13 October 2008

Rather late to the party

My view is that purpose of government is to increase generally realizable access to choice in the future.

Unpacked a little, diversity is good because people will do a bunch of stuff, innovation happens, and choice increases. So a good government is acting not so much as to increase choice—very hard to do with the control mechanisms a government has—but to prevent reduction of choice.

That's mostly a control-of-commercial activity thing; a better government than those we have had would, for instance, have prevented food distribution coalescing into one or two companies for any given region, since it doesn't matter how many stores there are if they are all supplied from the same source; food choice is low, and will stay low.

And the impulse to remove choice is strong; that's the easiest way to guarantee profits, and if markets are formally recognized as requiring the ability to refuse on the part of potential buyers, most of the folks advocating for market solutions aren't actually in favour of your ability to not buy their stuff.

So I find myself looking at the current scope of political parties through this lens.

The Greens, well, Elizabeth May isn't solidly pro-choice; that's damning in any politician, and especially so in a leftist woman politician. The Green platform is still having failure-of-math and poverty-is-better (which is what pure-conservation energy management approaches equate to) problems, too. So not any Greens.

Steven Harper is on tape, talking to a reporter, admitting the he told minions to be delicate about bribing a dying man for his vote in Parliament in a confidence vote. His own hired audio expert says this is an unmodified section of the tape. That ought to be enough right there; making a Young Earth creationist Minister of Security, insisting on involvement in a colonial war with no victory conditions, prospect of success, or anything much other than being a massive money sink and casualty generator, inability to deal with climate change as an issue (the Alberta oil industry really doesn't want to know), his really troubling issues with women, or his opposition to the open conduct of government, those are in effect enough icing to crush the cake.

Dion's "change the basis of taxation" plan is something I've been advocating for the last fifteen-odd years; it's the only way to create commercial feedback to reduce pollution, because governments that are funding through charging for emissions have an excellent incentive to find more, and raise the prices generally. I don't know of anything really damning about him, and my local liberal MP is, from available reports, a pretty solid women's issues, children's issues, education, and infrastructure back bencher. Not what I would best like to see but certainly not bad stuff.

So I'll be voting Liberal; presuming, of course, that I can get back on the voter rolls and through the brand spanking new ID requiremens Mr. Harper was so pleased to gift us with.

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