Practical idealism. It's down, but not out. Should it have a roaring comeback in the new year, 2008? --Of course it should, but before we go any further, it is important that we observe that there is a difference and a distinction. Of course, I am one man. By myself, I am not practical idealism -- I'm just one U.S. citizen. However, the first introduction of "practical idealism" to be the name of a political platform in U.S. presidential politics was during the election of 1984, by the campaign of -- John Kusumi. Yours truly. The author of this article. I've got dibs on defining this particular brand of politics.
Now, suppose you are an American who believes that the Chinese Communist Party is flawless; that we can never have too many nuclear-armed, communist superpowers to menace our world. And further, suppose that you believe that a plutocratic elite is a good thing; that openness and transparency are for the birds, and that world-changing decisions should be made secretively, without public knowledge nor discussion nor democratic consent. And suppose that you also believe that the U.S. President should be above the law, wielding powers that exceed and indeed abrogate those mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Indeed, that America should descend into a kleptocracy.
--Is it implausible that a good, red-blooded American would think that? If raised with Western traditions of (e.g.) separation of powers, habeas corpus, and an independent judiciary? --My answer to that question is "yes and no." Western traditions, and education to value the framers of the American Constitution and republic -- well, those would suggest that good, red-blooded Americans ought to be alarmed if there is the ascendancy of such thoughts to political power. On the other hand, "Nah." It's perfectly normal to see Maoist-appeasing, pathocratic elites supporting a kleptocracy that steps well beyond the bounds of the U.S. Constitution.
Every day, it used to be the case that you could turn on American television and see three such men -- Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, and Dan Rather. Under them, America began to reward Communist China after it displayed the depths of its depravity at Tiananmen Square. Under them, Chinese dissidents and even U.S. presidential candidates could be "disappeared" -- at least off the face of the news. Keep in mind that I was one such alernative / independent, or third-party candidate.
The simple fact is that if you are as described above -- my imaginary, composite kleptocrat -- well then, you probably think that I should not speak for practical idealism. You'd like to define your own, in a way that is "kleptocrat friendly." That's what will bother the readers of my politics. I got here first, and I am running what can be described as "the John Kusumi brand of practical idealism." At the same time, it is true that the term is a commonly used term in the English language, so I claim no exclusivity. You can have your own brand of practical idealism, but I know that in the news of 1984 (written by a journalist whom I did not pay), I was credited with coining the term. In presidential politics, mine is the original flavor of practical idealism -- and that may be why the phrase did not resonate when former Vice President Al Gore tried to apply it. He tried using it in his campaign of 2000.
Very correctly, I can claim to have the original flavor of it, and that any bastardization of it will meet the fate of New Coke. The market may agree that Classic is better. So at this point, any kleptocrats with complaints will get nowhere with me.
All right then. I have it, I'll keep it, and I will even nurture it. I encourage more people to be practical idealists. Recently, I have decided that I want to be pro-choice in the first half of pregnancy, and pro-life in the last half of pregnancy. It's a compromise. It suggests that life begins 4.5 months after conception. As a compromise, it probably satisfies no one. Purists on either side will be unhappy to see a compromise. But, practical idealism is really that -- pragmatic about being idealistic. Sometimes, when half a loaf is all you can get, half a loaf will have to do. When my position is looked at another way, there is something in it for both sides. Being 50% on one side of the fence, and 50% on the other side of the fence, now I cannot be accused of being either -- pro-choice or pro-life. Very truly, I am taking a compromise position.
I will be fine with allowing stem cell research, but not with federal funds. For the same reason, I will be fine with allowing abortions in the first half of pregnancy, but not with federal funds. In that way, I would avoid taxing the pro-life purists for something which they argue is the taking of life. I support them if the question is their tax money. I am sensitive to the aversion of purists, on the pro-life side, to the use of their money in taking life. So, the early abortion and stem cell related activities, under my politics, would be tolerated but not funded. Again, it's a compromise, and nobody really likes a compromise. I do not expect any wild popularity on the basis of my abortion position.
However, there remain other matters on the plate above, where I can make practical idealism more popular. American trade is funding Communist China, and it should be limited to only that trade which can occur without a trade deficit. In other words, balanced trade should be the objective. Furthermore, I favor having the U.S. cancel NAFTA, and similar arrangements. Why do "free traders" insist that they need a new level of government for that freedom? --That's a contradiction, and in fact an extra level of government is in fact managed trade. For valid purposes of government and the public sector, bodies such as the WTO are unnecessary. That body was less objectionable back when it was called GATT, and I would roll it back to that point, if not exit the arrangement entirely.
In addition to democracy for China, I am also in favor of democracy for America. If need be, I will become an American dissident in the American democracy movement. Such a movement should be unnecessary, but face it -- Jennings and Brokaw and Rather (and the Presidents from Reagan - Bush II) let democracy slip to a dangerously low ebb in America. I will vigorously oppose any "North American Union" and any further erosion of our sovereignty -- but, I already embrace the International Criminal Court, and wish it well. I hope that it will prosecute even more war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.
Because I favor the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law, I also favor impeachment for the Bush - Cheney administration (see www.WexlerWantsHearings.com). Furthermore, the news media has got to admit that it was ridiculous to let matters get this bad. Matters from the JFK assassination to 9/11 have been an example of "elitists gone wild." When the United States suffers enormous losses as it did on those two occasions, it should be fair game for the news media to investigate and to get to the bottom of the matter. Who ordered the Secret Service to stand down? Who ordered NORAD to stand down? Why was the NTSB kept off the case from investigating 9/11? And, who ordered the news media to stand down? (Heck, when will the news media stand up?)
We need a more diligent investigation of 9/11. The 9/11 Commission made its final report and did not address the matter of Building 7, which mysteriously fell later on the day of 9/11, even though no plane had hit it. I believe that Ron Paul, a contemporary candidate for U.S. President, is the real thing and that a "Ron Paul Revolution" is gathering steam. My chief difference with him is on China trade, but I also want Universal Health Care, Canadian style.
My differences with Ron Paul will prevent me from being an enthusiastic supporter, unless or until he comes around on these matters: 9/11 needs a new investigation; China needs democracy more than it needs our trade; and, all Americans need a Universal Health Care system. At this point, America needs all of the above, plus an impeachment. Consider the foregoing summary to be "the practical idealist agenda" for which I now stand. Right now, the Ron Paul Revolution is having popularity that exceeds or outstrips that of practical idealism. But that's now. In the future, I believe that practical idealism can have its day, and I will continue to look forward to that occasion.