Challenged by what I’ve been reading, spurred on by discussion and provocation and personal abuse, stimulated by three cups of coffee and an early morning walk through deep snow, I offer the preliminary and tentative personal political position of an individual American. It’s a sort of liberal isolationism that looks a lot like Hardt & Negri’s Empire but without the globalization. (UPDATE 1, 11:15 am — added one more “resolved” clause)
- The American government rarely acts against American economic self-interests in world affairs, regardless of the publicly stated rationales for its actions.
- The American public can be persuaded that the government is acting in their best interests even when it’s not. Example: Iraq has WMDs and capabilities for delivering them, therefore it’s in our best interests to launch a pre-emptive strike.
- The American public can be persuaded that the government is motivated by consensual ideological commitment even when it’s not. Example: it is our sacred duty as the beacon of democracy and freedom to liberate the Iraqi people.
- The structure of the American republic is most compatible with a libertarian protection of individual rights of “the Multitude.”
- The American republic is flexible enough to accommodate more collective expressions of “the People.” Example: constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage.
- The democratic process in America is structurally free and open.
- The two-party system and the winner-take-all operation of government virtually assures that the parties will converge on a central position, severely curtailing choices available to voters.
- There is virtually no class consciousness in America, so calls for working-class solidarity have only very narrow appeal.
- The American governmental structure is very stable and receives strong popular support, with hardly anyone calling for any fundamental overhaul or revolution.
Therefore be it resolved that:
- The present republican and democratic structure of American government needn’t be toppled from within.
- The ideals underlying the republic –“liberty and justice for all” — should be upheld, keeping in check the populist and potentially fascistic expressions of the People as well as the special interests of the economically privileged.
- Because the democratic expression of sheer self-interest would, by virtue of demographics, shift power away from the rich, the Multitude should be especially vigilant against governmental attempts to invoke either the People or the national Ideals as justification for public policy.
- Barriers to entry or immigration into the US based on financial resources, promise of employment, ability to speak English, etc. should be eliminated.
- Americans should be encouraged to extend their libertarian instincts to foreign affairs, respecting other nations’ efforts at self-determination even if the resulting governments don’t look anything like our own.
- Organized efforts at “counter-detailing” government propaganda with fact-based analyses of policy issues and the exposure of hidden motives behind the propaganda should be undertaken.
- The potential value of forming a third party shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.
Okay, I’m ready to be talked out of it now. And I have no idea how any of it can actually be accomplished.