The Price of Politics

In the just concluded presidential election campaign in the United States, the candidates and their party allies spent a combined $2 billion according to a report on Reuters on November 7, 2012. Journalist Bob Woodward has published a book entitled The Price of Politics (2012). The $2 billion of spending by the presidential candidates is just the tip of the iceberg represented by the idea behind the title “The Price of Politics.”

In a New York Times review of Mr. Woodward’s book, the reviewer observes that: “As a plethora of election-year polls and surveys indicate, Americans are fed up with a deeply dysfunctional Washington paralyzed by partisan gridlock and increasingly incapable of dealing with the daunting problems facing the nation [including] . . . an inability to focus on long-term solutions instead of temporary Band-Aids.”  Quoted from ‘The Price of Politics,’ by Bob Woodward, book review by Michiko Kakutani, NY Times, September 7, 2012,

The presidential election campaign of 2012 in the United States is powerful reinforcement of a central message of CTLR (Capitalism: The Liberal Revolution), that politics is the problem, not the solution. Politics does not work to better humanity, but only to worsen human society. The time, effort, and property expended in the American political election campaign are all wasted because no good can come of it, no matter who wins.

The candidates for the Presidency did not address an underlying problem facing America: how to reform the welfare state so that it does not go bankrupt while bankrupting the American people.

The political process in America grinds along, repeats itself, and has created in the state what amounts to a tapeworm within the body of society, a tapeworm that is weakening and consuming the host body.

In the just concluded national election, as in every other national election in living memory, there were many perfectly decent people who participated actively and were committed so emotionally that they declared, and meant it, that they would be almost literally sick if their side lost. Friends and family members on opposite sides of the contest won’t speak to each other about the political election because they know if they do they will get into heated arguments which will accomplish nothing but increasing antagonism.

Winston Churchill said famously that ”Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”  CTLR (Capitalism: The Liberal Revolution) offers an idea of human governance that is different and better than all forms that have been tried in the past—the elimination of coercion and the substitution of human cooperation in government.

Author Andy Andrews asked recently: “Why do the ages of our world’s greatest civilizations average around two hundred years?” There is an answer to that question, an answer that is an essential idea of this book—politics does not work. It is because politics does not work in the United States of America that our country’s governments are in the financial mess that now exists at every level, federal, state and local. Furthermore, politics has never worked in any country at any time in human history, and in pre-history as revealed by anthropology and archaeology.

A central idea of CTLR (Capitalism: The Liberal Revolution) is that a better future is coming—a future when productive people shun politics and look for ways to provide government services on a proprietary basis animated by the profit motive. Those who provide good government services will profit in the competition for the business of those who seek government services. Those who provide unsatisfactory government services will incur losses not profits and will go out of business, which is as it should be.

CTLR explores the idea of a better way of government in an introductory chapter entitled “Replacements for the Political State,” and throughout the book in chapter after chapter. Two chapters that focus on solutions to the problem of governance are

“Abundance and its Sources; Poverty and its Causes,”

And “The True Democracy of Voluntary Exchange,”

Forthcoming chapters will lay out in detail specific ideas on how permanent peace and ever-growing prosperity can be achieved without political coercion. The first step forward is the recognition that politics is not the solution, and has never been a solution at any time and any place in the history of human society.

If politics were a solution, then politics had no better opportunity to demonstrate a solution than in America–in which the political structure was animated by an attempt to create a better form of human governance for a free people. The fact that the political state in America is bankrupt financially is proof that politics does not work. If politics works, then how is it that America’s federal and local states are failing in everything that they do—social welfare, education, justice, perpetual warfare instead of peace, etc.

It is a tenet of CTLR that when, and only when, the intellectual leaders of society recognize the futility of politics—and that there is a superior alternative—they will show humanity the way forward to a far better future.

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