One Maryland=Utopian Claptrap
From the opening paragraph of Saturday’s Baltimore Sun’s article on O’Malley’s challenge to implement his budget plan:
When Gov. Martin O’Malley took his oath in January, he spoke of “One Maryland,” celebrating an end to the partisan feuding that had beset Annapolis under his Republican predecessor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. With O’Malley at the helm and strong Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, state business would be less contentious, lawmakers said, even pleasantly efficient. Those were the days.
Before the election I wondered how many people would swallow this “One Maryland” twaddle. Obviously enough to elect the empty suit.
What O’Malley’s vapid talk of “One Maryland and consensus,” transcending partisan politics does, is deceive us from the very real fact that representative democracy works on disagreement not silly Utopian notions of consensus or “transcending” partisan differences.
Political parties are not the source of our disagreements, they are the entities through which we express those disagreements. No matter who is in power, those differences will not go away. They are a fact of human nature. The lie in O’Malley’s holier than thou /progressive Utopian rhetoric is that he can somehow make our differences go away to get things done. Fascists and communists in the inter-war era used similar rhetoric against the western democracies to devastating effect. For the communists they built whole nightmare societes based on the very notion that they could transcend human nature. Now O’Malley is not using this rhetoric to create a nightmare society in Maryland, rather he is using it to decieve us into thinking that he can get beyond partisan politics in order to take more of our own money.
Real representative democracy thrives on disagreement and political parties, not duplicitous politicians claiming to transcend human nature. While the founders did not foresee political parties they did note, especially Hamilton and Madison that “factions” were necessary to a working republic. While Madison’s Federalist No. 10 is the most widely recognized of the Federalist Papers for its explication on the dangers of faction and how to control it, No. 10 is a continuation of Hamilton’s argument made in Federalist No. 9, which argues that however dangerous they can be, factions (political parties) are a necessary component of a functioning republic.
I am glad that O’Malley’s tax and slots plans are running into obstacles in the General Assembly because it exposes the fallacy of his rhetoric and should serve as a reminder of Hamilton and Madison’s lesson on what makes representative democracy work.
So the next time O’Malley yaps about “One Maryland” “consensus,” or getting things done, remember he is really ignoring what makes representational democracy work and that his sly rhetoric is intended to deceive you into thinking that he really can transcend human nature to “get things done.”
Utopian? Yes. Deceptive? Yes. Will people still buy into it? That remains to be seen.