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Flynt looked to out-‘hustle’ Dems, GOP

Thirty odd years ago Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt ran an editorial calling on all Americans to abolish the two-party political system. Flynt maintained that neither party represented the people anymore, so they should be removed and replaced by individuals or entities that might actually take up the people’s work. The column didn’t accomplish a great deal, other than to rattle a firmly entrenched establishment quick to point out that Flynt was nothing more than a purveyor of “filth” who shouldn’t be taken seriously. In retrospect, Flynt seems like a veritable genius whose uncanny take on the American problem was far ahead of its time.

We are witnessing a genuine uprising in our once staid political system. Protesters on the right, sick of runaway taxation and stifling government control have banded together to form the Tea Party, while lefties (AKA 99%ers) rally against a breathtakingly corrupt corporate machine and its symbiotic relationship with dirty politicians. There’s one common thread that transcends the innate differences between the two ideologies and their respective agendas. In a nutshell, neither faction believes that the party that they had originally backed – Republican or Democrat – will give them a fair shake anymore. Many believe that they never did. “

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” Marcellus declares in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and so, too, in America. Ask most anyone their opinion of politicians and the present state of our democracy and you will usually hear a variation of “they’re all crooks!” followed by “America is doomed.” It’s easy to see why. The lopsided distribution of money among a handful of the wealthiest Americans isn’t some populist hunch born of jealousy, nor can the assumption that the middle-class is being severely overtaxed be written off as unmerited paranoia. These are inconvenient facts for the powers that be that only emerged after a pioneering group of Americans, choking to death from the foul stench of corruption, finally traced the rot to its roots.

Only time will tell the full affect that these “Anti-Party” parties will have on America, but people are already making educated guesses and formulating opinions about their final impact.

The rosiest view sees a bold, Utopia-like nation rising like a Phoenix after the corruption, collusion, and cronyism have finally been vanquished. That’s a worthy dream but one that stands at direct odds with history – a cursory glance at which shows that no Utopia or attempt at it has ever survived for long.

Those who view these new anti-party groups through more cynical eyes believe that any form of government will eventually devolve as surely as our present system has. The tainted hand of man will still be at the helm steering the ship, these fatalists are quick to point out, and as John Calvin ominously stressed, mankind simply cannot be trusted. Be that as it may, it still begs this question: If we don’t try either of these approaches or other tactics yet to be named or defined, what is our alternative? It’s almost a given that America can’t go on like this indefinitely. At some point our nation will either collapse under its grossly uneven weight, or end up with a rich/poor caste system that will nullify all that it is supposed to stand for.

Yes, Larry Flynt was and still is a man who peddles smut – there’s simply no getting around it. Of course, one person’s smut is another’s S‘mores, but that observation is best left for another time and a more racy publication. Nevertheless, this purported “filth merchant” in all of his alleged sexual depravity somehow managed to propose a forward-thinking idea that was nothing short of prophetic. “Abolish the two-party system!” Flynt demanded in no uncertain terms. Too bad the raunchy fellow didn’t include an exit strategy.

— Jeff Bahr

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