(2016 update – And who knew Hamilton helped him write it! :))
If ‘pro’ is the opposite of ‘con’, what’s the opposite of progress? Congress!
In George Washington’s farewall address he warned about the problems of political parties. Just a few relevant quotes from 1796.
A bit on how the few can control the government – this applies to both parties equally:
All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.
A bit more on the rule of the few via their two parties, sounds pretty darn familiar to our current situation:
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
Also nothing is new in the ‘divisions’ we often fall into just in association to where we live:
In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views.
The wikipedia article explains his view here a bit more succintly but I thought it nice to actually look to what he said also. We’ve too much trust anymore of the first source of whatever fact we want to hear on the internet or in general.