From Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796:
In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.
It would seem that, today, we have become wiser than our great patriarch. Today, we have designed a better society, a better system than what he and his contemporaries built. Today, we have rejected the wise counsel of President Washington because we have ‘progressed’ past his antiquated notions of what is best for our society. I mean, all of this must certainly be the case because, today, we are constantly told that the 2-Party system is the only system by which we can exert our political will and protect our individual rights and liberties. After all, every time a serious push to create even a 3rd Party is brought up, it is roundly attacked by whichever of the 2 Parties is most directly threatened.
Today, the suggestion is that those who consider themselves “conservative” should break away from the Republican Party to form a 3rd Party. The response has been predictable. We who advocate doing something different are attacked – often viciously and on a personal level. We are even called traitor. The response is always the same: the only way to affect change is from inside the Party. Therefore, if we leave the Party, we are joining the other side. Ergo, we are traitors – both to the party and the nation.
Setting aside that this is an imitation of the very same caricature of the Left that the Right claims is irrational (i.e. ad hominem), we are still left with this reality: we have tried the ‘change-from-within’ approach for more than 20 years now, and the result has been a steady march toward the positions of the other Party. Well, it may be a quaint little saying, but continuing to bang your head against the wall and expecting not to get a headache this time is a mark of insanity. No, in reality, what the Party means is that we are a traitor to it, but that does not make us traitor to our nation, or more importantly, to liberty. And this is what Washington was trying to warn us to guard against: Party faction leading to an enforced loyalty to the Party and not to the nation or even the ideals upon which it was founded.
Normally, I do not like to cite this source. However, in this case, I cannot improve on the explanation of Washington’s warning that is posted on Wiki:
Washington continues to advance his idea of the dangers of sectionalism and expands his warning to include the dangers of political parties to the government and country as a whole. His warnings took on added significance with the recent creation of the Democratic-Republican Party by Jefferson, to oppose Hamilton’s Federalist Party, which had been created a year earlier in 1791, which in many ways promoted the interest of certain regions and groups of Americans over others. A more pressing concern for Washington, which he makes reference to in this portion of the address, was the Democratic-Republican efforts to align with France and the Federalist efforts to ally the nation with Great Britain in an ongoing conflict between the two European nations brought about by the French Revolution.
While Washington accepts the fact that it is natural for people to organize and operate within groups like political parties, he also argues that every government has recognized political parties as an enemy and has sought to repress them because of their tendency to seek more power than other groups and take revenge on political opponents.
Moreover, Washington makes the case that “the alternate domination” of one party over another and coinciding efforts to exact revenge upon their opponents have led to horrible atrocities, and “is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.” From Washington’s perspective and judgment, the tendency of political parties toward permanent despotism is because they eventually and “gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual.”
Washington goes on to acknowledge the fact that parties are sometimes beneficial in promoting liberty in monarchies, but argues that political parties must be restrained in a popularly elected government because of their tendency to distract the government from their duties, create unfounded jealousies among groups and regions, raise false alarms amongst the people, promote riots and insurrection, and provide foreign nations and interests access to the government where they can impose their will upon the country.
Now, I ask you: what honest observer of our modern society can read Washington’s warning in conjunction with Wiki’s exposition and not see that everything Washington was cautioning us to guard against has come to pass, and largely as a result of our 2-Party system? Now, what if the warning of Carroll Quigley is correct and the 2 Parties have grown to become 1 that only acts as 2? If this is our actual reality, then we would expect to see signs of the two Parties always coming to an agreement on some basic principles – even if it is in opposition to the will of their constituents. Luckily, we have yet to see any sign of this ‘proof’ of what Quigley warned us is actually the case. For example, the ‘conservative’ Republicans are still holding firm to the notion of fiscal restraint and against tax increases and more onerous regulations on businesses. The Republicans are still opposing illegal immigration, gay marriage and abortion. So, thankfully, we do not see a harmonizing of the 2 Parties that we would expect if Quigley were correct and the 2 Parties were actually 1 just pretending to be 2.
Still, whenever we try to start a 3rd Party because one of the 2 ‘establishment’ Parties refuses to do the bidding of its membership, we who are simply trying to defend individual rights and liberty are berated by those who would otherwise claim to be our allies. These would-be allies of liberty insist we stay in their Party (thus maintaining their power base). And, if we still ignore them to pursue our rights and liberties, they then attack us and call us traitor. And for what? So we can protect those rights and liberties? How? If we do stay with them and we help elect their candidates, those candidates then refuse to do what we tell them. Instead, they tell us they have to ‘play the game’ so they can get re-elected. After all, if they don’t get re-elected, they will never be able to do what we send them to do. Therefore, they can never do what we want them to do because, if they do, they will not get re-elected, in which case, they will never be able to do what we sent them to do. Sort of like fornicating for chastity, isn’t it? But the Party faithful have drunk their leadership’s Kool-Aid, so now they see no other option but to continue with more of the same while expecting a different result. INSANITY!
In the end, the 2-Party system has resulted in exactly that which Washington warned us to guard against. It is no longer about individual rights and liberty. Now it is about the Party first, then the constituencies which help them gain and keep power. For the ‘D’s,’ this is the welfare recipient, unions and other Leftist organizations. For the ‘R’s,’ it is the fiscal and social conservative and anyone who still believes in private property rights. Both Parties are in bed with corporate interests, so neither can legitimately accuse the other of being fascistic without accepting condemnation, themselves.
So we return to where I started: with the realization that our 2-Party system is superior to that which our founders designed. Clearly, we have ‘progressed’ past the antiquated wisdom of our old, dead, white, slave-owning patriarch, President Washington. Man has progressed past his nature. We no longer need concern ourselves with the trivial inclinations about which Washington was so concerned. We have ‘progressed’ past the need to guard against ambitious people. Today, we are pure and virtuous and the Party only wants what is best for us. Therefore, the only path to true freedom is to stay with and support the Party which – clearly – means anyone who attacks or leaves the Party a traitor to the Party.