Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Politics and community

Principle: politics can never be a means to community, merely an expression of it.

Politics comes from Polis, and the underlying Greek idea is that no true community could be larger than could hear a loud voice yelling from a 2nd or 3rd story rooftop.  They are small by design.

And America is by design intended to consist in many, many Polises (Poli?  Polei?  I don't do Greek), many small communities.  This is the whole point of the Electoral College, whose SUCCESS we saw in the election of Trump.

We see fear of Trump ending any number of Federal programs.  If I might again paraphrase Bastiat, simply because someone objects to one person doing something, having control over something, does not mean they object to it being done.  To object to bad policing is not to object to policing.  To object to bad policy is not to say there should not be policy.

And to object to the Federal Government doing something does not mean that it should not be done.  We can and should point to long term failures in educational achievement and view the Federal role in it as either irrelevant or pernicious.  We can and should point to the fact that the arts have been completely politicized, to the point that conservative tax-payers are in many cases being forced to subsidize--in the NEA, in "The People's Radio"--media that are overtly propagandistic.

But that is not to object to art.  Art, and environmental policy, and education, and food for the elderly and everything else can be funded by the States, if they choose.  It can be funded by cities and counties.

This is the thing: caring should be local and responsive to specific problems which individuals can see in the places they live.  It should not be monolithic, one-size-fits-all, and originating for most of the country in a far distant place, filled with career bureaucrats who get fat paychecks and retirement bonuses, and who are nearly impossible to fire, EVEN WHEN THEY FAIL MISERABLY.

The EPA has more or less said to Trump "we don't work for you".  Fine.  What they do can be outsourced to the States.  Where there is a stream or river or lake or land area that crosses State borders, the two States can negotiate.  The EPA has clearly been abused for partisan political purposes.  That sort of abuse should not be possible in a politically well organized nation, which is what our Constitution created.

Culturally, both the right and the left want their politics to represent some ideal of community.  But caring is not enacted by bureaucrats disconnected from the lives they have so much control over.  And we cannot go back to the past.  What I might call the log of the past is falling, never to rise again in the same way.

We need new ideas, new seeds, new visions.  This is what I continue to attempt to provide, and I do not think I am speaking out of turn in saying I have enjoyed some success in at least the articulating, even if I am a nearly complete failure, thus far, in the implementing.

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