Time for a Four-Party System

The buzz is in the air and wafting through the media.  Ayn Rand was an atheist.  She was the modern equivalent of Lucretius, the Roman poet who wrote "On The Nature of Things"; the humanist text expounding the ancient Greek Epicurean philosophy.  Stephen Greenblatt in his book, The Swerve, proposes that Epicurieanism created the modern world.  Unfortunately, Epicurean philosophy was then surpressed by all flavors of Christianity and every mainstream American institution.   Luckily, it morphed into the natural sciences as the Epicurean theories of atoms and evolution were validated.  

Ayn Rand is greatly admired by the libertarian wing of the Republican Party.  Ronald Reagon loved her books about freedom  and small government until he realized that he needed the religious right to defeat any Democratic candidate.  Mitt Romney’s nominee for Vice President, Paul Ryan, was also inspired by the book and its free market / free morals / atheist vision until he too had to get some votes from some God-fearing conservatives.  Since the books are written at an eighth-grade reading level, free market proponents donated millions of copies to school and college libraries and worked hard to get Ayn Rand included in high school and college curricula.  The tactic worked.  If you ask an MBA interviewee which book most influence his or her thinking, 50% of the time they mention Atlas Shrugged

All of the hand-wringing in the media about Paul Ryan and his repudiation of Ayn Rand, because of her embrace of atheism and abortion rights, made me think about how weird the American political landscape is.  We have two parties that offer intrinsically contradictory platforms.  The Democrats want to control your economic life and tax and regulate everything to death, while giving you freedom in your ethical life through their support of  libertarian  causes like gay rights.  The Republicans want to free your economic life from taxes and regulations, but they want to dictate your ethical life and tell you who you can love or marry or bring into the world.  These platforms are inherently contradictory and force people to vote either against their economic interests or their ethical beliefs.

The solution to this dilemna is that we need a four-party system.  The Democrats and Republicans can keep their contradictory platforms.  Then two more parties need to be formed.  The Epicurean Party that embraces economic and ethical freedom and the Platonic Party that supports total government control through its philosopher president of both the individual’s economic and spiritual life.

That would give Americans a real choice in November.