Party over Principle?
So, in my ongoing effort to hear as many speakers as I can in college, yesterday I heard former member of the Israeli Knesset. He was a very good (VERY Israeli) speaker who mostly focused on his efforts to legislate environmentalism in Israel, to great effect. Now I thought about writing a post about how, although I support who environmentally conscious Israel is and is becoming, they probably have bigger issues (looking at you Iran) but one of the questions Pines-Paz was asked got me thinking about something else.
For those of you who don’t keep track of the Israeli parliament, Pines-Paz was a member of the Labor Party (Avodah) until he resigned when the part formed a coalition with the arch conservative Yisrael Beiteinu party after swearing to the voters they would not. He resigned and is now in the private sector (he gave the usual politician spiel on not being a career politician, although considering he resigned from power, it had some credibility) Any way, it was time for another inner-conflict of pragmatism versus principal.
On the one hand Labor would have had a much better chance of enacting parts of their agenda if they did form the coalition, even though they said they would not and would be forced to concede on some principles. Is it better to be pragmatic and sell out or stand on principle only to fail to make a difference?
This was the question of many Tea Party activists who had to chose whether to support non-party candidates at the risk of giving the race to democrats or elect republicans, the lesser of two evils.
In the end Labor, the Tea Party, and I are all on one side of the issue and Pines-Paz is on another. I say swing for the fences ideologically but take what you can get when pushed. I cannot stand Avigdor Lieberman, the head of Yisrael Beiteinu, but if I worked with him I could get some of what I wanted done. The Tea Party may hate Republicans, but look at the times when they supported non-establishment candidates only to see them go on to lose because they were not “electable” (Sharon Angle to Harry Reid, Ken Buck to Michael Bennett, Christine O’Donnell to Chris Coons). Although I am opposed to him philosophically, William F. Buckley had it right when he said you vote for the most electable conservative. Still, I can’t help but admire people like Pines-Paz who stand on principle. I just don’t know if I envy their strength or naïveté.