Irving Kristol claims that the American political system is productive because it incorporates many different facets of government, such as: democracy, republicanism, federalism, capitalism, and religion. He also argues that America possesses a well-balanced medium between strength, character, and resilience. Daniel Lazare shows that the constitution does not represent the times or the people, and is counter-productive. He concludes that since the constitution is in such despair, radical reform is not only wanted but also necessary. Between Daniel Lazare and Irving Kristol, the two main areas of disagreement are the productivity of the three branches of government, and the methods that should be used to alter the constitution.
Kristol believes that the three branches of government are productive because they are made to "consider [the] judgment of the people". On the other hand, Lazare claims that the three branches are counter productive because each branch has equal weight. If one branch moves in one direction, another branch can move in the opposite direction and nothing will be resolved or achieved. The second main disagreement is revision of the constitution.
Kristol says that the 'American tradition' is the best alternative and we should work within the tradition. The best way to do that, Kristol states, is to amend and revitalize what we have already. Lazare contends that the American people need to get rid of the 'constitutional restraints' and rebuild our society entirely. In each argument, there are strengths and weaknesses. In Irving Kristols' argument, he provides some good evidence in support of the constitution. He points out that the constitution makes people think, makes representatives debate, and makes people reasonable.
He also emphasizes the lack of a centralized government, and the importance of shared power. To pass a law, more than one branch of the government need to accept the law, preventing a form of dictatorship. His main weakness is his support of the religious basis in government. He claims that without religion, the "capitalist economic system becomes rather disgusting". Religion today is diversified, and most people may not routinely attend a religious service. Lazare made some good points in his argument.
He pointed out that Americans complain about the government, yet they praise the constitution. The government is based on the constitution, so people should look to the constitution if they want change. Another good point he makes is that Americans should rely on themselves to lead the country, not the thoughts of someone else. He also offers evidence to show that Americans are not being fairly represented in the Senate. He claims Americans are oblivious to the workings of the government. A weakness in his argument is his position on the three branches of government.
If the three branches of government were counterproductive, then our country would never make any progress. I am in concurrence with Kristol's view. The constitution has served our country well because of its many components. The will of the people has come through in the policies that are passed and power is given to all areas of government. Though change may be needed, the constitution can easily be amended, as suggested by Kristol. I believe that throwing away our present system would be a drastic and possibly fatal error.
The constitution has worked thus far in American democracy, so to render the backbone of the American policy is un-needed.