There are indeed some politically naive and pseudo-intellectuals who have been applauding a liberal, progressive CNN anchor
for calling parliamentary system “superior” to the American system.
Fareed Zakaria’s endorsement of parliamentary system is not surprising at all considering the fact that he’s a well-known liberal, progressive and closet socialist. His pro-parliamentary system drivel is completely consistent with his political ideology and beliefs. What do we expect from a notorious pro-BIG government liberal? What do we expect from someone who supports Pres. Obama’s welfare policies like massive government spending, socialized health care, ObamaCare, regulations, etc? And what do we expect from a statist who called Obama critics “terrorists”. Yet those who criticize Obama advocate/support the founding principles America. They call for lesser government spending, lesser taxes, limited government, and lesser regulations.
Perhaps India’s parliamentary system is far more superior to America’s political system. Why don’t he go back to India, which is his country of birth?
In his op-ed titled Does America Need a Prime Minister? published on CNN, Zakaria said:
In America today, we take this struggle to an extreme. We have one party in one house of the legislature claiming to speak for the people because theirs was the most recent electoral victory. And you have the president who claims a broader mandate as the only person elected by all the people. These irresolvable claims invite struggle.
There are, of course, advantages to the American system – the checks and balances have been very useful on occasion. But we’re living in a world where you need governments that are able to respond decisively and quickly. In a fast-moving world, paralysis is dangerous. Other countries are catching up – if not overtaking – America.
Debt crises across the West make this a particularly bad time for paralysis. Western countries have all built up very large pension and healthcare obligations that lead to huge amounts of debt. They need to figure out some systematic way to work that debt load down to a much more manageable level. This means a lot of pain.
This makes Zakaria clueless, if not politically naive and ignorant. He’s now lamenting America’s debt crisis and economic troubles when in fact he supported those failed economic policies that made the crisis and economic crunch possible. Zakaria is a notorious supporter of big government, and it’s good that the American people are just ignoring him.
This source accurately described Zakaria’s ideological inclination and political naivety. It states:
Zakaria believes that the US became a great and prosperous country because the Federal Government became big and made huge investments in education, science, transportation, and other such stuff – liberals’ favorite pet projects. He claims that the US is now losing its status as the world’s economic and scientific leader because, supposedly, Asian and European countries (including China) are making “record investments” in “education, research, and the infrastructure”. He claims that the US federal government should significantly increase its (already-record) spending levels on these items, cut defense spending, and adopt the other liberal policies he advocates.
He also believes that there can be no significant savings on “wasteful, fraudulent, and abusive” expenses in domestic programs, and that the only federal agency which wastes any significant amounts of money is the big bad Pentagon.
What’s wrong with these proposals?
To start with, everything.
The US became a great and prosperous country in spite of the federal government, not because of it. It became a great and prosperous country because of individual entrepreneurs and private enterprise who, until about the 1970s, were largely free to do whatever they wanted, pursue profitable ventures, create wealth, and succeed, while states were mostly free to pursue whatever policies they wanted.
Zakaria’s unsurprising rejection of the American system simply proves my theory that only avowed statists, closet socialists and politically ignorant pseudo-intellectuals would endorse and support parliamentary system.
America is failing not because of its presidential system, but simply because it drifted away from the principles of its Founding Fathers, namely, limited government, objective rule of law, individual rights, and free market capitalism.
America’s Republican federal system is the very reason why America did not fall into a full-blown dictatorship in the past few decades despite the institution and establishment of anti-American policies and institutions during and after the progressive era, such as the Interstate Commerce Act enacted in 1887 that regulated railroads, the Sherman Antitrust Act enacted in 1890, a law that prevents large firms from controlling a single industry, the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 implemented during the term of President Woodrow Wilson, and the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, which led to the institution of income tax in the United States.
Were it not for America’s still surviving basic principles, namely, individual rights, property rights, free speech, separation of powers, among others, it would have fallen into absolute dictatorship a long-time ago.
Now the main argument of those who attack presidential system is purely built on a strawman fallacy. Yes, many countries that adopted presidential system like Philippines and Kenya failed not because of their form of government, but because of lack of economic freedom, distortion of rights, and welfare statism. Also, several countries that adopted parliamentary system like Greece and Bangladesh failed not because of their form of government, but because of lack of economic freedom, distortion of rights, and welfare statism.
Thus, American Republican federal system may be able to propel a country to political and economic success if a nation adopts/respects the following principles:
- Individual rights
- Limited government
- Economic freedom
- Objective, non-interventionist rule of law
Such a presidential system should have the following features:
- Co-equal branches of the government, e.g., executive, legislative, and judiciary;
- Separation of powers;
- Checks and balances;
- Accountability of public officers;
- Manners of hiring and firing officials, such as election laws and articles of impeachment;
- The powers and role of the government must be purely, solely limited to the protection of individual rights;
- The government should have no power to redistribute wealth and create counterfeit, fraudulent rights like the right to education, health care, transport, welfare, etc.
- The government system should be bereft of statist/socialist policies like party-list system, pork barrel, national patrimony doctrine, social justice doctrine, among others.
- The powers and duties of government agencies and officials must be purely, objectively delimited and defined according to the principle of individual rights.
- The powers and role of provinces or state (if the form of government allows for federal system) must be purely defined, delimited and must not go beyond what is stated in the Constitution.
- Taxation, if ever implemented, must be for the legitimate purpose of government.