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Politics and good wine with friends is the way to go

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Michael Latner raises a good point in his op-ed piece when he describes the popular myth of old-time political comity as, umm, "male bovine scat" (July 13). The actual political discord of some earlier times makes our own bitterly ideologically divided times seem like a 1960s love-in by comparison, although some of the abuse targeted at opponents in earlier times may have been a bit more literate and droll than we presently see.

It seems like the increase in political rancor follows the increasing complexity of life, and the increasingly demanding expectations that we have of government. In primitive times, the role was fairly simple and the issues straightforward, such as "who digs the new well?" "who pays for a fence to keep the foraging wildebeests out of the fields?" or, "what should we do about those pesky rampaging Visigoths?" Now, however, the issues have grown far more complex. For example, what would Oooog think about net neutrality (at least once it was explained that it had nothing to do with fishing)?

With the increasing complexity and scope of the governmental role have come additional "fracture lines," or opportunities for disagreement between those with different and competing expectations and agendas. And the opportunity for disagreement becomes greater when the questions becomes whether or not we should further expand the governmental role, and how any such expansion will be financed. Predictably, these developments create unavoidable stresses between those who will benefit from the expanded role, and those who will pay for it.

Since our political dynamic is unlikely to change anytime soon, I tend to favor Latner's good wine/good friends/barbecue approach to surviving it.

John Donegan

San Luis Obispo

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