On political parties and why they should not exist

I was quite amused by a G+ post written by Google co-founder Sergey Brin today, which in summary, says the following:

I must confess, I am dreading today’s elections. Not because of who might win or lose. But because no matter what the outcome, our government will still be a giant bonfire of partisanship.

In fact, I have thought the same for some time now. Just before the Mexican elections, I had a long debate with an ex-friend of mine about this. We talked about how there should be no political parties, but instead, individuals backed by people with similar thoughts, where they aim to change the country following X or Y strategy, without naming themselves as “conservatives” or “liberals”, but rather as politicians with X or Y views. He strongly disagreed, to the point of ending our friendship because instead of analysing and debating this rationally, he was stubborn and single-minded.

In my view, you shouldn’t divide the political system into two bands. There is always scope for one person to believe in some things from one side, and some things from the other. I believe it shouldn’t be about “the way the party does things”, but instead, more about “what will benefit the country the most”.

This article, published today on TechCrunch, briefly talks about this:

“No free country has ever been without parties, which are a natural offspring of freedom,” wrote James Madison.

Of course, I believe this is absolute rubbish. Political parties are not natural offspring of freedom. Freedom is one thing, political parties are another. Whilst siding yourself with a political party can be considered freedom of choice, the choices made by political parties are often single-minded unilateral decisions which lack freedom of thought, as they are constrained within boundaries imposed by the political parties’ belief system.

The article furthermore offers the following possible solution:

One popular, if contentious, solution to bitter partisanship is a multi-party system, where multiple groups are constantly forging new alliances based on specific issues, rather than a constant zero-sum tug-of-war where each party has the same enemy on every problem.

However, I digress. A multi-party system will lead towards more confusion.

So what do we need?

What we need are intelligent, knowledgeable, enthusiastic people, who put their country before their set of beliefs, to put together a group of people with similar beliefs that will back this person, economically, emotionally and whole-heartedly, so that this person may get into office. This person would not be part of a political party, but instead, would propose a plan, establishing feasible time-lines, whilst adhering to a set of rules that would govern his/her time in office (apart from the constitution, of course).

This would also make voting much simpler of course. Don’t think left-right politics. Think alignment to values and proposals. Voting could be separated into three stages. The first stage would consist of a questionnaire, where you answer yes/no to a set of questions concerning the country, society, economy, education, business, war, and a few other factors. This questionnaire would give you a list of three candidates (and their backing groups) that fit the answers the best. The second stage would consist of an analysis of the available options, studying the background, the plan, and the ideas of each candidate. The third stage would be the actual voting process as we know it: Select a candidate, vote.

Of course, this can’t work without guarantees. Each candidate would have to guarantee that the plan will be followed, and if catastrophic misalignment of the plan ensues, that person would leave office and a new voting poll would take place.

Of course these are just a few ideas I’ve been thinking about for a while now. Implementing these may be next-to-impossible, considering the system we currently have, and the rate it takes to ‘commit new changes’. Nonetheless, I believe it would bring forth a better system.

What say thee?

One Reply to “On political parties and why they should not exist”

  1. “What we need are intelligent, knowledgeable, enthusiastic people, who put their country before their set of beliefs, to put together a group of people with similar beliefs that will back this person, economically, emotionally and whole-heartedly, so that this person may get into office.”

    What precisely do you think a political party is? Have you ever worked on a campaign, for anything? Apparently not, or you would realize this is what a political party is, just (typically) on a larger scale.

    “This person would not be part of a political party, but instead, would propose a plan, establishing feasible time-lines, whilst adhering to a set of rules that would govern his/her time in office (apart from the constitution, of course).”

    And everyone who votes is going to have time to do this for every candidate they vote for? You have waaaay too much time on your hands. In the last election cycle, my ballot included votes for President and Vice President at the national level, a Senator and 8 ballot measures at the State level, a County Supervisor and 3 Judges at the County level, 2 City Council seats, 2 ballot measures, and a School Board seat at the City level. If each candidate had published a 10,000 page policy document on all of their positions on the issues confronting my nation (of which I care about: the economy, stupid), my state (of which I care about: the economy and our ludicrously high taxes, stupid), County (of which I care about… frankly NOTHING) and my city (of which I care about: the economy, stupid) I would have had a lovely 70,000 pages of position papers to read, just to find out how these 7 candidates feel about the economy, stupid.

    As for the Judges? Shoot them: they want the job, which should automatically disqualify them from ever having it. Judges should be dragged kicking and screaming into the office, paid next to nothing, and constantly reminded they work for the people, not against them.

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