Lately I’ve been reading more and more Canadian political blog sites. One of the most disturbing elements of these blogs has been the vitriol with which Liberals attack Conservatives and Conservatives attack Liberals, East blasts the West, the West blasts the East, and on and on.
None of this is constructive, except to allow the venting of emotions, which are often excuses for lack of knowledge or understanding of a particular issue. We have our philosophies on what constitutes good government, or governance based on todays realities. Some are very cynical, others are full of spinning, and others are optimistic, if only they had a chance. Clearly, there is no consensus.
What I would like to start is a philosophical discussion, by all political persuasions, that would eventually lead to some consensus that would allow us to hypothetically affect change in the way we are governed, so that discussion could be based on reason, rather than emotion.
Changing what is is extremely difficult, and any changes started today would take at least 25 years to implement, so I’m not under any illusion that we are going to affect real change; but for our purposes, we can establish a framework that might elicit more rational discussion.
To introduce this, allow me to present a political philosophy that measures left-right issues differently than we do today.
Instead of using the Communist – Nazi extremes that we do today, let’s start with a balanced centre that defines the fundamental role of government, and the extremes would be totalitarian government (left) versus anarchy(right). A horizontal teeter-totter would be a good analogy.
If we believe that we should be sensitive to the needs of the poor we are on the left side of the balanced centre for that issue; if we believe that we should 1) weigh the costs of our programs and 2) determine how any policy, or program, will affect the rights and individual freedom of all citizens (not just minorities) then we would consider ourselves to the right of the balanced centre.
We can be on both sides of the issue on the need to look after the poor, and not be contradictory, and the result would keep us from wandering too far from the balanced centre. Any program instituted by government would be weighed in the balance to ensure its propriety.
This is very primitive in its form, but the idea here is to start a process that will allow for the evolution of a philosophy that can catch on and be meaningful, with principles from which to argue our points of view.
So the question to begin is: ‘What would constitute the balanced centre in a constitutional democracy that Canada represents?’