This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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The founders on political parties

The Republicans and the Democrats are husband and wife. They feud, but only in the way that a hateful husband and wife might feud, despising the other while needing them, and without ever having any intention of leaving them. Their dual offspring are Big Business and Big Government. These two children fight just as violently, but in the end they are equally dependent on one another, so much so that you get the feeling they might actually have been twins. Whichever way you slice it, it’s all in the family.

With that in mind, I’m happy to say that the two reigning political parties in America appear to be withering under the influence of their own diseases; and so, for the first time, I don’t feel compelled to offer a lengthy critique of their respective positions. I think their inner contradictions and their blatant hypocrisies are becoming too obvious for even life-long members to deny, and everyone is beginning to perceive their internal similarities, once you get beyond the veneer of opposition.

To keep things brief, then, I will limit myself to a few words about political parties from the Founding Fathers, which can serve as an appropriate epitaph for the shared tombstone of the Democrats and Republicans.

George Washington lamented that political party wrangling “agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another.”

He then continued to describe with precision the situation of our own day:

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”[1]

John Adams also had his two cents to add:

“There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.”[2]

Thomas Jefferson wrote that political parties were an “addiction.” He called them “the last degradation of a free and moral agent,” stating further in his letters that, “If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”

It is typical of history books to say that Jefferson was a member of a party called the ‘Democratic Republicans,’ but we should be very careful not to project the present into the past. The other name for this party was the ‘Jeffersonians,’ which goes to show the stark difference between their idea of a party and ours. They did not have anything like the massive apparatus of impersonal machinery that existed for its own sake and which subordinated the personalities of all to itself.

Jefferson’s party was formed on the basis of Jefferson himself, and it included people who believed in his way of thinking. Today’s parties are the opposite. In order to be a candidate for them, you can’t have ideas, a way of thinking, or even a personality. You just have to adhere to some abstract ‘platform.’ In fact, the less personality you have the better you are able to reflect the aspirations of those around you.

Suffice it to say that Jefferson did not have to compromise himself in order to gain entrance to ‘the party,’ but it was in fact the reverse: the party formed around him. The closest thing we’ve seen to that in recent history was the campaign of Bernie Sanders, who really operated ‘out of bounds’ and whose fans really did follow him as a person and not as a party hood ornament. But we all saw how that worked out.

Take advantage of this tumultuous time. Walk off the party platform. Swan dive, if you feel like it, into the ocean of alternative viewpoints that you were never before allowed to acknowledge as worthwhile.

[1] Farewell Address, 1796.

[2] Letter to Jonathan Jackson, October 2, 1780.

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