Monday, June 04, 2007

Meta-Politics: A Discussion of Principles

Our current political parties have all failed, either in the abuse of power by the two major parties, or in abuse of relevance by the minor parties. Jean and others have suggested a new conservative party as an answer to this. I think that's a good idea, but I have another idea first.

The ongoing widespread dissatisfaction in both parties gives us a great opportunity to change how the government itself works. Then we can see if new parties are called for. Toward that end, I suggest we address this as meta-politics, that is, talking about the political process itself rather than the things we achieve with that process. That is the focus of this five-day series.

In doing this, I want to be clear. This is something I've been thinking about for some time, but I don't have the answers. I have ideas that I'm going to set down in a silly blog named A Guy in Pajamas, and hope some of it is actually interesting. These are live issues for me, and I hope the process of writing my ideas out and getting others' responses, thoughts, etc., will help me settle some things and get going.

A second thing I would like to note is that I am not proposing a formal organization, although that may come later. But communicating my ideas requires talking about a group of people dedicated to the same principles, and purely for the sake of convenience I will call that group the Meta-party1.

Some key concepts for the Meta-party.

  1. Borrowing from Stephen Covey's 7 Habits, we must work within our circle of influence. That is, we must work to change the things we have the power to affect right now.

  2. We must also forget the idea that we are just three or five disaffected individuals. There is deep dissatisfaction across the political spectrum, and that is something we can capitalize on to expand our circle of influence further and further across our circle of concern (things we care about but currently have no / little influence over).

  3. In talking meta-politics, we talk about how politics/government works, not the resulting policies. E.g., the Meta-party would have no official position on the Iraq war, or abortion, or home schooling. These are not the issues for us. How the government and people interact (voting, law enforcement, information flow, etc.), how the members of the government interact (Congressional / Presidential interaction, etc.), how policies are enacted (Senate procedure, pork, etc.), these are our kinds of issues.

Now, some principles to help us bring our goals for government into focus:

  1. Transparency

  2. Comprehensibility

  3. Accountability

  4. Effectiveness

That is where I begin, and that concludes Monday's post on meta-politics. I welcome all comments, chocolate, and beer and edamame. Part 2 tomorrow.


1'Meta-party' could also be 'partying over parties,' a 'to-the-pub!' rallying cry, perhaps? (After our massive election wins here in a few years, no doubt.)

Update 6/8/07: Part two is here.

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