Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Parliamentary Systems Versus Ours
If your mind is still reeling from Kristol's ability to draw the lesson of "Shut up and trust the government" out of an Orwell essay, you'll quickly recognize this as a much smaller defect in Kristol's editorial. But it's worth noting that when Orwell criticized a "permanent and pensioned opposition, as in England", he was referencing a parliamentary minority. In a parliamentary system, the Prime Minister is the leader of the ruling party. If that party has a majority of the seats in Parliament - a "majority government" - it can run roughshod over the minority party (or parties). We had something similar happen during the first six years of GW's Presidency. To conflate a parliamentary majority with control only of the executive, as Kristol did, reflects ignorance - be it actual or willful.
Why bother reading Orwell if you don't have sufficient knowledge or intellectual curiosity to figure out what he's talking about?