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Political parties are necessary evil

By Jason Brown
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 5, 1999
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To the editor,

Regarding Mary Fan's article "The failure of our two-party system," it becomes obvious that the author seeks to enlighten readers as to the dangers of political parties, comparing them to "kidnappers" and "rapists." Citing such notable Americans as George Washington and James Madison, the author characterizes political parties as "stagnating influence(s)" which only seek to "subvert the power of the people."

If the author had read James Madison and read his contributions to The Federalist Papers, she would have found that while Madison did warn against the "tyranny of factions," he also stated in Federalist no. 10 that "the latent causes of faction are sown in the nature of man." All individuals have their own opinions and beliefs; political parties are simply groups of like-minded individuals who seek to further their own causes.

Madison does propose two illegitimate methods for removing factions, ", by destroying the liberty which is essential to (their) existence: the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions." Instead of utilizing either of these solutions, Madison offers the U.S. Constitution as a tool for combating overly zealous groups within the government.

Ms. Fan continues by offering government shutdowns and the recent impeachment of President Clinton as examples of "how truly illegitimate the two-party system is."

Once again, Madison in Federalist number 10 states, "It is vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust to...clashing interests" and that "enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." Whether or not one believes in the current course of government, it would be foolhardy to suggest the dissolution of the dual-party system.

If Ms. Fan truly wishes to change the way the United States governs itself, let her and other "like-minded individuals" form a party of their own and pursue change. If the domination of the government by two parties is truly as dangerous as she believes, she should try to adjust election laws to incorporate proportional representation to weaken the current dual-party system.

Jason Brown
Political science junior