Sometimes you stumble upon a nugget of wisdom in the most unexpected of places.
Today’s eureka moment is found buried inside the pages of the section buried inside the morning newspaper, the section where I usually scan the cover to see if there is anything local worth a second glance before skipping past the pages of syndicated liberal drivel to the Dilbert cartoon.
But the photo of Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson gave me pause. Beneath are a couple of columns labeled “Point” and “Counterpoint,” though I’ve yet to figure out what the point was supposed to be. It was the headline on the “Counterpoint” that brought me up short: “Term ‘third party’ wrongly implies we have more than one.”
This in the Sun section? Oh, the heresy! Surely Greenspun is spinning in apoplexy. Now there’s a pleasing image.
Both columns appeared at something called insidesources.com back at the end of May. How the putative editors at the Sun stumbled upon it at this late date and had the presence of mind or temerity to actually publish it is a mystery for the ages, but the piece by Antony Davies, an associate professor of economics at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and James Harrigan, director of academic programs at Strata in Logan, Utah, opens with the question: “Is it time for a third party?”
They answer the question by refuting the question in the second paragraph: “The real question to ask now is whether there is a hill of beans’ worth of difference between the two major parties. Maybe what we really need is a viable second party, because from any objective point of view the Republicans and the Democrats care about only one thing: the acquisition of power.”
The writers then lay down brick by brick a solid logical wall.
They note that the parties present themselves to the public and the voters as vastly different, but over the past 60 years both have merely made government larger and more intrusive and smothering. One grows government by taking away civil liberties, while the other grows government by removing economic liberties. Results are the same, only the methods differ.
“And they have done a brilliant job of crowding out any possible dissenting voices. How brilliant?” Harrigan and Davies write. “‘Minor party’ candidates are not even allowed into the presidential debates unless they poll at 15 percent nationally. But their names are not included in the opinion polls that determine who gets in. Who set that system up? Republicans and Democrats.
“Who says they can’t work together?”
In 2015, they point out Congress passed and the president signed only 150 laws, but federal agencies created 3,000 new rules and regulations. “And soon, everything not forbidden will be mandated.”
They conclude that the major parties have deluded the voters into thinking that voting for a minor party candidate is simply a de facto vote for whichever of the two major party candidates you find least palatable.
The piece ends thusly:
So if you vote for Hillary Clinton to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, or the reverse, you have guaranteed a victory for the status quo. And that’s exactly what the Republicans and Democrats want you to do.
It’s time we had a second party.
The column is nowhere to be found on the Sun website.