There are essentially two way of looking at the legislative process:
1) You can belittle it. You can argue that our Senators and representatives are too beholden to constituents, special interests, and public opinion polls to ever effect real, substantive change on big-ticket policy issues. From this perspective, the process is inherently flawed, with an array of backward incentives that discourage intelligent large-scale reforms.
2) You can embrace it. You can choose to see all the bickering, partisan incrementalism -- the messy "consensus-building" -- as reflective of a society with conflicting moral and social priorities, where no one has a monopoly on truth, but where we slowly move toward some kind of positive collective agreement. As Immanuel Kant allegedly put it, "out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made."
I suppose you could also do both of these things -- or, perhaps, you could see it in a totally different light -- but I think most people tend to fall into one of these two camps. Either you belittle the process or you embrace it.
So, which camp do you think you fall into?
Happy Thanksgiving! - The painting is by Marcial Camilo Ayala, who sadly passed away earlier this year. I am very grateful to have known him. The post Happy Thanksgiving! app...
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