Epistemic Arrogance in Washington?
In Professor Manty’s lecture regarding Burke, he brought up two concepts as they related to the French revolution: epistemic arrogance and turmoil and violence. As I listened, I could not help but think of the recent elections.
As I followed the campaigns, particularly my favorite candidate (a moderate republican), I grew more and more frustrated with the epistemic arrogance that pervaded this election cycle. I would listen to commercials only to hear about the perils of the Obama-Pelosi agenda or the dangers of a return to the Bush-era. Since when can right and wrong be compartmentalized into one party or the other?
Along the same lines, it seemed that turmoil and violence has become more and more prominent in politics today. It become acceptable to shoot down ideas or policies that we don’t agree with on the whole. What happened to negotiation and debate over policies in order to reach a common ground? While political violence would typically incite some form of change, in the American government today it has only hindered any progress.
The American public is equally as frustrated. A Politico Poll taken about a week and a half prior to the election found that nearly three quarters of both the American general population and the Washington elites believed that the political system in D.C. is broken. And the American people spoke on November 2, putting nearly as many Republicans as Democrats in the houses of Congress. The American people staged their own minor revolution on the state of our union’s governance.
What does this mean for the future? I have a sense of optimism. As a recent NPR Article put it,
Nothing will get done in Washington without the two meeting somewhere in the middle. And from there, divides also will have to be bridged in the Senate, which will have nearly as many Republicans as Democrats.
Could this two-party governance force politicians with diametrically opposite viewpoints to find common ground?
I am hopeful that our politicians will put their partisan ways aside, but only time will tell.