Monday, December 01, 2008

No dog in the fight, but...

I am an unabashed libertarian and Market Anarchist. That means I don't want any "government" that isn't explicitly voluntary - if I don't agree explicitly to follow the rules and pay the taxes, I don't. I don't think we need coercive government of any kind to have a just and fair society. I firmly believe, based on evolution and studies in behavioural economics, that people will cooperate rather than compete most of the time, even in a true "free market" economy.

That means on principle I have no dog in the current fight between the newly minted Coalition and the Conservatives. I could care less who runs the circus in Ottawa because in the end, I will ignore any laws and rules I do not agree with, no matter who passed them.

The battle over the last 4 days has been highly entertaining and great spectator sport. It has even revived some of my imaginative juices, as can be seen in my previous post.

Now all of that being said, I am not totally neutral. On principle I agree with the Conservative policy of ending direct subsidies to political parties - no $1.90 per vote. But I want to end all subsidies and that includes the tax credit for political donations - the very tax credit used by the CPC to subsidize 75% of their coffers from the government. I think any individual or any organization should be allowed to donate any amount they deem fit to any and all political parties they wish. Any of these individuals and parties ought to be able to advertise on behalf of their chosen champion. This stand is not popular amongst my progressive friends. Neither is it popular among the right either - they know that doing away with the tax credit will cripple the Conservatives.

So, in the end, this particular move by Harper turns out to be abusing the power of government to attack his opponents, in order to, one can only assume, move to a state dominated by the CPC.

I don't care for the CPC social conservative bent and I don't care for the Liberal and NDP interference in the market for short term gain. On social issues I am squarely with the the extremes of the left and with economics I am a full blown laissez-faire libertarian.

What I cannot stand is lying and outright dishonesty, no matter who uses it. Until yesterday, I saw this whole thing as entertainment, but not any more. The Conservatives have stooped to dirty tricks, violating privacy (and probably a section or too of the criminal code) and are proud of it.

Well, that kind of authoritarian hubris, along with their mean-spirited anti-democratic behaviour now has me rooting for the Coalition. The brain trust in the CPC needs to be removed, because right now, they are a far greater threat to my liberty than any misguided NDP or Liberal economic policy, any Taliban militant or Quebec separatist combined.

So, for the Conservatives who are whining and screaming about "treason" and "coup d'etat" let me remind you:

Nothing the NDP, BQ or Liberals is doing is remotely illegal (unlike say, taping a private conversation without the express consent of those involved and distributing it). Talking strategy in a minority parliament is prudent, not sinister. Under our parliamentary system, the government is formed by the party or parties that can gain the confidence of the majority of the House. Usually that happens to be the party with the most seats, but not always - see Ontario in 1985.

If you call this a coup, you are lying. If you call this undemocratic, you are lying. If you call this against the will of the Canadian electorate, you are not just lying, you can't add.

This is the way our system works and has worked since 1867. Yes, its broken. Yes, its archaic. Yes, its terribly unfair.

So, dear Conservatives, rather than whine and whip outrageous hyperbole, perhaps you ought to look at changing the system. In the interim, perhaps try learning about it.

I don't have a dog in this fight, but that doesn't mean I like or dislike the dogs equally. The Conservative Party of Canada and Stephen Harper in particular deserve to be destroyed for their mean-spirited, authoritarian and divisive rule over the last 3 years. Their latest Nixonian moves have only served to show how proto-fascist they really are and how the people of Canada should utterly distrust them - if they did this with a Minority, what on earth would they have done with an unquestioned, 5-year Majority? I truly shudder at the prospect. As bad as the Liberals and NDP are going to be, they would not be nearly as horrific as a Conservative Majority.

I'm rooting for the Coalition.

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10 Comments:

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Mark Francis said...

"So, in the end, this particular move by Harper turns out to be abusing the power of government to attack his opponents, in order to, one can only assume, move to a state dominated by the CPC."

And yet, start counting how many libertarian-Cons still support him.

I think (sadly) that a wide-open system of private donations to political parties would result in nothing more than oligarchy.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I'm having trouble finding those libertarian-Cons....


I think (sadly) that a wide-open system of private donations to political parties would result in nothing more than oligarchy.

Well, I disagree. I think it would broaden the field of those who could show support, especially if such a wide-open system were accompanied by wide-open transparency as toe where each party and individual got its money. If the Libs want my vote, they had better be prepared to open the books (much like our current system) and if I see too much Power Corp cash, I may go elsewhere. Wide-Openness can work to the advantage as well.

Of course, the point is that we can disagree, respectfully. We can debate and discuss this without resorting to name calling and demonization. I'm sure we could find middle ground if it were necessary for us to do so, especially if the stability of the country were at risk.

Compare and contrast that with how the Conservative's handle it.

 
At 1:38 PM, Anonymous olaf said...

Mike,

Couple of thoughts:

I could care less who runs the circus in Ottawa because in the end, I will ignore any laws and rules I do not agree with, no matter who passed them.

So what, do you not pay taxes because they are used to fund government intervention in the economy? I don't understand how far you plan to (or do) take this.

If you call this undemocratic, you are lying.

This is more a matter of opinion, than out-and-out facts, methinks.

 
At 1:51 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Olaf,

I try to pay no taxes at all, by any means I can. If I could stop at source deductions from my employer, I would. I would rather use my money to fund the things I care about directly, without the middle man. And I don't care about who is the government in Ottawa when I do this. If the CPC passes something I would agree with, then I'll follow the law. If they pass something I don't agree with, I'll simply ignore the law and act as I would (albeit underground and far less openly).

This is more a matter of opinion, than out-and-out facts, methinks.

No Olaf, it is a fact. King-Byng is a poor example in Federal history, but it is an example nonetheless (and given that history, one would think the Conservatives would be game). The Liberal-NDP coalition from 1985 in Ontario is a better example. There are examples of this happening in the UK and Australia, which share our Westminster Parliamentary heritage.

Seeking an alternate coalition to rule when the party with the plurality has lost confidence so soon after an election is rare, but it is a part of our democratic system, whether you like it or not.

It not undemocratic when the parties that make up the majority of the House of Commons, representing the majority of Canadians, vote to work this way.

Of course, it you don't like it, I'm all ears for an alternative that is more fair...say MMP?

 
At 2:17 PM, Blogger psa said...

"We can debate and discuss this without resorting to name calling ..."

okay, that's taking things a little too far.

;-)

 
At 2:35 PM, Anonymous olaf said...

Mike,

No Olaf, it is a fact.

No Mike, it's not. Democracy is a pretty loose term, that means different things to different people. Unless you can objectively define democracy in a way that suits all reasonable people, you cannot say definitively what is and isn't "democratic" in theory or in practice, although you can of course have an opinion.

In this case, I think what you're saying is that a coalition government would be consistent with a few abberations in Westminster-style parliamentary history and wouldn't contravene the letter of the law written, what, 250 years ago? That, would be a fact.

Also, I agree with psa. If we don't resort to name calling at a time like this, the terrorists have won. You morons.

 
At 2:47 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Olaf,

Point taken. I think we can agree that the context in which "anti-democratic" is being used isn't some theoretical direct democracy vs parliamentary democracy vs representative democracy debate in Poli Sci 101. They mean it in the most sinister, Hugo Chavez banana republic way. And given our history and political culture, I think we can say that isn't true.

Further, its pretty clear now the need for reform, electoral and systemic

Jackass.

 
At 11:42 PM, Blogger Ron said...

If you call this against the will of the Canadian electorate, you are not just lying, you can't add.

Well...no. That's not lying exactly. I bet you can't come up with too many folks that will say they're getting what they bargained for in any way, no matter which side you're one. Who saw this coming and voted for it?

This is just an unaulterated multi-party mess. And there's no rooting to be done. It's a fiasco. A cluster-...you know.

They oughtta *all* get spanked and sent home.

I won't lift a finger to speak for any of them.

 
At 7:30 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Ron,

I don't disagree. This certainly show the farce our system is, but you know, I am going to root for a side.

Now I also root for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Montreal Canadiens and my son's Novice B team.

Doesn't mean I'm going to help them, it just means in this particular battle, for entertainment purposes, I root for the coalition.

Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia and 5 tons of Flax!

;)

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger Mike said...

PS. in case you are wondering...

 

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