Cutting Through Idealism and Realism to Enact Change

During my Thanksgiving holiday I got into a discussion with one of my guests about the nature of American government.  The discussion arose out of a comment I made about a book I was reading.  I mentioned that the author believed that several modern conservative scholars were unbeknownst to themselves espousing moral relativism when opining about the Founding Fathers’ intent when they wrote the Declaration of Independence.  The discussion could have gotten into a relatively complicated discussion of the evidence of the Founders’ intent but was short circuited by a statement by my guest that all of these political theories were completely irrelevant because in the real world, government had nothing to do with principles or even the law but was rather a jungle of machine politicians handing out patronage to minions and enforcing the will of the powers that be.  I tried to make the point that even if human nature inevitably injects corruption into the real world having an ideal version of government as a map of what government is supposed to be is a means by which we can continuously correct the deviations that build up in our government.  Eventually the discussion broke down due to irreconcilable differences in point of view.  But it got me thinking about what is the correct way to handle practical problems in today’s political system.

After thinking about the obstacles to change it occurred to me that both honest and dishonest government presented both obstacles and opportunities for influencing government policy.  For instance, in Democrat run states, the politicians are often cynical crooks who have nevertheless learned to parrot the multicultural narrative to control the vote.  But these patchwork coalitions they represent are far from a united front.  Most of the constituencies have little in common and some are actually hostile toward each other.  This reality opens up opportunities to divide and conquer the “narrative” by appealing to the self-interests of some component of the gorgeous mosaic.  This worked clearly when a SuperPAC was able to get a Proposition to block Gay Marriage on the California ballot and minority voters provided the margin needed to pass it.

In places where Republicans are at least nominally in charge, holding these leaders’ feet to the fire is the way to go.  Never let them use fairness or kindness to allow some kind of insanity to take hold.  Where the Right has the advantage, it should maintain a stranglehold by any means necessary.  The ranks of elected officials should be scrupulously monitored for heresy and violators should be branded with an L for Leftist and cast out into the outer darkness never to return.  And it’s not only the right of the people in this area to let their leaders know what is going wrong.  It’s their duty and their best chance of keeping their environment sane.

But as far as the nuts and bolts of political life, I’ll admit that patronage and log-rolling are probably not things that can be eliminated.  Politics is a lucrative environment to swim in and honesty is even scarcer in political circles than it is in the business world.  That reality is never going to be permanently altered.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t push the politicians and judges to write their laws and decisions to serve our needs.  A crooked politician can push through a good law if he thinks his job depends on it.

And so, this brings me back to my original point.  Just because government is full of crooks it doesn’t mean we have to let them neglect the functions of government that can restrain Leftist insanity.  They can continue stealing their part from the Treasury if they will at least protect us from the people who want to steal our children’s lives and souls.

But in order to make that happen we have to be both realistic about what the people in government are really like and be idealistic in what we want our communities to be like.  Just because our mayor happens to be a degenerate doesn’t mean we will let him legalize depravity in our midst.  And equally just because a man is honest doesn’t mean he is safe as a mayor or president.  If he’s too idealistic and fears being called mean or a bigot then he can be convinced to do any horrible thing for the sake of being “fair.”  And the same goes for ourselves.  We have to be tough-minded enough to withstand the hysteria and venom that the Leftists and their allies in the Media will throw at us whenever they want to victimize us with some new social justice abomination.  But we can’t allow ourselves to become so cynical about government corruption that we give up on making government do its job.

So, is this realistic idealism or idealistic realism?  Either way works for me, as long as they can keep the perverts away from the kids.