Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Washington Hated Parties

All this political theater going on with the debt ceiling has me thinking our last good President was George Washington. Seriously. Not only did he not belong to a political party, he didn't believe in them. He hoped they wouldn't form in the U.S. In his farewell address he spoke of their dangers:

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.


[A Party system] serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

(Full text)

We have Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson to thank for our two-party system. I'm not sure how you'd run a Presidential campaign without parties, but it is tempting to imagine our political system without them. Maybe things would actually get done.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.