John Andrews

(3) Human beings naturally disagree; interests inevitably clash; unanimity is rare. (4) Parties give voters a choice between contrasting visions for governance. (5) Governing is difficult; wrong turns are everywhere; mistakes can be disastrous. (6) Thus while the ruling party steers and accelerates, the opposition party is there to monitor and brake.

(7) Americans who see the rewards and benefits of government tend to be Democrats; those who see the dangers and costs of government tend to be Republicans; we need both. (8) Republicans, favoring the brakes, thus tend to agree parties are good; while Democrats, favoring the gas, tend to wish away the need for parties. Hence the “partisans R not us” angle taken by Salzman and Palacio.

(9) There is no real-world example of a free society with democratic institutions and constitutional self-government that doesn’t also have competing political parties, each party consisting of a contentious coalition around an establishment core. Hence the wisdom of Call’s appeal.

(10) There are too many real-world examples of unfree societies with only one political party, or with personality cults and thought control instead of parties, resulting in brutal tyranny. Hence the impossibility of Kenny’s nonpartisan future. It’s a fantasy, and ominous at that.

Aristotle said man is a political animal. Moses and Jesus warned he’s also an imperfect one; often a dummy, in fact. I know I sure am. Parties can help save us from ourselves.


John Andrews

John Andrews is former president of the Colorado Senate and the author of "Responsibility Reborn: A Citizen's Guide to the Next American Century"