An enduring faction that aims to advance a philosophical view through the control of government.
Motivation and Discussion
Power and disagreement lead readily to the emergence of factions within social and political groups. Factions form when there is an opportunity for mutual benefit and support. Within large social groups of approximate peers, the personal relationships between individuals become less important than abstract ideals, and some factions formalise into organisations for controlling government, political parties.
A party philosophy need not be particularly complex, coherent or systematic. It is more often a smear of related ideas about government and society. At its simplest, and weakest, it can be little more than a mutual interest in power. Within a party, tensions often arise from the dual aims of advancing a view and controlling government. Policies change rapidly over time, to accommodate settled policy arguments, and so a party may continue to influence government. Philosophies also change, more slowly, over time.
Parties have constituencies, fluid powerbases that provide members and support.
Members and candidates for government agree to follow the party philosophy in return for resources and sponsorship. The wider party membership either believe in or find it useful to support the party philosophy. Those members in or close to government, agree to (largely) argue as an individual within the party, but then represent the collective decision to those outside.
Without a large social group of approximate peers the benefits for joining a party become fewer. The powerful individual has less need for a broad collective support base, and the powerless individual has more need for patronage from powerful individuals.
As social groups appointing government officials grow in size, it becomes harder to make decisions based on knowing the individuals concerned, and the advantages of a appointing an entire team at once grow. Parties, having advantages of scale, in branding and resource provision, therefore increase their influence.
Institutions which regulate political power on the basis of allocating it to individuals in broadly equivalent amounts, such as Parliaments or Voting, promote the emergence of Parties. The conditions of scale mentioned above mean parties in today's representative democracies are effectively gatekeepers to high or even fairly junior office in government. Party labels also obscure those politicians and officials that simply strive for just and competent government rather than a broader ideological agenda.
Parties in one-party states obviously also function as gatekeepers; in this case the part and the government become almost synonymous.
Proponents of philosophical schools of thought in ancient Greece, and afterwards, certainly attempted to influence government but were so disorganised and individualistic as to barely qualify as a party. Most of the philosophical schools in China of the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods were similarly disorganised. A possible exception is the Legalists, whose program of focusing on agriculture and war, a strictly consistent legal system of brutal collective punishment, and aggressive territorial expansion, established the framework for the first unification of China.
The Guelphs were a party supporting the Papacy against the Holy Roman Empire in 12th and 13th century Europe, particularly northern Italy. Over time they came to represent a more general resistance to German influence. The Guelphs split at the end of the 13th century into Black Guelphs and White Guelphs.
The British Conservative Party is, historically, one of the most electorally successful parties in the world. It originated in the 17th century to defend the interests of the Crown and landed aristocrats against the English parliament. Today it attempts to defend the commercial interests of individuals against the British and European parliaments, and a certain continuum can be seen between the two philosophies. During that period policy positions have changed rather more radically; the party that fiercely defended the Corn Laws and the British Empire now promotes free trade and resists the European Union.
The Democratic Party of the United States, though technically tracing its roots to the anti-federalist Republican party of Thomas Jefferson, is more a product of that party's split in the 1820s, engineered by Andrew Jackson. It defended the interests of white farmers, largely in southern states, promoting aggressively nationalist policies, expansion of slavery and distrust of mercantile banking and finance interests. The modern party retains its suspicion of industrial capitalism and its fondness for regulating labor, but is otherwise a party of the metropolitan middle class, largely in northern states, promoting multilateralism and multiculturalism.
The National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) was founded in 1921. It promoted strong central government, cultural unity, aggressive military expansion and the organisation of society along racial and eugenic lines, including the extermination of people deemed to be of undesirable races. The Nazi Party was abolished by the Allies at the end of World War II, though small and less popular parties have since echoed its ideas.
The Chinese Communist Party was founded in 1921 to promote the interests of workers and peasants, and overthrow the existing class system in order to remake it along Marxist lines. The initial successes of the party were won by rallying the support of an impoverished peasantry through land reform rather than following the Marxist template of proletarian revolution. Similarly, China's economic success over recent decades has been achieved by dismantling the command economy constructed by the CCP after 1950. The party's current philosophy appears to be promoting a strong, nationalist and unified China, while maintaining the party's monopoly on force and political speech.
It can be argued that the advent of cheap guns and explosives, by flattening the difference in power between individuals, helped establish the environment of mass politics in which political parties flourish.
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.