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In Defense of American Democratic Government and the Common Good (Against Anti-Government Republicans)

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Duluth, MN (OpEdNews) May 21, 2011: I write in defense of the American experiment in democratic government and the common good, against anti-government Republicans such as Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin who worship Ayn Rand and self-centeredness and selfishness.


William F. Buckley, Jr., was one of the greatest dimwits of the twentieth century, but even he worked to keep Ayn Rand out of the conservative movement. But today's anti-government Republicans have regressed even lower than Buckley in their admiration of Ayn Rand's championing of self-centeredness and selfishness.


But our American government was formed to work for the common good, not for self-centeredness and selfishness. So if anti-government Republicans stand for the self-centeredness and selfishness championed by Ayn Rand, as Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin does, who will rise to defend the need for government and the common good?


This question brings me to President Barack Obama and the Democratic party and the upcoming presidential election in 2012.


But first I want to discuss Aristotle, who lived in ancient Athens during the time of the great experiment in participatory democracy in Athens. Dante famously described Aristotle as the master of those who know, a judgment that I am not inclined to disagree with. In her book RETRIEVING POLITICAL EMOTION: THUMOS, ARISTOTLE, AND GENDER (2000), Barbara Koziak examines Aristotle's discussion of political emotion. Political emotion is needed to move people to political action. Isn't this obvious?


So what in the world is the point of her title RETRIEVING POLITICAL EMOTION supposed to be? Where does it need to be retrieved from? Who needs to retrieve it? Koziak suggests that political emotion needs to be retrieve in political theory, because it has lost a respectable place in political theory. However that may be, I would suggest that President Obama and other Democratic politicians need to retrieve an honorable place for political emotion as they attempt to fight the anti-government Republican noise machine.


We Americans today should feel political anger against anti-government Republicans and their war on the common good in favor of self-centeredness and selfishness through deregulation and tax breaks for the wealthiest among us. Inasmuch as Republicans are anti-government, they are against the common good.


As a result of the connivings of the George W. Bush administration, many Americans felt a tremendous surge in political anger during the 2008 elections. In his 2008 presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama did not need to work very hard at all to remind patriotic Americans why they should feel political anger. Patriotic Americans were already feeling strong political anger. As a result, all Senator Obama needed to do was invoke the name of George W. Bush periodically.


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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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