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Intellect

Forum: Professor of Political Science David Magleby on the Necessity of Political Parties and Compromise

BYU Political Science Professor David Magleby, winner of the BYU Maeser Distinguished Faculty award, gave the Forum address on Tuesday. He spoke on a topic that he not only knows well, but has proved through his research: politics.

He spoke on how political parties and compromise are essential to modern government.

Political parties, although not intended by the framers of the constitution, are key to keeping the republic, he said. They organize democracy and stand for a particular view of the government.

"Parties help structure the governing process and bridge between the separation of powers, and they can either lead to more polarized politics or help to moderate policy," Magleby said.

It is part of every person's civic duty to not only vote, but also to be an informed voter, he said. As each party is filled with informed partisans, the parties become more competitive. Competitive parties reinforce the Founder's desire to check ambition with ambition, and to provide the accountability intended in free and fair elections.

Compromise, on the other hand, is the process of give-and-take between those two competitive parties.

"Government is necessary because men need to resolve their conflicts," Magleby said. "Compromise has been and always will remain vital to sustaining our more than 200-year long experiment with self-government."

Every person has different priorities, preferences and approaches; so, compromise is needed to sort those differences out in an effort to achieve the broader goal of a more perfect union, Magleby said.

In order to be wise partisans in parties, or to foster compromise, politicians and voters must also foster mutual respect. Part of the resistance to compromise comes from a lack of mutual respect, said Magleby.

"The inspired structure of the constitution in insufficient if we do not appreciate it and use it through our own engagement in politics and government," said Magleby. "Meaningful partisan involvement and sensible compromise will help us keep the republic."

Next Week's Devotional

The next BYU Devotional address will be held on Tuesday, May 26, at 11:05 a.m., in the de Jong Concert Hall of the Harris Fine Arts Center. 

Mike Middleton, Cougar Club Executive Director, will deliver the Devotional address on adding stars to your life's sky, and will explore gaining perspective and courage by seeing connections between various Gospel principles. He will offer four suggestions that can bless our lives at BYU and beyond. 

Middleton's remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYU Radio.

Writer: Jenna Randle

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