I enjoyed the video John posted of Nigel Farage cutting into the European Parliament. Interestingly, Farage is the head of the UK Independence Party – probably the closest thing the Brits have to a Tea Party. UKIP’s are essentially disaffected Tories with a strong libertarian and UK-first streak, and the party platform revolves around liberty, lower taxes, free trade, independence from the democracy-destroying EU, and a return to national sovereignty. I think their beer policies are great. The shuttering of pubs across England is symbolic of the many problems that country faces.
Perhaps more interesting, to me at least, is that John saw common cause with what Farage was saying, without knowing who he was or what he stood for beyond the short Youtube clip. I think there is a great deal of common cause to be found between whatever groups – Tea Partiers, progressives, civil libertarians, etc. etc.…we all disagree vehemently on the means by which we should achieve many of these goals, but the goals themselves are often not so different (well, not the goals exactly, but the purpose of those goals – to improve society and the human condition – remain fairly common). We pillory our political opponents, cast them in as dark and dubious a light as possible, and that’s fine and good. That’s politics. But there is common ground, too, beyond the lazy and often destructive bipartisanship we see enacted by our political leaders. Therein lies the rub, of course. Common ground is good, but in practice bipartisanship often leads to the worst of all possible worlds. The word ‘centrist’ in Washington may as well be ‘careerist’. I’m not sure if our system was really designed with bipartisanship in mind.