Friday, March 23, 2012

What do the extremists believe?

I believe that the extremists of both parties are toxic to our national dialog and are inadvertently leading their parties to ruin.  Who are they?  What do they believe?

I believe that the Left Wing of the Democratic Party sees BUSINESS as rapacious, exploitative, insensitive, uncaring sharks who prey on the weak for their own selfish profit and greed.  They certainly have ample evidence to support their beliefs: from Bernie Maddoff and the Wall Street Too Big to Fail behemoths who made fortunes at their clients' expense, to the raping of the environment, to their disproportionate control over elections by campaign funding and lobbying.

I believe that the Right Wing of the Republican Party sees BUSINESS as the "strong horse that pulls the whole cart" to quote Churchill, and is the energy that actually creates prosperity for the modern world.  They certainly have ample evidence to support their beliefs as well: from the creation of the auto industry in America and then Japan, to the creation of the high tech industry in Silicon Valley and then around the world, to the stark contrast between the levels of prosperity in the affluent Capitalist world and the lack of prosperity in the impoverished Communist worlds during the Cold War, and still today.

I believe the Left Wing of the Democratic Party sees GOVERNMENT as kindly parents who exhibit caring and establish justice.  They certainly have ample evidence to support their beliefs: from the safety nets of Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid to provide for the elderly and disabled who become unable to provide for themselves, to a vast system of criminal and civil justice that provide protection for the population from personal and corporate crime, and the establishment of a legal framework in which the Capitalist business system can operate freely with guaranteed competition.

The Right Wing of the Republican Party sees GOVERNMENT as meddling tyrants bent on accumulating more and more centralized power in the hands of faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats who run the country for their masters according to the latest intellectual fads of the day.  There is ample evidence to support their beliefs:  from the faceless insensitivity of the DMV bureaucrat, to the attempted government takeover of the largest economic sector of the country (health care), to the totalitarian control of every aspect of society and personal life in the past and present Communist countries, with enormous government take-overs like Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act seen as giant steps toward that kind of totalitarianism.

But most people, thank goodness, do not see business as either a predatory shark or a beneficent work horse, nor do they see government as either a totalitarian force in waiting or a kindly, caring parent.  I think most people look upon both business and government as human institutions, not capitalized super-entities, with some suspicion and some gratitude, and see that both are mixed bags of beneficial and harmful forces.  I certainly do, unlike how I viewed things in my earlier years where I more or less chose sides in the endless battle between the believers in GOVERNMENT and the believers in BUSINESS.  

That is why I am glad that elections are generally decided by the moderate middle of the political spectrum.  The middle is often fairly disengaged, but often quite engaged indeed, but they are not captive of the caricatures of business and government portrayed by the outer wings of each party.