Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it - George Santayana
Robert A. Heinlein died 19 years ago today... this blog entry honors him and his quest for passing on the torch of freedom.
He created honor for all of us, everywhere he went, with everything he wrote. A stellar example is this book, written when television did not dominate politics, and political parties really mattered.
Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good - Thomas Sowell
Reading this non-fiction book opened my eyes to the virtues, yes, virtues, of partisan politics, when the enormous power of the damned noisy box did not lead us astray into discarding partisan politics, replacing it with the hollow shell of the Demopublican and Republicrat parties today.
And, partisan politics still works today, on the local level. I've been asked, as a consequence of my service on the county sheriff's Enhanced Law Enforcement District Advisory Committee, to comment on a proposal to expand and revamp the county commission. In my response, I advocated the preservation of a partisan vote for the commission, instead of making it non-partisan.
Partisan politics *assures* competition on nearly every issue, and raises the bar of discourse and thought in civic affairs, for the greatest peril of a democracy is apathy. When citizens, the ultimate judges of truth and right, can no longer be bothered to vote, an oligargic elite can rule a placid, uncaring populace of sheeple.
And, in Oregon, our vote-by-mail system provides us with high turnout, low fraud and very high accuracy, a blessing when fighting voter apathy, for when it's easy to rig the system (see Diebold's vote editing machines as one small example), apathy increases, so I hope you Oregonians will continue to support vote-by-mail.
Last month, Tim Russert gave some worthy insight in a Bill Moyers PBS special (downloadable here) program on media blindness to bad intelligence. Russert emphasized the bipartisan system, especially when the press is lazy or has limited resources, is very important to revealing errors in government.
Even when I am one of those partisans, I appreciate the advantage of an honest critic, and when Clackamas County doesn't have an aggressive watchdog press, we need partisan opposition to assure the best government possible.
History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, however, if faced with courage, need not be lived again - Maya Angelou
We can learn from history, and I have learned that the ability of concerned, earnest Americans is increasingly irrelvant because of 'non-partisan' politics; for, all politics have partisans, and the 'non-partisan' lie merely makes it easier to mask the true interests of those invisible partisans.
I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain - John Adams
It is time, now more than ever, to study politics and war. Heinlein explained first principles of what served us well through two centuries of social progress in Take Back Your Government, and he's well worth reading if you ever want to be an agent of liberty.