Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How philosophy leads to position statements

Why are there so many contradictions between positions of the same political party and how can one arrive at positions highly consistent and very unique among the parties?  By starting with high level philosophical ideas and applying them to instances that are relevant.  

I view all the dominant political parties as leftist with only small shades of difference.  For example, facing massive deficits and debt, in the 2011 Ontario election the PC's said they would spend every dime the Liberals were spending, but would cut spending on half the budget items by 2%.  In other words, they would only spend 99% as much!  No wonder they were not elected despite massive abuses by the governing Liberal party.  In a recent TV interview, PC candidate Young was asked by Brian Lilley how his position on education was different from the Liberals and he said he would keep things just as they are, with two government controlled systems. The Liberals are left, the NDP and Greens further left and the PC's agree with almost everything the Liberals are spending money on.  Not much to choose from!

In contrast, the Freedom Party positions are clear and philosophically consistent. For example, the principle that government has no moral role interfering in citizens' freedom to make economic decisions leads clearly to positions such as:
  • an end to all business subsidies, tax incentives, and economic programs, especially the insane Micro-Fit program
  • restoring a free and competitive market for energy and ending the Ontario Hydro monopoly, leading to lower energy prices
  • restoring a free market in health care, leading to a more accessible, lower cost and better product as is the care in every industry that is even relatively free to innovate and compete
  • ending the LCBO and Beer Store monopolies and allowing free competition in the alcohol industry
  • a large reduction in government spending and quick end to the deficit and increase of provincial debt
  • a large reduction in taxation with the eventual goal of repealing Ontario's income tax.
To take a slightly different angle, focusing on problem areas politicians always talk about, the principle that government's moral role is to protect the rights of its citizens, not to violate them, leads to policies such as:
  • an end to interference in employment contracts such as minimum wage law (the problems of unemployment)
  • an end to the prohibition on low cost housing due to massive building code laws (the problems of homelessness and poverty)
  • freedom to contract for spousal or partner benefits as individuals see fit (the problem of same-sex marriage)
  • ending all hiring quotas, correctly identifying them as racist (the problems of racism, sexism, ageism etc.)
  • establishing full property rights for aboriginal people and an eventual end to all law and policy based on race (the problems of aboriginals and their communities).
Imagine how productive and happy a society could be if its government acted as a strong protector of individual rights and did not interfere in individual actions unless they represent a physical danger to others.  Such a society would be the envy of the world and a model to emulate.  In the 19th century, the U.S. and Canada approached this type of society but the principles of freedom were neither explicit enough nor were there enough defenders of these principles.  Instead, our societies have come to be dominated by the morality espoused by German philosophers such as Kant, Hegel and Marx.  While technological progress has continued because it often operates faster than government can follow, social and political progress has reversed and stagnated in many ways.

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