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Stasis, (North) American Style

I continue to watch events unfold in North America, and what I see makes me happier every day that I left. The fools “governing” both the United States and Canada should read Aristotle’s Politics, 5.1-4 (hopefully re-read, but that seems unlikely at best) and reflect on what he says about political stasis and how regimes fail.

From today’s New York Times: Party Gridlock in Washington Feeds New Fear of a Debt Crisis. By far and away the money quote:

“There isn’t a single sitting member of Congress — not one — that doesn’t know exactly where we’re headed,” (new co-chairman of President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Senator Alan K.) Simpson said in a telephone interview Tuesday just before word of his role got out. “And to use the politics of fear and division and hate on each other — we are at a point right now where it doesn’t make a damn whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican if you’ve forgotten you’re an American.”

Related from the Canadian Press (though the federal prorogation is old news): Ignatieff urges Harper to rein in power to suspend Parliament. When was the last time the executive branch of any country willingly gave back power that it was foolishly granted by the legislature? It took Obama only 1 year dealing with obstructionist Republicans before he restored to the old tricks of getting things done by executive order and threat of recess appointment.

There’s at least one advantage to Switzerland’s somewhat wacky direct democracy system: when dumb stuff happens, you can’t really blame the political elite for it.