“Since the administration is trying to do a serious number of bad things, everything that slows it down stops another bad thing it wants to do. Now, there is an argument against just saying ‘no’ or just stalling on everything. That is why, ideally, you can have a fight about an issue — Harold Koh’s thinking on international law is a serious issue that affects gun rights, for example — and you can slow the bad stuff down. That’s the best of both worlds.”That's the GOP's uberfuhrer, Grover Norquist, who seems to have some sort of aversion to democracy. This "win at all costs, don't give an inch" mentality just grinds me. It doesn't have to be this way. We seem to have fallen into this groove by which victorious parties are prevented from governing through the use of roadblocks that were never forseen by the founders, and I'd argue that the founders' plan is already out of date, it's too unwieldy. I suspect that the founders themselves would agree with me, were they around. (And the gun rights thing is hilarious--somehow I doubt they think that in Switzerland.)
All in all, I much prefer the fair play ethic that more or less defines Britain. When I think about it, the traditional boogeymen of the left are correct, but not as a matter of inevitability so much as historical accident. Capitalism, for example, need not be an enemy. Lots of countries' business sectors have strong senses of corporate responsibility. Hell, American business felt the same way after WWII until roughly the 1970s. I'm beginning to think that the problem is a cultural one, and that must be our battlefield, though obviously doing things like regulating Wall Street are important.
I have hope that my generation will change the equation to some extent, but I keep coming back to Niebuhr, when he talked about how we had always been able to rely on prosperity to avoid answering thorny questions of social justice. Our prosperity, of course, won't last forever, and when it ends I suspect America will move more toward a social democratic, European model of economic organization.