Tag Archives: principle

George Washington, Political Parties and Lack of Principle

Today’s parties, the Republicans and Democrats, or as I like to call them Republicrats and Demipublicans, are not here to fix our problems. As George Washington recognized over 200 years ago, political parties are tools “by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people.”

Whenever I hear partisan talk, I am reminded of how easily people become tangled in the dialectic and effectively neutralized. Neither party is going to save us, no matter how it plays out, the only saving grace will come when people again become principled.

These people that put all of their energy into making sure their “party” gets in are incredibly naive and unwilling to face the fact that either party will do anything to get in power and stay there; neither has much in the way of principle. You can’t have good public policy without sound principles, there simply is no way to compromise; either you have sound principles, or you don’t.

“All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They [political parties] serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.

“However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

–George Washtington

The Tao of Principle

Principle is originally there; just call it to mind and it is there of itself. Desire is originally not there; if you can just see through it, it disappears of itself. Stopping desire and keeping to principle are basically not two things; to the extent that you have stopped desire, to that extent you keep to principle. Nothing benefits people more than principle, yet those who keep to principle are few. Nothing harms people more than desire, yet those who indulge desires are many.

When people have desires, it is like trees having insects; consumed within unknown, before long they collapse. Those who think desire is fun do not realize desire is like fire; if you do not put it out, you will burn yourself. Your spirit will suffer from irritation, alcohol and sex will wear out your vital energy, producing illness and ulcers, so you cry out in pain day and night. Buddhists who say you suffer from your sins after death do not realize you already suffer while still alive.

–Thomas Cleary