Where’s James Been?

Things have gotten a little stoppered up here at De Civitate, and you, the faithful reader, deserve a wee update.

I’ve been hesitant to post any of my regular blog fare (discussion of social issues, horse race updates, TV reviews) until I’ve fleshed out the New Party proposal a little more. Many of you put your faith in that proposal and I want to show that I remain serious about it.

However, the next piece in my series about the New Party (and the need for it) was submitted to a conservative magazine last month. They’ve agreed to publish it, but, as sometimes happens in the publishing world, they got a little delayed, especially with the conventions.  We’ll see what happens there.

In the meantime, I’ve been in a holding pattern.  One way or another, we’ll be back soon. Whether it’ll be with a new post about the New Party or my review of Mr. Robot, I don’t know yet.

Cheers, all.

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  • Stalwart Sam

    Still posting as Sam, and I don’t expect any reply to this (except for perhaps for fellow readers) since you’re still working on getting published. But I’m now in the mood of political thinking, so I wanted to indulge myself for a little bit.

    Now, you want the Citizen’s Party (yes, I’m biased & will use this name until an official one is chosen or asked to stop) to have two broad pillars: the inherent dignity of the human person and an opposition to inhuman, gigantic entities (big business/government). I think a third pillar is needed: foreign policy. How do we, as a nation, approach the world? You have a brief mention of treating people in foreign lands with inherent dignity, but what does that mean?

    We’ve seen the desire to help people in foreign lands, to safeguard their dignity, under Obama is to mean a kind of reckless idealism that has done more damage than helped. If I remember right, Bill Clinton was quick to send UN soldiers into regional conflicts, such as the Balkans, on idealistic whims without any long-term improvement secured. Now, this isn’t to say that the Republican approach is guiltless because their approaches, since they’re thorough, can last years and cost hordes of cash without any guarantee that their efforts will see good fruit, like Iraq and Afghanistan. There’s a reason why ‘regime change’ has become a dreaded phrase in political circles, thanks to both sides of the aisle.

    But do we want to pursue isolationism like the Libertarians and Liberals? Does the broad commitment against big government apply to our treaties, both military (NATO) or economic (NAFTA)? The EU presents powerful evidence of the danger of transnational governments, but the UN does provide a kind of forum to work out our differences. If the Citizen’s Party was a full fledged party at the start of this year, what would have been our position on Brexit?

    I contend that there is a proper balance between interventionism and isolationism that the Citizen’s Party should aim for. I believe the emphasis should be on choice. Example would be the EU. Given the evidence and structure of the European Union, while it has a noble goal of trying to unite this different nations into a cohesive and peaceful whole, its methods prevent any such success because it tries to circumvent democracy via bureaucracy. After all, the EU President does not gain a single vote from the people he presides over. He is nominated and then elected by two different bodies of politicians. Here, the people are not be offering a choice, the emphasis is on big government over the people.

    Yet, I believe there is a place for transnational organizations that we should maintain membership of. The UN and NATO have a proper place that should be secured, so long as they allow proper choice. Removing ourselves from either organization would be a much greater threat to the dignity of foreigners than if we were to stay.

    Finally, seeing as military interventions routinely make the news, I think it is here that the idea of choice is most important. I do not think we should send military expeditions to conflict zones that do not involve US territory, unless we have a prior alliance established with one of the actors, or one of the actors specifically requests US support. In the latter case, our intervention would be on a case-by-case basis. We do not want to repeat the mistakes made in Libya, Iraq, and so on. The emphasis of all of this is avoiding unnecessary conflict (something neither major nominee seems intent on). We intervene only where we must.

    I guess a phrase that could encapsulate all this thought is ‘willing but wary’. We understand that our power creates both responsibilities and opportunities, but we must approach every step with a critical eye.

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  • Stalwart Sam

    Again, off-topic, but congratulations on your piece at the Federalist. Not only was it well-written, but a vast majority of the comments were positive and filled with critical thinking. Top marks!

  • PatH

    Any thoughts on the current state of the American Solidarity Party? This year, they might be an option in states that aren’t swing states.

    • BCSWowbagger

      I have (as you know!) been very, very hard on the ASP this year — they were, as of May, a dead political party with no serious activity and barely any awareness — but, since Trumpocalypse 2016, they have undergone a period of exponential growth, expanded media attention, and (finally!!!) are developing some state-level organizations.

      They still lack the elite support that is essential to new-party formation, but they’re in a much better position than I expected in May, and perhaps they will prove part of the solution rather than a distraction.

      • PatH

        With the situation being what it is, it would seem that a party like the ASP is ideally situated to gather up some disaffected Conservatives and perhaps unite with like minded groups. If ever there was a year for them to get a jump start, or even just a start, this is it.

        I noticed they were getting some attention from Mark Shea (whose views on who we are to vote for this year I otherwise strongly disagree with) and are noted in some other Catholic circles. The trick really will be getting a presence in the states, and they’re pretty late to the party there. I don’t know how they, or any small group, do that, but they need to attempt it.

        For Conservatives, if some stand isn’t taken, and something isn’t built this election year, i.e., right now, I fear that pretty much the entire herd of horses will be out the barn door.

        • BCSWowbagger

          I think it’s too late for this election. The Republican Party organized out of the ashes of the Whigs at blazingly fast speed — first meeting in March 1854, Congressional elections spread out across the fall (Aug – Nov) — in an era when the two-party system did not have all the legal favors it has today, and they still weren’t organized enough to really be successful. It took another two years beyond that for them to really become a powerful party, and years more for electoral stability to reassert itself. And where the GOP had six months to get organized, we have barely 90 days. Where the nascent GOP was facing a midterm, the crackup of the GOP happened in a presidential year. The obstacles are too great.

          So: Trump or Clinton is going to win this fall. (And, let’s be honest: it’s very probably Clinton.) The catastrophe of this election will hopefully galvanize Americans to consider alternatives — but not in time to prevent the catastrophe from happening this year. The best we can hope for is to prevent it from happening again… and maybe, just maybe, that we’ll be able to undo the worst of the damage.

          I do expect that something will arise in place of what we have today — if not the ASP, then something like it — but I don’t think it’s going to happen until AFTER the next president’s inauguration.

          • PatH

            Oh I agree, including on your predictions of election results. I see no hope for anything other that Trump or Clinton, and frankly I was predicting a year ago that Clinton would win this election. It seemed obvious then, and does now, but the odd twists and turns with populists revolves in both parties did catch me very much by surprise.

            While a party like the ASP cannot win this year, that party, or a party like it, can springboard itself into position to start being a serious rival, maybe, if it starts taking advantage of the disaster of the 2016 election, but such a party should really start doing that now.

          • Stalwart Sam

            Does this mean you’re leaning toward ASP instead of a new party?

            • BCSWowbagger

              All it means for now is that I’m putting my fingers in every available pie.

              • Stalwart Sam

                I hope they’re Oreo pies.

                • BCSWowbagger

                  The ideal pie is the so-called “Toll House Pie” in which you make cookie dough, stick it in a pie crust, undercook it, and eat it. My wife insists they aren’t really pie, but if this is wrong pie I don’t wanna be right.