When George Washington had finished his first two pioneering terms as President, he saw fit to address the nation in farewell. Many of his points were ignored by his citizen audience. His text is available in full here.
One notes first how extensive his document is. He expects to capture the attention of the people for well more than thirty seconds. Given our busy, busy world of mindless rushing about, nothing runs this long except a textbook.
It is free of one of the most burdensome curses of the blog, in that Washington’s Farewell was no doubt read by the author in excruciating detail; rewritten and re-examined and pondered by friends, rather than this medium of the blog, which is bundled and rolled out in a stream of loosely gathered prose, barely re-read by the author before publication.
To understand Washington means one has to read slowly and carefully – a habit long vanished from our population. Instead, we seize upon ideas after a few syllables are uttered, and dash to answer what they imagine the speaker is saying. We have become a screaming echo chamber of gibberish.
Washington – on political factions and PARTIES. These foreign entities, wickedly European and corrupt, were not beloved at the start of the Republic, seen as contributing to its ruination:
All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle [i.e…to the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a government for the whole is indispensable], and of fatal tendency. [Parties] serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.
However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
We are far past the doom pronounced by Washington. In Parties 2.0, we now have parties of entities – parties composed of corporations, of “interest groups,” of all combinations of combinations. Parties of citizens are long passed by; they served their purpose to weaken the Republic, they are done with. The first Roosevelt set upon these new inventions through his Progressivism, calling them trusts and webs of intrigue. The span between the two Roosevelts was a period of frustration for the parties of entities, the trusts and collusive entities who hungered for control.
That time is long past, that time is gone.