Monday, June 13, 2005

America: The Land of Choices, Except in Politics

We are a culture inundated with products. Yes, the free market has been good to us. But, as Stacy Schiff argued yesterday in her New York Times column, the number of choices we have is a little out of control.

O.k., yes, all of us have at one point stared at the 30-or-so different toothpaste options and wondered how we could possibly know which one is right. But how many of us are really longing for the days where most products came in two or three varieties and that was it? More isn’t always better, but it is more fun.

What all this makes me wonder is, why do Americans have so many choices at the store but only two real choices at the polls? It’s true that our system makes two-party dominance easy, but pretend for a second that we were parliamentary, how many parties would we have? The far left, Michael Moore wing of the Democrats could have their own party. The “this-is-a-Christian-nation first” faction of the Republicans could have their own party. Heck, even us so-called Centrists could form a party. There’d be a choice for everyone and no party would control more than 15-20% of Congress. That seems like a positive step to me.

Unfortunately, such as system won’t arise anytime in the foreseeable future. Too bad. It could be liberating to choose between 10 or so viable political parties. If we all can figure out which toothpaste to buy, we could all figure out which party to support.

Centerfield is also discussing this topic.


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