Monday, October 03, 2005

Symmetry in Opposition

One of the truisms in social science is that opposites tend to mirror image each other. To put it another way: when entitities are in conflict, a change in one causes related changes in the other. When the conflict is predator/prey, or international relations, it's often called "arms race". Admiral Jackie Fisher creates the "dreadnought", all-big-gun battleship and launches an arms race with Germany that ends in millions killed. In other realms you can see a catalytic influence--add an ingredient to the mix and things start to get more organized. In the oil industry of the 1860's-80's, J.D. Rockefeller was the catalyst, organizing and rationalizing the industry, vertically integrating the flow of oil. Competitors also had to vertically integrate.

In politics, Tom DeLay may have been a similar catalyst, with impacts on both Dems and Reps, according to this analysis in the WPost:

DeLay's Influence Transcends His Title: "His take-no -prisoners style of fundraising -- in which the classic unstated bargain of access for contributions is made explicitly and without apology -- has been adopted by both parties in Congress, according to lawmakers, lobbyists and congressional scholars. Democrats, likewise, increasingly are trying to emulate DeLay-perfected methods for enforcing caucus discipline -- rewarding lawmakers who follow the dictums of party leaders and seeking retribution against those who do not."

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