’s a Mormon? Really?]. There is no debate over Israel’s pending attack on Iran or on our policy in Afghanistan or on anything else of significance. Or, to put it differently, when there is actually only one political party, the oligarchic party, then it is necessary to formulate phony issues, and the result is farce. And, as is usual in politics, farce is often followed by tragedy. And, no doubt, if tragedy ensues, we will shake our heads and wonder: WTF?