I am proud to say that I work with people from all 3 groups regularly. The libertarians I find are the most intellectually stimulating and they have the best taste in music. The progressives are fun because they are bewildered by my positions and seem amazed that anyone not wearing a coon skin cap can be for the 2nd Amendment. They also always have a vegetarian option for lunch. Conservatives invariably have the best food generally, the best liquor, (I don’t drink liquor) and play golf. (Which is a positive in my book.)
I am convinced that real diplomacy can happen between groups which are fundamentally at odds. That’s really the point of diplomacy I suppose, and I think about the Biblical quote, “Blessed are the peacemakers” often when I am talking with people with wildly divergent worldviews from my own in DC and online.
Fundamentally it’s about respect, earned and reciprocated. After that there has to be at least a tiny bit of common ground to which parties can relate and refer.
One area of common ground for most politically engaged people (who aren’t cronies) is the issue of crony capitalism. As the attached article points out, most people, libertarians, progressives, liberals, conservatives, pretty much agree that using the government to further the interests of private parties for profit is wrong. On that point nearly everyone can agree. Beyond that however opinions widely diverge.
For the record, having spent a significant amount of my life thinking about the issue of crony capitalism the only solution I see is the reduction of the size of the enabling party. Government must be made much, much, smaller. There is no other way.
But a number of people I respect disagree with me (or at least do right now.) And that is fine. Counter arguments sharpen the arguments we are trying to make. A robust discussion of crony capitalism with critiques from different ideological camps is absolutely vital if we are ever to tackle the issue.
In the end I think people who honestly look at the issue will come to see that government is the catalyst which metastasizes the cancer of cronyism. Crony capitalism, by definition can’t happen without government enabling it. But for the time being I’m just happy that people are talking about the issue, even if they don’t agree with me on the solution.
I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Cynthia Tucker, the Progressive journalist and professor, so I was happy to read a recent column of hers, on the farm bill that just passed the House, and find that she and I share some common ground on our views toward government.
She considers the bill an example of congressional priorities that “…protect the rich and punish the poor, comfort the comfortable while brutalizing the afflicted.” Indeed, it is an example of the cronyism that always accompanies political power, in which those who hold power use it to aid the rich and powerful. Should we expect anything else?
She says about Republicans, “…if they really want to rein in government, if they believe people ought to stand on their own two feet and refuse the ‘welfare state,’ why are they preserving welfare for those who need it least? Do they not see the glaring hypocrisy in their insistence on farm subsidies?”