Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Libertarian-Progressive Alliance

Both the Republicans and the Democrats seem straddled between their extremist and moderate elements. The Republicans seem to be a coalition of economic libertarians, big business interests, and conservative religious-nationalists, and people who fear Democratic extremism. The Democrats seem to be a coalition of socialists, hardcore environmentalists, social libertarians, and people who fear Republican extremism. I have long thought that a new second party composed of the libertarians of both parties would work well, if only it could come into existance. The problem is that the libertarians of both parties are the sort that fear the other party too much to take the risk of letting the other party have too much control. As it is, the Libertarian Party--the theoretical home party for these people--is generally composed only of those who fear both major parties equally. How on earth could one pry these members of both parties?

Huh, I just came up with a possible idea. What if I came up with a sort of "matching service" wherin I matched up a would-be libertarian Republican with a similar Democrat, getting both to agree to jump ship of the other does. This isn't what this blog is about, but I may develop it in a future blog.

Lately, however, I have been hearing a lot about a possible collapse of the Democratic Party. Basically, the story is that the historically allied interests of the Party are finding themselves less and less allied. Labor Unions and Public Employee Unions don't necessarily get along. Socialists and moderates don't necessarily get along. Labor and Environmentalism don't necessarily get along. Democratic Hawks and Pacifists don't get along... the biggest split during the 2004 elections. Career bueraeucrats don't necessarily get along with everybody else.

The first place I heard about this was the Sean Hannity Show. Not the most credible source, I admit, but that was the beginning. That was the first time I heard someone else say it. The next place was in an article that can be found at The Heartland Institute, which predicts a Democratic Party split by 2008 which will be followed by a similar split in the Republican Party. This article at the Ashbrook Center shows that people have been talking about this as far back as 1998. Thomas Harrison speaks of "the demise of the Democratic Party." The Red Critique in a socialist diatribe talks of "the all but 'official' collapse of the Democratic Party." The Daily Pundit states "In the US I expect a huge realignment of political parties, starting with the Democrat's collapse..." The Armed and Dangerous blog speaks of "Post-democratic possibilities," my favorite (and his) clearly being his "Case Gold."

Personally, I think the only thing holding the current party system together is the previous generation's fear of the other party's extremes. There is a reason lefties compare the Right to Nazism... compassionate conservatism contains enough socialist elements, and the religious right enough nationalist elements, that a very real America National Socialist entity can be percieved by one who fears that possibility. For the Right, the Left has done enough flirting with the worldwide Communist movement in the past for many Republicans to see the shadow of Stalin (or even Napolean, among the more historically minded) in a Democratic victory. There are potential Libertarians in both parties... but they fear their opposing major party so much they don't dare break away and hand victory to either Hitler or Stalin..

A Democratic collapse would change everything. If the far left (the greens and the reds) abandoned the Democrats, the remaining rump would hardly be large enough to oppose the Republicans. With the baggage ejected, three possibilities emerge. The Democrats, with the Big Government reds and greens gone, could become a more libertarian party, and both Libertarians and Republicans actually jump into the newly invigorated Democratic Party. Or, the Libertarians somehow manage to clean up their image and stop clinging to the nineteenth century and libertarian Democrats say, "What the heck; we're not doing any good over here anyway," and go ahead and join the Libertarian party. Many libertarian Republicans follow as the Libertarians become more and more credible as a real alternative. A third possibility is that the Republicans crack immediately afterward, and that an electoral free-for-all results, with a temporary multiparty (more than two) system results, which shakes out into an upper-lower quadrant divide, rather than the right-left divide we have today.

I discovered Holisticpolitics.org while researching this issue, and let me tell you: this is an excellent site. It contains elements that have the potential to marry the libertarian movement, the progressive left, and even the religious right! Seems impossible? Perhaps it is, but in the event of a real electoral shakedown, this upper-left quadrant style of thinking just might become popular. (Today, none of the major political entities occupy the upper-left quadrant; see the site for what I mean by "quadrant.")

I do believe there is an opportunity for a new political entity to arise within my lifetime.

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