The Illusion of the Two-Party System


Hello and welcome to Reality Check.

Hi, I’m Mark Pellegrino, and today I’m going to talk about the ILLUSION OF THE TWO PARTY

For those of you who live in other countries, or were educated in American public schools, the United States of America ostensibly has a two-party system of government. This means that even though other ‘parties’ can enter the political discourse, and from time to time have, it’s always a Democrat or a republican that is left standing at the end of every election day.

And it’s not like this is a new thing.

Even as our constitutional republic was being founded, two perspectives respecting the size and scope of government began fighting for prominence.

One side promoted a large and vigorous government with implied powers; the other, a small and weakened one that could only act under specific conditions.

Now the fact that parties would quickly ally themselves with one of two perspectives, and basically remain that way through time, makes sense because there are only two ways of organizing society.

As collectivistic or individualistic.

From the collectivist perspective, all individual values are directed towards the enrichment of
the commonweal. All participants in this type of society serve its, not their own individual ends.
A large and vigorous government is needed to tame the selfish impulses of individuals within
this society and direct them towards the ultimate end of society’s good.

In opposition to this

The individualist perspective holds that each individual life is the sacred unit which society
organizes itself around to protect. All participants in this type of society serve their own
interests, and society itself is bound by strict rules of engagement with any individual member
within. Society can impose nothing upon the individual save for the demand that he impose
nothing on anyone else.

And ne’er the twain shall these two moral ideals meet. Let me repeat that: Ne’er the Twain shall these two moral ideals MEET.

And therein lies the illusion of two parties.

Political parties are moral interest groups that attempt to influence a system of moral organization.

As no individual can live with two opposing moral codes guiding his behavior, no society can either…and as no individual can compromise between two fundamentally opposing moral codes, without the bad one winning, no society can either.

That’s why at various times in our own history, one party or moral organization was dominant for long stretches.

And why the two parties today don’t seem all that far apart on fundamentals.

If Ayn Rand was right when she said: ‘there is no middle ground between freedom and compulsion, so there’s no middle ground between capitalism and socialism.’ Then there can be no middle ground between right and wrong and no decent moral system organized on a compromise between the two.

I know, it’s scary. One party systems seem to be a feature of totalitarian governments and multi party systems, a feature of liberty. But the reality is whether your collective is the proletariat, the environment, the nation-state, the rich, the poor, farmers, religious and ethnic minorities, women, men, labor or business, you’re a collectivist and the name of your party is just a distinction without difference.

The sooner we acknowledge that a house divided against itself cannot stand and that we cannot live in a permanent state of compromise between a big state and a big individual, the sooner we can get on with the business of living under one code for all…