Andrew Coyne nailed it exactly.
Honestly this is the best critique of the Conservative gouvernement that I have seen in a long time. Not the average socialist, Harper is a »libertarian which cuts everything » argument, but that Harper is »a hybrid between a big-government lover in our everyday lives and a nationalist New Democrat while it’s about the potash industry and cellphones ».
But the problem is much more deep with this.
I am not the greatest fan of The Prince by Machiavelli but all politicians (whatever their parties) have somewhat become like prices except who are all working on the »fortune » of others people.
Yes, some governments are doing an okay job, but the problem comes that building (and especially buying) clienteles is a key part of any electoral democracy. I am however a pragmatic as I tend to vote for the least bad of choices (in the worst of scenarios you can always cancel your vote). Also, in all cases and whatever your policies (and this is not only applying for politics) , explaining why you are doing a given action in a clear and precise way is never a bad idea.
And yes, many will say, if you are too »ideological » you will be nothing better then a good opposition. Alas, some will say (and I think this is understandable), we worked are asses off in the wilderness that we want to have access to some »golden nuggets » as they are only available when you are in power.
But again, what is the worth of living if you are »non-ideological » in everything that you do? Everybody in this planet have some values or at least some experience and background who makes them who they are as they are. Being pragmatic (which basically means not being dogmatic) doesn’t means that what you can believe in must be discarded. Generally, people loves boldness and frankness.
To give you a few examples about the »deepness » of this problem:
-To have loads of cash into the party warchest and volunteers to help win elections, y0u need to give perks to groups who are helping you. These groups could go from business to trade unions in the state sector to some »NGO » (nothing non-governmental about these NGO, who have just become players of the government). This is why giving a lot of subsidies and tax credits is important.
-Vote-wise some policies are popular because they are effective among crowds who are voting. For example, older people tend to have a high turnout at elections, so no government will do nothing drastic with state programs with older people until everything collides.
-In countries which are a large number of the population is working for the state (and this is a big problem is a few Western countries), it’s next to impossible to do any big reforms. Why?
Because in one way, you have trade unions from state employees. The role of those state unions is to drive wages up. Fine, but they are forgetting where the cash comes from. Also, even if a party gets 30% of them as voters, it’s still a big amount of the population in many Western countries.
-Protectionism is a big problem and it generally hurts the less fortunate in our society. A very good day-to-day example which can be related to almost every Canadian is with the cellphone and cable industry. Due to a mixture of nationalist protectionism, crony capitalism and corporatism, everybody (and especially the less fortunate people) are getting ripped off due to the lack of competition and that fact that »foreign » companies are limited in their actions by the state. Hey, let’s help the 4-5 Canadians companies in telecos and screw all Canadians who are paying due to the lack of incentives to offer a better service at a more competitive price.
-The other thing is with fiscality and the fact the more complex a tax code will be, the more politicians will like this. Instead of having a simple tax code which is probably the closest thing that you get to »fairness » (and I hate using this word) for everyone, politicians love using a tax code going thousands of pages only because it’s fun in an electoral campaign to talk about »tax cuts » while these tax cuts are nothing else then having the state telling you have to run your life.
-Add also property rights. For the state, it’s not a bad thing to have absent or botched property rights, because in the event it wants to use expropriation or do things on the backs of landowners, it is much easier to do it without a coherent approach to this incredibly important question. Generally both politicians, technocrats and lawyers love loopholes.
And it’s sad to say that many landowners (and they are millions and millions of these people) don’t know how owning a land is something important and this especially while knowing their rights as a landowner. Many people who have lived in totalitarian or communist countries with the state owning everything are knowing very well that people should fight about property rights and especially that these rights are very fragile.
– »The big cheque with the big scissors » effect: To be popular (and to get the media going at the same time) politicians must always »do something » and whatever the consequences, it’s the intentions that count. And we can go on and on about crap policy and massive waste which was done based on »good intentions ». Thousands and thousands of individuals were even killed due to »good intentions » which leaded in some cases in history to an armed conflict.
In conclusion, today, »sustainable » is over-used as a word, but so few people really know what is »sustainable » means.
It’s about living our means and thinking that when you run a household, be an entrepreneur or run any organization which have to produce results, intentions don’t count, it’s how your decisions right now could affect the future.
The only difference between state governance and any other type of enterprise (raising a family could even be included as one of those), is that a being in power in government in a number of cases don’t usually last more then a decade as opposed to any other type of serious venture. In politics, you must always think very short term, to win another election in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 years.