Massimo Pigliucci wants a US Parliament, and so do I
On his Rationally Speaking blog, Massimo Pigliucci argues for the US to adopt a Parliamentary system without a separate Commander in Chief, and I tend to agree. I doubt it will happen in the next few hundred years, but it probably is likely in the long term.
I am a rather simple minded voter, I guess, because I tend to be consistent in my choices: if I like the idea of a social net, universal health care, more emphasis on reconstructing America rather than on controlling the world by military might, then I vote for Democrats both in the legislative and in the executive branch (thereby also hoping to get some liberal judges in the judicial branch as well, as a bonus). Yes, I am a partisan, and I dislike the idea of bipartisanship unless it is strictly necessary. The reason for it is because for me ideas are important, not personalities. I couldn’t care less which presidential candidate would make for a better beer buddy, hunting buddy, or kissing partner. I don’t want to go hunting with or kiss my president or vice-president, and I have plenty of good friends to go have a beer with (actually, I prefer martinis). I cringe at the sheer gullibility of middle or lower class people who think that McCain is “one of them” even though the guy is rich beyond their dreams, to the point of not remembering exactly how many houses he owns. I find it sadly risible that someone would find Sarah Palin an appealing candidate because she knows how to “dress” a moose (I just go to the local shop and talk to my butcher).
Mr. Pigliucci is such an elitist, isn’t he? Who does he think he is, asking for competence in the leaders of our civilization? If Nero was good enough for the Romans, then W is good enough for us. Right?
Hence my modest proposal: let’s get rid of the presidency altogether! Switch to a parliamentary system with a prime minister who is picked by the majority party, even better if coupled with a “shadow government” on the style of the British one. Prime ministers come and go much more easily (and therefore they are bound to do much less damage), the cult of personality is contained, and a parliament is more responsive to the will and interests of the people. It’s time to end once and for all America’s love affair with the idea of the quasi-king commander in chief who can unilaterally declare wars, willfully ignore the law, and blatantly lie to the public — as long as he is charming enough. That is the way that led the Germans to Hitler and the Italians to Mussolini (both elected democratically, initially). Down with the presidency, long live the republic!
I’m with Massimo. The Prime Minister’s questions on BBC is one of the most entertaining political events you’ll ever watch. I wish we had one of those.