Fruit of a different colour Thursday September 23, 2010, 1 comments

Like option packages on automobiles, or channel packs on cable, mainstream media and politicians are packaging up values and ideas and applying labels to them. I cannot help but feel this is a bad thing.

When I talk to people, they cannot mesh my views on fiscal conservatism with the fact that I am pro-choice when it comes to abortion. They have been preprogrammed, through dozens of elections across North America, to associate pro-choice stances with Liberalism. And everyone knows that Liberalism and Conservatism are mutually exclusive, right?

Why can’t I pick and choose? I think Canada should have much tougher immigration laws, specifically where refugees are concerned. I think government should be smaller, and that in general laws should protect rights, not interests. These are traditionally Conservative positions.

I also think that GOOD universal health care is a right, not a privilege, and I think that state welfare (when operated by competent and effective people) is a good thing. I think the strong have a moral obligation to protect the weak in our society. This also leads me to believe in strong gun regulation. These are traditionally Liberal positions.

At this point, you might want to start telling me that some of my beliefs are contradictory. I’d tell you to really think about that. They aren’t. I have no trouble holding these values because I don’t think it is an either-or proposition.

I think I can have good gun control and laws that protect rights. Canadians have the right to bear arms. They just have to be registered to do so. I think we can protect the weak in our society while at the same time protecting that same society from abuses being committed against our refugee system.

Will it be easy? Hell no. Is it possible? Absolutely.

And that’s what I am looking for. I am tired of fear-mongering and polarization. I am tired of soundbite journalism that wouldn’t know context if it bit them in the ass. I am tired of fractious politicians telling me I am with the country, or I am against the country. I am tired of mayoral candidates telling me we can either have public transit, or fiscal responsibility.

I think we’re all tired of being asked to compare, but not being told that it’s apples and oranges, and then being told I am unpatriotic if we try to point it out.

It’s apples and oranges, folks. Always has been.


Rob Saturday September 25, 2010

Excellent rant, and a lucid assessment of the current political climate.

I would also add that the semantic problem is much more pervasive than just liberalism versus conservatism. Socialism, capitalism, libertarianism, anarchism and virtually all other -isms have had their original meanings perverted beyond recognition. Many viable ideas were formed within each of those ideologies, yet they are now untouchable, apparently unthinkable.

“Why can’t I pick and choose?” I think you nailed it with that statement, and I would like to extend the thought by arguing that eschewing labels and demanding discussion of individual ideas might be the only way of saving political discourse. Of course that’s easier said than done, and people sure do love their partisan feuds, but there don’t seem to be any other viable options.

No liberals, no conservatives, no parties, just ideas. Oh how minty and refreshing that would be.

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