The Twins

2011 November 1
by Dave

Occupy Wall Street and The Tea Party are both anti-establishment wings within their respective political parties.

They are both anti-government as it is.

They both would like a drastic realignment of the form, fit and function of government.

The parties that they reside within are establishment machines that are trying to assimilate and co-opt the anti-establishment energy.

Anti-establishment posturing by establishment figures invariably rings hollow.

A large portion of the American populace wants to reinvent the role of government. However we are not having that discussion. What we are getting is vilification of the establishment figures on the opposite side of the political spectrum in order to persuade the anti-establishment crowd to hang with their co-political establishment leadership.

I think that a discourse needs to be embarked upon regarding what we as a nation want from our government. This discussion needs to happen without rancor and recognize that different people have differing legitimate interests. In my opinion a good starting place for this is to come up with a new metaphor for government. A new metaphor allows a new nomenclature to develop lacking existing value judgments and carrying explicit meaning that does not vary between different parties.

Two metaphors that I like are government as a systems integrator and government as a venture capitalist. Both allow a crucial divorce of the debate over the structure of government from the debate over the policy aims of government. Quite often Tea Partiers and Los Occupados conflate the two to frustrating ends. What many rank and file of both groups end up clamoring for, does not address what upsets them.

The further I get into this thing the more I am convinced of the futility of trying to bend it. So here is what I want in my fairy tale political discourse land.

And then I start typing this list and even it falls apart.

Lets start over. The government has outlived it’s popular mandate. The Tea Party slogan “Government of the People, by the People, for the People” is strongly echoed by the Occupy Wall Street slogan “We are the ninety nine percent”. Much about our current system and implementation of government feels either unfair, unjust or both. The social contract end of things is getting thin.

In this age of transparency a calculation of the value, cost, need co-ordinates of every government activity needs to be derived and published. From building roads to policing the streets, to feeding the poor. Government should be able to show that the net good that it generates is larger than the net cost and that every single individual gets in return far more than they put in.

Fairness is all people want. Good fortune will always have a place in America but cheating can’t long be openly tolerated.

Hopefully my rambling will be tolerated though because my political and economic thoughts these days are too fractured to allow me to roll a prettily formed piece of editorial thought out there. So enjoy the stream of consciousness instead.

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