Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Political Yen/Yang Principle

Yen and Yang. Together they denote balance. Balance is a key component of stability, in most anything.

Yen And Yang In Science

Take chemistry for instance. Remember the pH scale of acids and bases? Too much of one or the other, creates an unstable compound. The more stable the compound the more balance between the two. Here is but one example: Sodium (Na+) and chlorine (Cl-) molecules by themselves are not stable. Yet when they develop a bond with each other, they become one of the more stable compounds, known to mankind, table salt.

Table salt (NaCl), by itself and in its natural form, serves many useful functions today and at one point in history was a valuable trading commodity, with the ancient Romans even using it as money.

Yen And Yang In Relationships

Marriage is one area, you can draw another such analogy. You've heard the old saying that opposites attract, haven't you? An introverted person with an extroverted person, together will usually have less difficulties than two of the same personality types. The more aggressive of the two, balanced with the more passive, seems to lessen the chances of internal conflicts, because one is easy going the other is more a driving force and usually more difficult to please. One is content to drive and the other is content to let the other do the driving.

Yen And Yang In Psychology

Freud's theory of self, is another illustration. Id, ego, and superego are the primary components of this theory. And without getting too deep into Psych 101 (which I suspect most of my readers have had), I will say that id is the hedonist, superego is the moralist, and ego is the blend between the two. Too much id can increase your chances of getting you to the same destination as John Belushi. Too much superego gets you to the point of Jerry Falwell. But the right balance gets you to the point of being a well rounded individual, capable of being a productive, compassionate human being that understands the nature of objectivity.

Yen And Yang In Politics

Politics aren't much different.

The first area where this is true is in the balancing of the rule of law, with the will of the people.

From the beginning of time there have been rulers and there have been those that have been ruled. As the population of the world increased over the years, it became impossible for rulers to oversee and micromanage all affairs, so they eventually had aides (that became part of a chain of command). Enter the bureaucracy. Enter the corruption and the political back-stabbing that comes with it. Enter, the us vs. them mentality.

But with that, you also have to see that two distinct classes developed, the nobility and the peasantry, the rulers and the ruled. And in no time period since then, has there not been this distinction. The differences come in the methods of selecting rulers and in the debate of how much power those rulers should or should not have.

Monarchs always have believed in a selection process guided by the principle known as, divine right. And why not? They, themselves, benefitted much more from that process, than the people they ruled. Many rulers used a theological basis for maintaining this form of rule, century after century. They exploited the superstitious tendencies that are seemingly inherent with mankind, by saying that this deity here, or that deity there, willed it to be so. Therefore, they must submit themselves or whichever deity was applicable, would be wroth with them and some form of judgement or calamity would befall them.

Not all rulers have been malevolent though, even during the golden ages of divine right. Many were benevolent too. But when the oppressive regimes were too oppressive (people neglected and abused for royal pleasure), there came a time when revolutions were necessary to relieve the oppression. Hunger and severe mistreatment will do that to a people.

This is where the anarchists come into view. With the revolutions, come an element that is rebellious by nature and resists any and all forms of authority; and essentially believe that they should be allowed to do whatever they want, whenever they want. Anarchists come in all political persuasions. Today, we have both left wing and right wing anarchists that have the same goals and objectives, but with different motives. Mob rule is their ideology and resistance is there forte. There is no room for any kind of authority with anarchists, least of all a monarch.

Now, any stable government that wishes to remain stable, needs to balance the rule of law with the will of the people, to create a more harmonious community and society. In nations that proclaim liberty and democracy as a staple of stability, elections are the voice of the people and the people that are seated by those elections are those that must rule, while hearing that voice. It is then understood that the people must then submit themselves to the laws, made by the rulers. Apart from demonstrations in the most critical situations, the people must wait for election day to choose to keep their rulers or bring in new ones.

The second area in which balance must occur in politics, is within the selection process, itself.

The politics of left, right, and moderate can be looked at in the same sense as the id, superego, and ego components of Freud's theory and the pH scale's acid-base balance. Too much id or too much superego and you have an imbalanced self. Too much acid or too much base and you have an unstable compound. Likewise, too much left or too much right, you have a government that can run roughshod over the people.

Too much left or too much right can also be unstable because of the change factor. Too much political change at one time without the people's consent can/will create instability. Too much either way will also cause change to occur faster, than the people can bear.

One example of this, is in the area of welfare reform.

Let me first say that there is nobody that believes we desperately need welfare reform more, than me. But after decades of the miserable failure known as LBJ's Great Society, there are way too many people that have become overly dependent on the government. To cut all of them off at once would be disastrous, in that, the masses that would be cut off, would have no idea how to provide for themselves. That is all they have ever known.

Like the son or daughter that learns the family business while growing up and eventually takes it over when the parent retires or dies, the welfare recipient, no doubt, learned this way of life from his/her parents. So, this must be done slowly, by attrition. It must be done in some way, whereby, the people that will be most affected do not turn to crime as a replacement. Kicking people off assistance that have been so dependent for so many generations without a viable alternative is not wise. The only way to do this without creating an unstable environment for the rest of us that work hard to provide for our families, is to create opportunities for them, at the same rate.

How does this relate to my points?

The far right would cut all people off, right now. That's it. Poof. Gone. People would turn desperate and fast. As I stated earlier, crime would rise exponentially, immediately creating instability. By contrast, the left would seek to increase government assistance. And if they had a blank check, they would expand welfare rolls. This would increase the tax burden on those that work for a living, therefore creating instability.

In Summary

In all things we do, moderation is the key. And, balance is the key component to moderation. But make no mistake, all of this must be used by exercising good judgement. Opposition to government policies can be effectively voiced without tearing down that same government. Opposition to the war can be voiced in ways that do not give aid and comfort to the enemy.

Opposition and dissent are healthy things, if they are used wisely. They create that balance that is so utterly necessary to create stability. But it must be done in such a way that it does not destroy the very institutions that have allowed it to exist. It must be done in such a way that it does not destroy, but in such a way that it improves the operations of the institutions that have endured, for over two centuries. Criticism must be given, with alternative solutions and not with constant allegations of wrongdoings.

To do otherwise, creates a form of instability that will eventually threaten the existence of the very liberties that we hold so near and dear, to us.

Coming soon:

More on the Political Yen/Yang Principle. Watch for it


VARepublicMan said...

Great post. The notion of balance and equilibrium is key in my own
personal philosophy. While many political extremists (on both sides) would
like to destroy the other party, the really don't understand what they
are asking for. Light does not exist w/o dark. Sweet is nothing without

By the same token, when a party moves too far to the extreme, they
almost guarentee their own destruction. I believe that the DNC is at that
point but the GOP may yet save the DNC with their own far right
rhetoric. How ironic.

LASunsett said...

By the same token, when a party moves too far to the extreme, they
almost guarentee their own destruction.

The lower or higher pH a molecule is, the more unstable it is. When opposites are mixed, the wider the distance between the two, the greater the reaction. That is the danger of today's widening political polarization.

You are so right, they may destroy each other, in the process though.

A.C. said...

That pretty much sums it up, LA. You should run for office. I'm serious. We need more balanced people in politics (which I'm sure you probably discuss in your newest post, but I'm not there yet).

BTW, I'm going to give this post to my teenaged son for a reading lesson, even if I have to force him to read it! I want him to subscribe to this philosophy, just as I've tried.

LASunsett said...

You should run for office. I'm serious.

Thanks for the kind words, but you couldn't pay me enough to run for anything.